I used to say to my homeschool friends when they were relating a challenging day with their children or complaining about the hardship of spending 24/7 with the little boogers, “That’s why I put mine in school, so my kids stay alive!” My teasing didn’t deter them from what they believed God had impressed upon them to do, despite the trials of teaching their own. They pressed on while my two oldest graduated from high school, both earning college scholarships—one now graduated and newly married, the other in her second year of her pursuit of a nursing degree. With 12 year old Maddie bringing up the rear, I planned to continue sending her through public education just like her siblings.
Then I had to eat my words, “I will homeschool when hunger on earth is staved and terrorists don’t exist.” Pretty safe bet that I won’t be homeschooling any time soon. My hubby would occasionally ask, “Why don’t we homeschool?” to which I would sarcastically say, “Easy for you to say—you go to work every day and don’t have to give up ‘ministry’ lunches like I would have to.” And then…and then, I was sitting across from a very dear homeschooling expert asking her questions about uh, you know, homeschooling when she shrieked in Panera, “Shut up, girl! I thought you were going to ask me questions about Bible study.” I was exceedingly clear that at this point, we were exploring our options about this strange phenomenon. But, let me back up to what brought about this 180 degree turn.
A string of events instigated this investigation of something I said I would never do in a billion years. To keep it fairly short and sweet, I’ll summarize. An odd conversation I had with Miss Maddie’s teacher originated a germ of a thought in the homeschool direction. She asked me a bizarre question one day, “Is Maddie still on medication for ADD?” What in the world??
“Uh, Maddie’s never been on medication for ADD,” I responded. Not that I didn’t think she could definitely use it sometimes. Heck, I could even use it!
“Oh. Well…” she sounded a bit confused. “It’s just that some of her test scores indicate that maybe she needs special accommodation. She has no problem with the day to day school work, but…” Oh believe me, I know she needs a little extra help in the focus department! Anyhow, as we continued our conversation, the wheels on the bus began to go round and round in my head.
Add to that a school board survey asking for parental input regarding changing the school year to a more balanced one to which they neglected to consider parents’ opinions and decided arbitrarily to do what they wanted. Not to mention that the board had made decisions the year before affecting the length of the school day without considering parental input. Oh, yes, there was a committee of strategically placed people who perhaps were unmarried university students with no children. Am I living in Stalin’s Russia, I wonder? What’s our recourse against a renegade school board?
In addition, Maddie had transferred to a new gymnastics facility an hour away, and we were traveling 4 times a week for 3-4 hour practices each night. As a 6th grader, the late hours were wearing on her small physique. Getting up for school in the morning was a challenge and with junior high just around the corner, she would be forced to awaken an hour earlier. Waking her in the morning was like encountering a wild animal. Thinking the future through to its logical conclusion, even with getting as much homework completed as possible in the hour long car drive to gymnastics, Maddie faced the likely prospect of 6 hours of sleep a night. Sure, many teens survive on that, but they are bears to live with.
Thus, with all those pieces of the puzzle, homeschool was a picture that began to form as a reasonable, even pleasing, solution. Sure, my ‘ministry’ lunches might suffer, as well as my daily routine, but the more I think about it, the more homeschooling just makes sense. To top it off, Maddie is completely on board, excited about it. No homework after school, no in school distractions to distract her, no ISTEP testing! What’s not to like about that?
So, we are taking this scary leap into homeschooling this year, with friends still shaking their heads at the woman who said, “Never, ever will I homeschool.”