September 6, 2012

A new school we go!

What? My kids are how old? And, what? It is seriously time for school?

How did that happen.

But before I show you their ridiculously cute first-day-of-school pictures I'd love to esplain (man, I miss I love Lucy. But we have no cable, so I can't watch it. Just like I can't watch anything but QVC) why we are choosing to school at home this year, and perhaps more years in the future.

The topic of homeschooling, just like any other sort-of-controversial-no-really-right-answer topic, can be a bit touchy. Ya know, like nursing VS bottle-feeding, and cloth VS disposable diapers, and working VS staying-at-home, and wearing white after Labor Day or not. (OK, maybe not that last one. But for the record, I say go for it.) There's no real "right" answer because morally they both are right. The beautiful thing is that it's left up to the parents and their conscience and their discernment with Our Lord to figure out the best path for their family, be it with feeding or poop or, on a much bigger scale, how to educate their children.

No matter which path of schooling we choose, Michael and I ultimately believe that the primary job of educator is the parents. As the Catholic Church teaches, whether the kiddos attend public, private, or home-school, it is up to the parents to see that their children's spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well-beings are taken care of. And wherever our kids "do school" each year we take this to heart and know many families in lots of different schooling circumstances who do the same.

So, now that the disclaimer of "we totally don't think we're better or worse because we're homeschooling" is out of the way, I'd love to share how God led us down this path - to this choice for our little (and, well, apparently not so little) ones.

Up until a couple years ago I had never given homeschooling much thought. We have a great Catholic school in our area and I always assumed our kids would attend there. Not only that, but I had a lot of concerns about homeschooling: what would people think? how in the heck would I find time to educate my children? what if I screw them up? what about interacting with other kids? what if I screw them up? However, God kept putting the notion of homeschooling on my heart and, one-by-one, He dispelled my fears - so much so that I started to become excited about the possibility of homeschooling. And then, one Sunday in the back of Mass, rocking a 6-month-old sleeping Max in my arms, a wave of peace came over me and the Lord so clearly asked me to walk down this path. He assured me that every single one of my fears would be taken care of and, in turn, He showed me how my fears could become exciting realities.

A flexible schedule? Extra family time? One-on-one academic attention? The ability to tailor our curriculum however we desire? Doing school at the beach or the park or grandma's house? Being able to instill our values and morals in a concrete, real-life way? Being able to maintain our children's innocence as long as possible? Our children growing in love and friendship with their siblings? Setting a firm foundation so our children can be witnesses to Truth both when they do enter school and later, in this ca-razy world?

Wow. I guess I never looked at homeschooling like this before. And while many of these opportunities are available in other school settings, I felt the call to homeschool like never before. Michael and I then started to walk down this path and, so far, the journey has been fruitful in our lives and the lives of our kids.

We have promised God and one another that we will take this year-by-year and be open to the many ways this can evolve in the future. We may homeschool for one year or 8 years (the "plan" is up until high school....) but we will always be open to God's Will, because that's what it means to be parents - being the concrete means for God to work in our children's lives.

We have also ensured that our kids get a lot of experience outside of the home, as well. Friday field-trip days with other friends who homeschool, keeping up our grandma and grandpa dates, piano, ballet, Catechism class and lots and lots of time to just be kids.

I'll probably randomly post about our year, but nothing super duper detailed, 'cause we're like busy or something. But I can't leave you without our "first-day-of-school" pictures. I must admit, however, that I'm sad our kids aren't wearing ridiculously cute uniforms, like their big-boy-PreK cousin, Thomas. After seeing his picture, I almost went and bought uniforms for my kids so they could look just. as. awesome.

I'd love to know, what led you to choose the school your kids go to? And don't you seriously just keep drooling over their first-day-of-school pictures? Aaahhhh, I can't handle it....

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