This has been the word that follows me throughout my day. I read about it every chance I get. I prepare for it any moment I am allowed. I talk about it with anyone that will actually talk about it. I constantly find myself praying to my Heavenly Father about it. It haunts me in my sleep and brings me peace when I think of what our family can gain from it.
But with all of this preparing, planning, reading, thinking, praying, soul-searching, and dreaming, I feel that I have hit a wall.
"Mommy. When I get bigger, I can't wait to go to real school." My sweet little Edana said as we walked away from The Canterbury Tales a middle school had put on.
This tiny little statement sent my heart aching. I could understand what she meant. I remember going to my brothers schools, peeking into their class rooms and being so excited for when I was going to be able to take those classes too. I remember the thrill of being in highschool plays, chatting with friends at my locker and finding solace sitting in the library reading a book, away from everyone. I remember the excitement I got every year picking out new clothes, books and backpacks for the new year to come.
As silly as it may sound, I began crying over these things I thought she would lose because of our decision for her education. These wonderful things that are available to every child in the public school system!
Every single fear, judgement and self-conscience thought I have ever had about homeschooling came swarming at me, making me believe that I was the most unfit person in the world to teach my child. I mean, come on! I was the person who was dim enough to think that Alaska was an island because the only picture I had ever seen of it was in a little square box just like Hawaii! I AM the dullest crayon in the box!
But then I realized that with the good, there is always the bad. The bullying, name-calling, stressing, boring, mind-numbing and over-exerting feelings that many people have felt with public school can also be paired with the amazing learning experiences that youth have there.
I hear the YoungWomen in my ward heartbroken over horrible conversations and bullying they experience day to day. I've seen 3/4 of a room full of kids between the ages of 13-17 raise their hands when asked if they have seen a gun or knife at school; many admitting that they have seen weapons there more than just one or two times. I have seen first hand the HUGE variety of drug use that is being used by students at school, ranging from drinking and smoking, marijuana, and even to harder drugs like meth, acid, and cocaine (and this was almost 8yrs ago!).
These things are not just connected to public school, this I am sure of. I know that these things do creep into the lives of homeschool students as well. Which made me then realize that this beautiful and almost romantic idea of what schooling should be for our children, the best schooling that we can possibly hope for and imagine, does not actually exist. There is no possible way or time where our children will be able to have access to every thought, idea, lesson or lecture. There is no possible way to shield our children from every scary thought, name, lie, heart ache, bad decision or pain that is out there. Because our children need to and have to learn these things for themselves.
How many tears have been shed because of our own decisons by our Heavenly Father? What an amazing Father He is, to constantly trust and love us with our own agency so that each and every day He parts with His own beautiful children, who come here to face the same things we find ourselves worrying over!
One of the best encouragements I have gotten about a child's education was from my mother-in-law. She told me the biggest thing you can do for your child's education is to "be there for your child." Homeschool or not, be there for them.
I have realized that no matter our decision for our children's education, we will be there for them no matter what they choose or need-just as our Heavenly Father has shown us. We will teach our children of our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ and their love for each and every one of us. I find that in this thing called "life", this is as real of a school as we can get.
So, to answer any questions: Yes. I will be homeschooling my children. For how long? I will take it one year at a time. But I am more encouraged to set my focus on being there for my children rather than obessing over what cirriculum we will use, whether or not they get into school plays or in what way I will track their progress.
I am so grateful for others and their clarity of life. This is the comfort I have been needing. Thankyou Momma Jones. Your words have echoed in my mind tonight, at a time I really needed it most.
*And just to note: among other lessons we hope to instill, Edana will know that you can in fact drive your car to Alaska.