To homeschool or not to homeschool – not a controversial post!

29 May

For the umptieth time, we changed our mind on the schooling of our kids.

Phil and I have never been big fans of ’10 steps to…’ or following some kind of recipe that will bring you to ….. (fill in the blank). I think ,particularly in America, you can probably find a book on any topics that will give you the 5 easy and simple steps to achieve anything: from losing weight to making money, becoming a spy (I would buy this one!!) or taming a lion. In those bookstores, undeniably you will find anything related to parenting. And schooling is a huge part of your parenting role, whether you homeschool or not. I’m not writing a post on the pros and cons of different kinds of schooling. In fact, I can only talk about my own very personal experience and my own very personal circumstances that lead Phil and I to our final decision, for this year and the next at least!

For quite a few months now, we have been leaning towards homeschooling our kids, primarily because of two reasons: the first one is related to the language dilemma (in which language should our children be learning) and the second one is Killian related. If he is on the spectrum, will it not be better for him to be schooled at home?

On my side, the decision has been purely practical. Yes I can see some of the benefits from homeschooling (your teaching is exactly designed for your child, with his strength and weaknesses) but it has never been a dream of mine to homeschool my children. I was talking to a new friend of mine a few weeks ago and she happened to homeschool her boy. She was saying how it is something she has always wanted to do, since he was born. He is on the ADD spectrum, so she imported a special program from overseas and school days are quite tough but it is something she passionately wants to do. That’s not me!

A month or so ago, I had a feed back session with Killian’s OT (Occupational Therapy). Killian has been going to her for 6 months and she’s been helping him with different tasks, particularly expanding his fine motor skills, finding confidence in his immobile movements etc…Talking with her made me realise something that I think I knew deep down. Although I am petrified at the idea of schooling Killian, my real fear is probably how to handle him in a teaching environment, how to get through to him so that he will learn without our relationship suffering from it. At best of times, I have to work hard at understanding that little boy and not getting annoyed at the things he does; like climbing on anything and everything, moving and touching everything – particularly my stuff, more often than not breaking, throwing or losing it in the process….and not learning from his mistakes. I know that most of these things are happening because he is on the spectrum, but I still get upset! On a day to day basis, I don’t want to be the mum that is permanently angry with him, and with God’s help, I know that I can be loving and patient and forgiving and full of compassion. Can I emphasize with God’s help? But schooling him? Teaching him how to read and write? I’m sure I can, again with God’s help, but at what cost? I’m scared that it would damage our relationship and this is NOT worth it. I need to be a godly example for my children, I need to show them the work that Christ did and is doing in my life. I need to be an example for them so that when they are grown-up, they can look at me and say  ‘my mum is a great example of the love of Christ’., and not ‘that old grumpy woman, boy what a drag she was!’ Again I know that being godly – or at least striving for godliness – is not limited to my circumstances. I would have to be godly if I homeschool, and I would have to be godly if I don’t. My circumstances do not dictate the level of my godliness. But since God has not said The wise shall homeschool lest he falls, I feel that it’s not necessary to add more pressure on Killian and myself.

So Killian won’t be homeschool. And neither will Léa, and neither will Matt – for now!

Since then, God miraculously opened a spot for the pre-primary school where I would have sent Léa at the beginning of the year. If you have a child at school, you would know how this process can be stressful. Is this school right for my child? Will he/she get in?… To have that opening at Constantiaberg was of great comfort. God definitely opened that door for us and we’re so thankful that He did. So Léa started at her little school where she is adjusting quite well. In spite of her painful shyness, she’s even made one or two friends there. I can’t say that she leaps for joy when I take her to school but she is also not traumatised when I fetch her from school.

That is Léa on her first day!

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Ironically, since our decision, I’ve bumped into two mums that I barely know and that happen to have two boys also in the ADHD realm. They both took their kids out of school and started to homeschool them for their sake… It’s a good thing that I left my superstitious nature at the door of my Christian life – the outside side of the door! – and that I’m not trying to read signs. Only God knows: in a few years, we might come back to homeschool if the scholar system is definitely not working for Killian, or we might not. I trust that God would keep us flexible in our thinking (especially mine!) and that we would know with certainty that He will show us the wise path for our family.

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3 Responses to “To homeschool or not to homeschool – not a controversial post!”

  1. Annie June 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    Je comprends tes hésitations ma chérie.quand il s’agit de ces enfants , on ne sait jamais si on a pris la bonne décision et l’on se pose beaucoup de questions.Mais cela prouve que vs aimez très fort vos enfants et surtout Killian et Dieu vs aide à prendre les bonnes décisions

  2. inks75 June 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Hey Debbs! Thanks for your kind words…I can so understand what you write. It feels scary to take such important decisions that will have an impact on our kids, but how wonderful that we know that the Lord is guiding every step and is showing us His wisdom!! Do not be anxious in anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    I might tatoo that on my arm!!! 🙂
    How is Kristin doing? … I hear you about that marriage thing but oh goodness, that could be quite an interesting marriage!!! 🙂 🙂

  3. Debby Garratt June 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    You are such an inspiration to me, my friend. Well done for the careful thought you put into all aspects of your children’s lives. This is such a heavy issue to think through personally. I have been through some of the issues of schooling since moving here, with having to take Kristin out of a school and so desperately wanting her home but knowing it is NOT right for us and letting her go….so many emotions and the shadow of the future over it all, how are they going to turn out? I will continue to pray for you. Our kids must get married, really, only you and I can be the granny to their kids after the experience we’ve had with them. 🙂

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