I have the awesome privilege of being a part of a weekly Homeschool Coop called Ignite. Each Thursday during a normal school year, 30+ moms and a whole lot more children get together for a time of fellowship and learning. The moms teach the classes and man the nursery while the children attend the classes being taught. It’s really very awesome. We just had our last official day at Ignite and are breaking for the summer with the exception of weekly gatherings at parks and swimming pools. (I still don’t know what pool will fit all of us…there are more kids than I can count for we are a procreating bunch. Ahem.) During the year, I assisted with P.E. for our K-2nd graders. It was fun. Their all time favorite activity was dodgeball. One thing I noticed a while back was that if the teachers weren’t looking, the kids would act like they didn’t get hit and they would stay in the game. So, I asked the teacher, Kelsey, if I could give a little lesson on integrity. I explained to the children what integrity was. I basically told them that even though we may not be paying attention to everything, that God was watching. I explained that having integrity meant that you do the right thing even if no one is watching. They seemed to get it and would even come up and say, “I did integrity today!” Too cute. One week I was gone from Ignite. One of the boys, Ben, came up to the other teacher, Nicole, and said, “Hey, where’s Integrity Lady?” He forgot my name but didn’t forget what I taught him. The next week when I returned, he said, “What’s up, Integrity Lady?!” I love it. So, now at Ignite, I am known as Integrity Lady. And I just think that’s hilarious. I am curious about you, though. Who are you when no one is looking? Consider these scenarios: 1. You’re in a public restroom and you drop some paper towels on the floor. Do you pick them up or leave them for the cleaning crew? 2. It’s two o’clock in the morning and you are sitting at a red light. No one is in sight. Do you take off or wait patiently for the green light to appear? 3. The guy in front of you drops a twenty on the ground at an amusement park. Do you keep it or run after him to give it back? I guess my question for you today is…do you have it? Do you have integrity?
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Week of Awesomeness
We just spent the last two weeks moving out of one home and into another. And let me tell you how convenient it was with our sons since we homeschool them. VERY CONVENIENT. (They are strong boys, too!) When our oldest son was preschool age, I thought I would homeschool him. Makes sense to me. I have a college education that declares me a “professional” in the area of educating a child. I can surely teach my son with a blindfold on and my hands tied behind my back. Then, I delivered my youngest son five years later and I began to wonder when I would ever have a moment to myself as I was raising a five-year old and an infant. The homeschooling idea, it got nixed. I was a freaking out mother. Nuff said. My oldest son went to public school for years and my youngest attended for a couple of years. We had wonderful experiences at our school with some amazing teachers. Both boys met some terrific kids and still have some of those friendships today. But, as good as those experiences were, there were two thoughts that we could not get out of our heads in regards to our boys: Time and influence. Because my husband is a pastor, he obviously works weekends. Not just Sundays, but Saturdays, too. He works Monday thru Thursday, as well, but has the flexibility to come home early on those days if his schedule allows. His only full day off is Friday. The boys’ school schedules were intense from Monday thru Friday…school all day, homework after that and an early bedtime to get ready to do it again. Their two days to relax and unwind were Saturdays and Sundays. This schedule didn’t leave much family time for us. It was taking its toll on us. Something had to give. Gradually, God began to change my heart towards homeschooling them. And on my 40th birthday in 2010, I told Chris I was ready to take the plunge and do it. The last day of their public school was heartwrenching for me. They were fine, but me? A blubbering idiot doing her best to get into the car before anyone saw the crazy soon-to-be homeschooling mother. Good grief, what for? Just the end of an era, I suppose. And I didn’t want any of their teachers or principals to think they weren’t doing a good job. They were doing a fine job, it’s just that Chris and I knew this was the direction we were supposed to take. It has not been an easy road. There are days when the big, yellow bus drives in my neighborhood and it takes every bit of constraint for me not to run after it and bribe the bus driver to just “take them on a ride for an hour, please” because they are getting on my ever-lovin’ nerves. But, I don’t, you’ll be happy to know. I don’t think everyone should homeschool their children. All families and children are different. Quite frankly, I usually keep this information to myself because I really don’t care how other families choose to educate their children. Seek the Lord and He will guide you. But, I know some of you have thought about it. So, allow me to share some of my thoughts with you. 1. When they are in college or married or doing their own thing, I never want to have the thought, “I didn’t get enough time with them.” 2. The more I’m with them, the more I want to be with them. 3. Chris and I get the opportunity to introduce them to the world in our time and in a manner we feel they can handle. We don’t shelter them from it but are there when they are exposed to things and can walk them through it. 4. Life is school. They are learning not only academics, but also loving Jesus with their whole being and great life skills. We are training them to succeed in life and to walk wholeheartedly with Jesus. 5. They get to move from lesson to lesson and not have to wait on a classroom full of students to move forward. (As a teacher, I LOVE THIS!) Again, I don’t really care how people educate their children. It don’t look down upon anyone for not doing it my way. Quite frankly, I have enough concerns of my own with my own children…why in the world am I going to worry about how you do it? There’s so much freedom in thinking this way, if you ask me. You are a grown-up and a parent. You are smart enough to decide what suits your family. People always ask why we homeschool. Now you know ♥
I love the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Love. It. If you haven’t read it, it is a must read to your children. But I must warn you that in the end, Charlotte, the spider, does indeed die. It’s a little sad, but still a great story that I just finished reading aloud to my boys. As I was finishing up the second to the last chapter where Charlotte dies, I read the words stating just that. When I read the words “Charlotte died” (or something like that), my youngest, Seth, who is 6 1/2 years old popped his little head up and said, “Who’s Charlotte?” And that, my friends, is how homeschooling my children is going. Have a great week!
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I don’t exactly know why I sensed an uncomfortable, maybe even heart-breaking afternoon ahead of me as I went to withdraw my sons from the public school system. After all, it was just me following up and solidifying the plans that Chris and I have been praying about for years. And finally, after more intense praying, researching, discussions with our sons, and more praying, we decided it was best to take the plunge. The plunge into home schooling our sons. If I’m honest, I don’t really like the term home schooling. Not just because of the negative connotations associated with said term in the eyes of many, but mainly because I feel the word school is so limiting. According to Webster.com, the word school means an organization that provides instruction. While there is nothing wrong with instructing people, I plan to do a whole lot more than plan lessons and stand in front of my children telling them what to do and what to learn and what to think. I want to inspire them so that they will desire to learn more and in the process, love to learn! I want to provoke them to find out answers to things that I never cared about answering. I want to see their characters developed and fortified so that when the time is right, they will be able to stand up for their beliefs despite what the world is shouting. I want to rally around them and be their biggest cheerleader and support system. I want to broaden their horizons by allowing them to experience things that they’d never experience just reading a textbook. I want them to embrace their history and use it as a guide as to what not to do. I’ve talked to a lot of women whose children are raised, have gone off to school, gotten married and now have children of their own. Many looked forward to the day that those stinky boys and prima donna girls left the house. Many did not. But no matter how they felt about the upbringing of their children, not one of them has ever said, “You know, I felt that I spent too much time with my children.” Not. One. And I want to spend time with them. Plain and simple. My family is not your family. Our decision shouldn’t be your decision. Everyone has to live with their own decisions so make them according to what is best for your family. But for this season and maybe even the rest of the boys “seasons” of school, it is best for all of us that we keep them with us. If you educate your own children, I would love for you to share any encouragement you have for Chris and me. I know the task ahead will be nothing short of daunting. But what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger, right? Right?