my problem with homeschooling.

This post will be largely vulnerable for me.  So please take that into account when you comment or email me, OK?  I mean no harm to anyone, am judging no ones choices and am telling all that I have to tell from MY experiences.  OK?

So, if you have been around here for long, you will recall that I have an ongoing issue with the whole to home school or not home school bit.  I have prayed over it and read about it and researched it and done everything I could to work it out.  It was tough.  I was confused for some time.  I was not convinced that homeschooling was for us, but I couldn't let it go.  I began to wonder if God was indeed calling me to home school, which would make for some serious changes in our lives, which, if that was what God wanted me to do, then I would do it.  I know he equips the called to His purposes and that he would do the same for me.  At the same time, homeschooling was not sitting well with me.  Not in what I would expect the normal unsettling feelings would be but more of a "there is something more to this" kind of feeling.  So I kept praying.  And reading.  And researching.  And God kept revealing.

And as I walked through it all, I came to realize that my decision (I say mine, because it was MY issue) on whether or not to send Moses to public school or not, had very little to do with sending Moses to public school or not.  Yes, you may need to read that again. 

You see, God has been working on my hidden issues and hurts.  Ways that are hindering me, and my parenting, and my marriage and my being a friend.  Ways that the enemy LOVES to use because we can't see them.  Because we don't know they are there.  Hurts that are so deep and hidden that they are mysterious even to their owners.  However, much like a torrent wind blowing through the yard, just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there and doesn't mean it can't do harm. 
I have a fierce calling to protect my kids.  I would even venture to say that it is even more so than your average mom.  I'm not saying I am more loving or better or more concerned than your average mom, I just have a past that tries to force up walls when it comes to protecting my kids.  I have no naturally healthy example of appropriate ways to protect my kids...so my defense is all walls up.  I remove those walls one at a time as I learn appropriate and good ways to let them venture out on their own.  If I have ever left you alone with one of my kids...just let me say, that is the highest honor that I could ever, ever, EVER bestow on anyone.  If I have left my kids in your care (and there aren't many of you) it's because I trust you fully to put yourself second when it comes to my kids well being, to look out for their innocence and guard it will all you have.  A pretty high calling for a babysitter, no? 

I guess I should say HAD no healthy example.  God is changing that by being my wonderful and perfect Father. 

I know that things happened to me, physically, spiritually, mentally and sexually that would not have happened had I been protected in the right ways.  My childhood could have been extended...my innocence could have lingered longer.  Some things you just know.  

One of my top parenting goals is to protect my kids from 90% of what I was exposed to as a child.  Their innocence and childhoods are some of my most precious treasures. 

I mean to protect them from things.  And I don't mean normal childhood things.  Those things I can deal with with relative ease.  I am not overly concerned with broken arms or bouts of vomit or attitudes.  Those things I expect and can deal with because they are normal.

I am talking out of the norm, things kids should never have to deal with.  Childhood stealing things.  Things that could be prevented with a little due diligence things.  Innocence stealing things.  Joy stealing things.  Spirit crushing and soul disparaging things.  Years of therapy and counseling things.  Things that only the healing salve of Jesus can heal things.

Things that I was dipped, rolled and breaded in as a child.  Things that I sought healing for (from the wrong source) and was called a liar for speaking of.   

And that is where Jesus met me with this particular journey.  I was called out by the one who knows me best.  I heard him clear as day explain to me "Your issue is not to home school or not, it's about protecting your kids in a way that you were never protected". 

Touche'.  A glorious and wonderful revealing moment.  I was finally released from the "to or not to home school" question.  My issue WAS how can I protect my kids if I send them into the big scary world...doesn't that mean I don't love them...or want to care for them...or want to protect them?  Doesn't that mean I'm not doing my job as a parent seeking to do my VERY best at my very favorite occupation?  No, no, no.  All I was really saying is "God, you didn't protect me, how can I trust you to protect them?".   

God used a blazingly bright issue to light up an issue in the dark.

And often times, as it goes, acknowledging an issue makes it easier to deal with.  And dismember.  When you know what you are working with you can seek the truths that apply to that situation.  And God is always good to give them to you if you ask.   

God has been building columns for me.  The kind on a crisp, clean and white piece of paper.   In one column are ways He is equipping me as a parent.  The tools and words and scripture He is showing me.  In another column are ways those tools are manifesting themselves in my kids.  Ways that show me that they are secure and feel loved and ARE PROTECTED.  In one more column are the people he is placing in my life at just the right moments to tell me that my kids are awesome and that we are doing a good job...the teachers and friends and family who know my kids and I best.

He has shown me that I am a different kind of parent.  And that my kids will benefit greatly from that.  I am NOT my past.  My kids will not have the same damaging childhood.  They will maintain innocence and childhood joy for just as long as I can grip it.

Homeschooling is not an issue.  Does Kindergarten still scare me?  YES!  But in a normal person kind of way.  God has been good to clear out the cobwebs and shed light where it is needed.

I am "good" as a parent, fully equipped now?  No way. I will be learning how to parent until I die, but where I am at now, is a good good place.  The perfect platform for learning and growing.

And just in case you need some boosts in your journey, I thought I would share some of my favorite "parenting books" with you...

The first is not shown but it's my Bible.  I use an app in my iPhone called YouVersion.  You can choose a plan that suits you.  I use the Bible in a year version and it takes about 15 minutes a day to read.  Skip reading anything else before you skip this.  I can't emphasis how much of a difference in makes in my life.  Each time through the Bible is like a new book for me.     
This is my current repertoire.  I get up an hour before the boys do to drink my coffee and read.  It's time well spent and it sets my day up right.  I love sleep but giving up some of it reaps major benefits for everyone in my family. 
"How to talk so Kids will listen" is cute in that it was written by two older ladies in the early 80s but the lessons are timeless and have already done wonders in communicating with my sensitive child.
The other two are AMAZING as well. 
This book I bought when I was needing a book that just confirmed that my boys are NORMAL.  I did not want a religiously slanted book.  I did not want theories or ideas.  I wanted scientific confirmation that when my four year old acts like a wild banshee that it is normal and even expected.  I run to this book if I am ever worried whether some behavior is normal or not.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.
And this book...has saved lives in my house.  It did miraculous wonders for my boys.  And to this day they are great sleepers and bed time is a non issue.  Bedtime is EASY and SMOOTH and SHORT.  People who have witnessed my boys going to bed are usually impressed because it just happens.  No drama or screaming or long drawn out mess.  They go to bed.  The end.  And the foundation for their great sleep is THIS book.  Buy this book. :)

So that is my two cents.  My disclaimer is this:  this is all about my issues and journey.  Homeschooling is and can be awesome.  Public school is and can be awesome.  It's all about finding our own distinct paths in this world and helping our kids do the same.  Just thought I would share a slice of my journey in the hopes that maybe someone out there needs a little of the same revelation that I did.      
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28 comments:

Diana said...

Your post is very well reasoned and insightful -- and it's good you are working through these insights and recognizing whether to homeschool or not isn't really the underlying issue. Homeschooling really should not be undertaken out of fear (I guess that's true for anything!). Homeschooling is not particularly hard (I have always found it easier than school), but it is a big commitment for a family, and especially the mother. I homeschool because it is best and right for ME and MY family at this time. But it may not be best or right for everyone and every family and at every time.

Jennifer said...

((hugs))

Happy for those columns of yours.

Becky said...

Thank you so much, Crystal, for your honesty and vulnerability. This morning my 11 yr old went on a 6th grade snowboarding day trip and as I again studied the itinerary for the day, I noticed that she was required only to check in with a teacher/supervisor twice during the entire day. My breath caught in my throat at the thought of her being out on the ski hill all day without anyone (any-mom)! It never gets easier to let our kids out into the world, but you are so right that TRUSTING GOD is the only way to make it happen - not trusting that everything will be "ok" but trusting that HE IS still God, regardless of any circumstances. And aren't you, Crystal, a beautiful example of His redemptive power!

(also: Grace Based Parenting is the single most important parenting book I've ever read!)

Jen Stokes said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Elma said...

So well written!!! Love your blog sooo much!! Thanks for sharing!!

Samantha said...

You're such a sweetheart. I've followed your blog for a while but I'm a lurker and rarely comment {sorry!}.

I wanted to comment though today to let you know I think you're strong :)

Kelli said...

I am a homeschooling mom, and was apprehensive about your post title. I understand your situation, probably better than most. It's not something to talk about, but I understand your fears and desires to protect your children and their childhood. Mine, too, was stolen. I never want that for my kids, and sometimes feel I'm protecting too much...but I cannot help it. I, too, pray about it all the time. I still don't understand why this happened to me, but I know He is in control, and that gives me peace. I also believe homeschooling is a blessing to a family. Period. I have a closeness with my kids and a trust between us, that is fostered every single day by the time we spend together. They do not have the negative influence squeezing in daily on their hearts and minds.They do not have another adult's values and morals being taught to them 7 hours a day, and then having to spend the other few hours with me. They have good friends who go to public school (church friends), and I can see a vivid difference in language, respect level and overall attitude. I am not the only one who sees the difference. My kids are human,don't get me wrong. We make mistakes and raise our voices and have trouble, too. But, in the overall picture of life, I am blessed to be able to spend this precious time with them, every single day. These are the memories we will hold for a lifetime. It goes by so quickly and before you know it they are out of the house, having a family of their own. No matter what your choice is, just enjoy every moment with them!

everydaymomma said...

Sweet lady what an honest and vulnerable post, Thankyou so much for opening your heart to us, I know it could not of been easy.i too have been through this questioning and fear for my children.i grey up having been not protected by those who were supposed to keep Me safe. I was abused neglected, sexually assaulted and dealt with so many cases in which my childhood was taken away from me.here I sit as a mother of 5 beautiful children and I have struggled since day 1 with wanting to protect them, I have always been the over cautious parent the one laughed at or told your being silly, over protective mother hen, by people who who had never been touched by any of those thing they just didn't understand, however I do know how scary the world can be, it can be beautifully awesome too But the scary is what I am so painfully aware of.i was trusted withthese beautiful innocent babies and I will use every fiber of my being to protect their innocence for as long as I can I will let no one steal it from them, I pray every day that I am successfull in that. I struggled with the public school home school thing but eventually I decided public was best for us but I do my best to insure they are safe there and it has been an awesome experience so far. Once again Thankyou for sharing, and making me feel less alone.

SarahinSC said...

Beautifully written, as usual. One thing to add to your things to ponder...it doesn't have to be just homeschool or just public school. It can be a combo. I am homeschooling one of my boys now and the other son is in public school. Next year, we will most likely flip-flop (the homeschooled one back in PS and the one in PS will be homeschooled). Just another thought to think on!

Sarah:)

Aly @ mommie diaries said...

i don't think i've been reading here very long, and i'm sure i've never commented... but i just wanted to thank you for being so vulnerable and open, about your past and present. it is so beautiful to watch how healing takes shape in someone's life, so thank you for letting us share in it. beautiful, beautiful post. i just can't say it enough.

mel said...

i struggle with these same feelings. i homeschooled my son through kindergarten and first grade. and it is NOT easy. and i am a teacher [by degree anyway :)]. it was a lot of work, but i still wonder if i should be homeschooling now. i really miss having him around, but he is enjoying school and i trust the teachers/admin at his little school.

we homeschooled the last two years because we did not live in a good area--schools were not good and homeschooling was the only option for us at the time. since we've moved, things are much better and we have a very good school to send him (and our daughter next year) to. i think my issue with homeschool vs public school is mostly the protection thing too. i worry about all the bad and scary things in the world and want to keep my babies from that. but i then realize i'm a concerned, loving parent and my children feel safe and loved. and god loves them even more than i do and will be with them and guide them. and i just pray and pray and pray. :)

it's a hard decision to make. hugs and prayers for you as you and your husband decide!

Tiff said...

Thank you for this post. My heart has struggled for several years with to homeschool or not. I felt that God was whispering in my ear to homeschool and after two years of considering, I finally tried with my 8th grader and Kindergartener. My oldest had just graduated from High School, and I have a junior, 5th grader, 3rd grader, and an almost 2 yr old. A month into it, my 5 yr old was begging to go to school with his big brothers, I relented and let him go...he has blossomed and is already reading which makes his and my heart smile. My 8th grader continued for another month, but she finally asked me if she could go back, she was afraid of hurting my feelings and didn't want to make me feel like I failed(which she told me). Just hearing that from her, let me know that I had done my job well as a mother and she is strong enough to put up with school. I let her go back too. She still has days where she misses being home, but for the most part, she enjoys public school. All my children enjoy school and we have been blessed with some awesome teachers(elementary) who actually request my children in their class.
The hang up with public school is on my shoulders. I LOVE my children and hate when they walk out of the house each morning. I love being around them and we all get along(for the most part). I too am a very over protective mama, more so than most, so I wanted to keep let their childhood be as long as possible. Public schools throw lots of growing up things at them, from teachers to other students. But I have come to realize that my children have a solid foundation at home with two parents who love them and a dinner table full of siblings to interact with. They know our values and we have instilled respect and kindness in them. The world may try to make them grow up too fast, but they know that they have the right to be children as long as they need. They also know that they can talk to us about anything and we often have open discussions at the dinner table.
I use my judgement with outside influences and friends are chosen carefully, my children do not run all over town or even the neighborhood.
Oh my, I've seem to written a book here. I just wanted to let you know that I know somewhat how you feel and have dealt with the feelings myself.
Oh, and you may wonder why only chose to homeschool two of the children at first. It was because my 16 yr old did Not want to be homeschooled and the 3rd and 5th graders had teachers we were happy with. Maybe it would have turned out differently if I had homeschooled all of them instead of splitting our world between the two types(I have heard that is the hardest thing to do), but right now I am fine with them all back in school. I am very involved in their public schools, so I don't feel totally out of their school lives.
(((hugs))) and thank you again for sharing.

Tiff

Anna Marie said...

Wow...you can't even imagine how closely our situations are right now. My jaw dropped when I read the title. Wish I was close enough to you to talk. I have been in tears today because I feel like I am having to decide between my child's innocence and her education. I feel like a complete failure as a mother.

goletagirlwendy said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm sending you a big hug. It is amazing how what happens to us as children affect us as adults, but we have the power to not repeat.

laurajayne said...

Your childhood sounds much like mine....I do all I can to protect my kids from the pain I endured....sometimes still do. And 3 of my kids are grown and out of the house,2 with their own babies...and I still try to protect them. You never stop.

May He continue to bless you and your beautiful family :)

Joyelle @ An Artful Endeavor said...

I can completely relate to your fears about protecting my child from the issues I had to deal with as a child. No one should have their innocence stolen, and it is a very scary thing to send your baby off to kindergarten. My boy starts this September too, and I know it will be a difficult thing for me to let go. I will do everything I can before then to make sure he understands what safe boundaries are, and I know I will be a regular visitor at his school so I can feel confident he is safe.
Thank you for posting so honestly and openly about this.

Blanca said...

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. These are things that I struggle with. My children are not even school aged yet but I'm already thinking about what will be best for them and our family. I love your blog...it always inspires me.

Thank you, Crystal. I'm sure you don't have the time to respond to everyone but your honest posts are appreciated. :)

Smilie girl said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing the great things God has done in your life. Love to you for the bad things you've had to work through.
Thank you too for the books you've shared. I'll have to check them out.

Theresa said...

I have never had this struggle. That being said, I have had the same issues around going to church. I grew up going to an evangelical church and experienced hurts there that I never dealt with in the secular world. I know that I cannot base going to church on past hurts. I know I need to work out my own salvation. It is amazing how hurts from the past can paralyze one even 25 years later.
I went to public schools. The people who hurt me most were the born again Christians I saw on Sundays, not the unsaved that I went to school with. Public schools need witnesses for Christ. If we segregate our children from the unsaved, we keep them from opportunities to share the love of Jesus.
I love your honesty. It is really refreshing.

Alicia said...

Hi there! I have read your blog for a while and always find it amazingly insightful. I tend to look away when I don't want to see things in myself that need change or at least some thought...I am a very good ignorer. You amaze me with your analyzing abilities. I would do well to learn a few things from you.
I must also say that "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" was a huge help in my household and I still use the principles today. My kiddos are now 13, 10 and 8 and I recieved the book as a gift when my 13 year old was 3 mos and I am proud to say my kiddos are all still great sleepers and I am thankful I help give them that gift!
Your kids will do great in school whichever way you decide...the most important thing is they have 2 such loving parents!
Thanks for your blog!

The Bonjour Four said...

very well written. thank you for sharing your heart.

campclem said...

Oof, that is so good. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for trusting us with it.

Zookeeper Jess said...

I too didn't have any good parenting influences. I've lived through and seen things that children shouldn't endure and like you, because of that i am beyond paranoid over my kids. Sending my kids to preschool and Kindergarten was so tough for me. I cried the entire day and it took me weeks to be at ease with it. Even 1/2 a year into kindergarten, I'm still not really okay with it but I don't feel equipped to homeschool and I want my kids to experience public school. I totally understand where you're coming from.

Amy said...

I am reading a book right now called "Going Public... your child can thrive in public school." Here is the book description from Amazon:

“Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Taking this verse at face value provides the perfect opportunity to prove it in the educational setting of our children, say the authors of Going Public. By nurturing the life and power of Christ within them, students will be ready to stand against negative influences no matter the environment, even bringing light to a dark place. They will also benefit from many of the services that the often well-financed public school system has to offer. Readers of this practical guide will learn how moms and dads have a strategic role to play in the ongoing development of their school-age children. Discover what the Bible says about education, the three most important things to teach your public-school child, how to shape your child through teachable moments, the importance of getting involved at school and why everyone should “home-school,” in addition to public school.

The Spotted Horse Owl said...

I just stumbled upon your blog (via Pinterest) and this is the first posting I read.

Thank you for sharing from your heart and sharing a perfect example of how God uses our concerns (taken to Him in prayer) to grow us in unexpected ways.

Beautiful!

sara @ it's good to be queen said...

oh this is so good. i have tears in my eyes. deciding how to educate your children is such a personal decision. i so totally know the angst in making this decision. we've did university model (2 days at school and 3 days homeschool) for three years and we are doing public school for the first time this year. my heart nearly rips out of my chest for fear at times, but Jesus gently reminds me that he cares for and loves my children way more than i do. HE is their ultimate protector. I have to trust HIm fully....come what may...and it is HARD. thankful to read these words today. thankful that this is not our forever home. thankful for a sweet Savior who cares so much. blessings to you today...

blueschoolmomma said...

I can appreciate where you are coming from with this. However, once you've reached a point where you are more secure with those issues, I would urge you to take a look at the bones of a public school education vs. a home education in the light of what really works and what is broken. Setting aside any Christian or Biblical reasons for either, and just scrutinizing both systems. From my personal reading and research, I've seen that there is a LOT broken and messed up with the public school system and the government messing in it. I won't say more because I don't want to sir anything up, but if you do get curious and want to see which type of education you prefer, I have plenty of resources I can share!

Missy said...

I agree that homeschooling should not be done for the wrong reasons... but, that said, I recommend reading Unschooling Rules and watching Race to Nowhere- they changed my life. I have always had the nagging feeling that I wanted to homeschool but never got up the nerve to do it. We have had years now of realizing over and over again that no one will love, care, teach our children like we can/do. And they deserve that. My husband and I are both certified teachers(although I am a stay at home mom now and my husband is now an administrator)-just to show that we aren't anti-teacher or anything- and we have pulled one of our kids out of school half time and plan to homeschool all 3 of them next year. I have friends that are making the same decisions after reading that book & watching that documentary. I agree with blueschoolmamma above. Things are messed up in the school system. I witnessed it over and over(and by the way, we are in an excellent school district!)- and I just don't want to look back years from now with regret that I didn't give them more. Keep up the research and soul-searching and good luck with whatever you end up doing!

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