I snagged you with the title, didn't I? :)
I'm a reader. I just love to read anything. Magazines, books, the back of cereal boxes, blogs, whatever. I've read a lot about our educational choices and responsibilities as Christian parents and I've yet to come across an article, book, or blog post that I agree with 100%. Imagine that. So after much thought, here goes my uneducated, probably horribly flawed, opinion.
We home school. Why? Because we are afraid to send our kids into the big bad world of public schools? Because we think they'll get a better education at home? Because we are crazy?
Well, actually, no. You see, I always thought I'd home school my children. Even before I had kids, this was the plan I hatched in my head. I would birth them and school them and we would all live happily ever after. The only problem with that was, it was my plan. My husband was on board but I think I had just assumed that God was on board, too.
Then I had children. They came out with all sorts of different personalities, talents, weaknesses and strengths. Kids are fun like that. All of a sudden, it dawned on me that maybe there is no one size fits all, God approved education for every child. Imagine that. Maybe, just maybe, we should pray about what God would have us to do to.
So we prayed. And we keep praying. I pray daily that God would make it abundantly clear what he wants us to do with these children that he's loaned us to raise. I cannot find any verses in the Bible bashing public schools, or private schools, or verses that say as long as you live in a "good" school district then it's ok to send the kids. I've heard sermons that disagree with me. I've read a lot of books that disagree with me. They say there is a Biblical mandate for homeschooling. I have trouble believing that. I know what side the statistics are on but I also know wonderful, Godly kids who graduate from the public school system. I also know home school graduates who have walked far away from their parents' faith. I have learned that there is no right answer. I just know that God has told us to keep Maggie home for the past year and a half. I don't know yet what he will tell us to do for next school year or the years after that.
I have enjoyed having her home and learning with her. It's given us precious time together. Time that we needed to bond. She was the oldest of 4 children born in 5 years and her needs tended to get put behind the younger children. I am thankful that we've had this chance to connect. That's not to say that I don't have days where I really think it would be nice to have one less thing on my plate and a little more free time for me. That's also not to say that the other children won't be marching off to kindergarten at the local public school. I don't know what He has planned for them just yet.
I take my job as her educator seriously. I had her tested in Oct. by a first grade teacher and she will be tested in April again, just to make sure she's on grade level. We use amazing curriculum. I know she's getting plenty of time with her peers and she's not sheltered. I also make sure she is meeting SPS's instructional goals here. God's blessed me with a wonderful mentor and an amazing support group of fellow homeschooling families. All of whom I know would understand completely if we told them that God was leading us in another direction in the future.
Here's my point. I really do have a reason for sharing my heart on this issue. I think there is a great divide in Christian social circles when it comes to educational choices. Home school groups tend to be a petri dish for legalism (quote from Mark Driscoll, love him!). Public and private school parents feel judged from some homeschoolers. Homeschoolers feel judged by some public and private school families. I've personally gotten a lot of negative comments, many from close friends and family members. I'm sure you all have, too. All the judging makes us put up walls of defense and then it becomes an awkward subject. Here's the deal, I fully support you and your family's decision, whatever that might be.
This is probably the last heavy post I ever write. At least I hope it is. I like to keep things lighter around here.
It's 5:00am and I should probably go to bed.