Every year I pray that God will hand pick each of the kids’ teachers. I ask Him to place them exactly where He wants them, or knows they need to be. This year, my prayer was different. While it still petitioned for Him to place them where He knew they needed to be, there were some questions, as I felt Him leading us down a different path.
“Am I hearing You correctly?!?” “Are you SURE?” And the answer was, “Yes.” “Yes” meant a drastic change in our lives, and it was spelled out over the course of this last year. “Yes” came reassuringly through several conversations with various people, and lots of heart and soul searching.
“Yes” meant we will embark on a new journey this school year. We have slammed on the breaks, and taken a hard left onto an unmarked, unpaved (for us), scenic, yet bumpy (I’m sure) road.
Some might think I missed the STOP sign, and got lost. Me too, believe me. I’ve double-checked the ‘directions’ a few times already. Some might think the road we just turned onto has a ‘Dead End’ sign coming up in a few short miles.
I believe the street sign, at the corner of ‘Life as We Knew It,’ and this ‘New Normal,’ had there been one, would have read, “turn here for God’s detour.”
If you haven’t guessed yet, we are homeschooling.
There is absolutely no way in the entire world, or universe, that we would be doing this if we didn’t feel strongly led to. Let’s review the obvious and get all the cards on the table: I am not a school teacher. I always wanted to be one when I was young, but that doesn’t count. I have worked a ‘9-5ish’ for most of their lives. Their natural instinct is to test me, and my patience. They define ‘strong-willed child.’ Both of them. I have always said I could never, and would never, homeschool my children, for all of our well-being. And I have eaten my words.
Some of you are sighing, and saying, “She has LOST her mind!” But for the record, I have not.
What I lost was the ability to continue to watch our sweet kiddos struggle so hard this last year with school, each in their own ways. School is hard(er). Do we believe you run when life gets hard? No. But we do believe you change course, or go a different direction, when the road starts to crumble from beneath you.
Let me explain. At some point during last school year, one of our daughter’s teachers said something that dropped like a boulder right in the middle of my way. She said, “If we had enough time to fully explain each concept to her, until she completely understood it, she would lock it into her long-term memory, and she’d have it and never forget it. Unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of time, and the pace is such that she just can’t fully grasp the concepts enough to lock them in. It’s so fast, she just doesn’t have a chance.”
Doesn’t. have. a. chance.
The message was not – she just isn’t capable. She’s very capable. (True story; not just proud). It was – this particular setting isn’t allowing her to reach her full potential.
At this point in our meeting we were passing the Kleenex box around, because the thing is she WANTS to succeed! She WANTS to read easily, and write the words that are in her head onto paper CORRECTLY. She became so very TIRED of it being so HARD. She tried so hard (with lots of encouragement and feet-holding) every year, and in her mind and in her eyes, she saw little improvement. At some point, your child, or at least my child, gets tired of hearing you say, “All you can do is your best. That’s all that matters. Just do your best.”
And so from that moment on, that big, fat boulder sat right in my way, and I could not see past it. Could not GET past it. I thought, “She deserves the chance. She deserves what it will take for her to succeed, and we have to do something to give it to her.”
Without going into all of the other details that led us to this decision, here we are. About to set foot onto uncharted territory. And I am fully aware we are going backwards here. Driving backwards down our dirt road. Like we passed the sign at first, and reversed back to the turn. We have a 4th and 5th grader and we are entering our very first year of homeschooling. But…we honestly believe we were watching our kids stand at their own crossroads. At some point, if something doesn’t change, YOU change. And we weren’t willing to watch them give up on learning, or themselves. They are very bright children, with incredible personalities, and we just refuse to lose any of that because of them feeling beat down.
So there’s that! We just keep adding to our ‘new normal’ don’t we?
I will say, it’s been a keenly interesting road we have walked these past several weeks, as we share more and more about our decision. More on that to come! In the meantime, we start school tomorrow, so pray for our safe ‘travels’ and I promise to keep you posted along the way!
Peace and Love.