Sunday, November 18, 2007

Torn

So for this post I need some feedback because I’m faced with a real conundrum. I moved to this lovely place so my kids could go to school, and at the school they now attend the teachers are excellent. I moved to this place because when Elijah was six years old I kept him home with me and we butted heads like bulls competitively sparring - me for control and he for the freedom to do what he wanted, when he wanted, without my chronic nagging. We moved to this place and our relationship improved; was it maturity on both our parts or the hours away from each other – me focusing on the “babies” and he discovering limits (“So wandering around the classroom and procrastinating on assignments really isn’t acceptable? Huh”.) from an authority figure other than his mother? Their grades are excellent, both Elijah and Priscilla’s. And I’m relieved, I must admit, that the math problems (already out of my meager league) they bring home for my inspection are being taught by those for whom the carrying, dividing, and multiplying of numbers doesn’t cause an immediate short circuiting of the brain. All in all it’s a pretty good set-up, so why am I wrestling with my conscience?

I was on the phone yesterday with a very dear friend who recently pulled her own daughter out the public school system. I was affirming her decision with reasons like:

“Socializing? Who needs it?
I would have enjoyed my own education so much more without the distracting drama of volatile friendships and unbridled hormones.”

“It doesn’t matter what method you use to teach her, if she is being focused on as an individual, rather than as a part of a class, she will excel.”

“Our culture is most definitely more liberal, more aggressive in its methods to propagate our children with its whacked out morals, than it was when we were kids.”

So keep them home, right? Except here is the problem: me, me, me, me me. I didn’t like who I was as a home school mom, all flustered and tightlipped while reigning in my kids for an impossibly long twelve hours. The bickering, their refusal to cooperate, the toddler sitting on my head and whining for juice while I was trying to read an assignment, didn’t exactly bring out my best attributes as a parent. I’m afraid I just don’t have the patience (or the stomach) for it. I adore my family; nothing makes me more fulfilled than connecting with them over popcorn in the afternoons, listening to the best and worst parts of their day, praising them for their test scores and encouraging them whenever, wherever, and however possible. So what’s an overly protective and hopelessly unorganized gal to do?

I would really prefer at this juncture some sort typed out memo from God, Himself, instead of a gentle, extraordinarily subtle, prompting from the Holy Spirit. If you happen to have gotten one, a typed out memo that is, having to do with this very decision please be so kind as to mail it here, to this lovely place I moved to so that such decisions would not be necessary.

8 comments:

Patricia said...

We also have our difficult & exhausting "moments"...I am the homeschooling mom of children ages 12, 10, 7, 5, & 2 (& 11 weeks in the womb). For me, once I realized that it was my vocation as their mother to be their primary educator in matters of the Faith, & all else that comes secondary to that in education, I knew God would somehow provide the needed grace to carry out this awesome responsibility, privilege, & adventure...now if only I'd continually cooperate with that grace! I am learning every single day right along with them as we live the liturgical year within our "domestic monastery." Praying for you! From a Byzantine Catholic mom who appreciates & relates to all your postings! :o)

Mimi said...

I agree, as I said on another blog recently, we each have different things that works, there is no "one size fits all". You are an awesome mom.

Personally, I'd make a terrible homeschooler.

Ser said...

Oh Molly, you are a great mom! That you are thinking about this, worrying about this, is what is important. Every decision we make for them has its advantages and disadvantages--but we must make the best decisions we can, as you have done.

I love Luke attending public school. Except when he comes home and says things like, "Dude, we have to go to Walmart and check out the new gameboy." We have never gone to Walmart and, as far as I know, he has never been around a game boy.

Dove Knits said...

I think that if sending the kids to school works for you, by all means, keep them there! It really sounds like a win all around: they like it, you like it and have less stress, the teachers are good, the grades are good, and you appreciate each other more being apart for a few hours! There's nothing wrong with sending your kids to school, just as there's nothing wrong with keeping them home, and no one but you and Troy can make that decision. Doing what works for your family certainly doesn't make you a bad mom!

And you have a great situation, being in a small town with "much less kidnappings" (as Elijah told me Saturday), so you don't have to worry about what's going on at school. (It was really great to see Troy, Elijah, Priscilla, and Benji! I can't believe how big they got!)

Michele said...

This is such a hard one Molly. I believe God will guide you and Troy. One thing you have to remember is that it isn't wrong for your children to be in school. Things seem to be working well for you and your children. I am not even sure why I decided to post on this one. I guess because I am sad that you seem to feel badly. But you know what? Your concern says so much. Guiding them in the faith is wonderful and you can do this even with them in school. I will pray for you. God bless you and your little ones.

Michele
catechumen in Alabama

H and S said...

I don't have any advice but I'm adding my bit anyway!

Almost nobody homeschools in Australia. My kids go to a relatively inexpensive Christian private school which is very close by. But if that wasn't available, I would think seriously about homeschooling because of the "value-free" values taught in Australian public schools. And the disgraceful situation of public school sexuality education. And also the violence and drugs in many schools. Then again, I have never done homeschooling, and I've never seen it done, and I am extremely disorganised and impatient. Maybe it would be good for me. Maybe also it would save a whole lot of money each year?

I did listen to a Clark Carlton podcast that made me feel like it's my responsibility to homeschool if the only available schools are particularly bad. He's probably right, I guess. But I am not in the situation where that's a reality for me.

Belladonna said...

Oh my how I could relate to this. While homeschool vs outside school is not my issue, I know what it is like to prayerfully make a decision that I feel confident is right for my family and then begin to dilly dally second guess myself with a million thoughts about whether or not I should have taken a different path.

Trust your heart, and be gentle with yourself. Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to BOTH paths. For right now it seems to have them enrolled elsewhere fits. That doesn't mean you won't ever homeschool again. Sometimes all we can do is take it a day at a time and make our peace with it.

Many blessings to you and yours this feast day.

Kelleylynn said...

Hi Molly!

I completely understand and relate to all that you are saying. It comes down to a choice that you and your hubby need to make - together -- in agreement, praying to Christ. He will not send a lighting bolt. For He speaks softly, quietly. "Drip Drip" one droplet at a time.
6 years ago, I felt much like you and would call my husband ranting that I can not homeschool these kids (10, 8, 5, 3). It has been my (our) ascesis. Still working this one out.
No, it is not wrong that your little ones are in school! BUT, What we can't get back is time - time spent with our little gifts from God. Put aside the studies, the chores -- time spent together is what they need from us. We have one chance, one lifetime to spend together. Are we raising Saints or Scholars?
This is by no means to pressure you - please forgive me for any offense.
Awhile back, I was told by a wonderful Priest, whom Homeschooled 7 daughters (BTW, he has the most incredible Khouriya and presently, 2 daughters are nuns and 2 are married), that HSing isn't for everybody - just like having 2 kids vs. 6 kids. Some people can write, such as yourself, and others are more suited for an engineering type of job.
It is hard to homeschool and it is also very rewarding. Much like our Orthodox Faith. Our Faith in the church does ask much but you can gain so much more.
Just because you make a decision whether to keep them home or to send them to shcool, does not mean that it does not come without a struggle.
Give it a try, if you feel that deeply about it -- there is also no rule that you cannot change your mind - this will not mean you have failed as their mother.
The whole reason you want feedback from others shows that you do love your little ones deeply and want to do right by them -- you are Molly, more than you'll ever know...