Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Day I Marched My Kids to the Public School

They screamed, they begged, they pleaded with me not to do it.  My husband was angry.  I was depleted and numb.  He gave the final word, something that was in my head for several weeks but I couldn't bring myself to do.
"Take them to the public school and ask how they can get enrolled."
Tears rolled down cheeks.  One boy ran out the door with a stuffed animal and said he was running away (He never left the yard).  I told them to get in the van and we were going to ask lots of questions and they could see for themselves how the majority of their friends and people in our community are educated.  The public school.
We did the tour, got the talk, were handed materials for enrollment and I walked away with three less terrified, but also sullen boys, and a little 4 year old girl who had not a clue what was going on.
"What do you think?"  I asked them.  We talked about pros and cons and the kinds of changes they would face in their daily lives if they went.  We talked about how much Mommy and Daddy love them and that would never change.  We talked about what it was like to sit in a desk for 6 hours a day, and ride in a bus for an hour each way.
They cried some more.  They promised to change.  They pleaded with me to not do it.
What kind of a mom was I for doing this to my kids out of frustration with them?

Lets go back about a year.  I have three sons.  One is gifted with some dysgraphia.  One is dyslexic, slow working, yet very determined.  The third is strong willed with a serious case of ADHD.  My daughter is an eager beaver and very compliant at 4 years old.  We have a second daughter of an unknown age who God will bring to us in His timing. Teaching doesn't come naturally to me.  I studied to be an RN and a missionary, not an educator.  I also have ADD and can be easily distracted on a typical day. This does not make for a smooth day teaching all of them in their different levels, abilities and learning styles.  I often get migraines and force myself to teach through them when possible.
I've changed schedules, given rewards, made curriculum easier or harder, pushed or given breaks, you name it we've tried it.  Yet my kids often thought that obedience was optional.  They rushed through a subject and retained nothing, teased and taunted each other to the point of chaos, couldn't sit in a chair for 60 seconds without crawling on the floor and sneaking around with toys as I read a story, and whined about everything they thought was too hard or boring.

I had it.  I was so tired, so burned out, and I wanted an out.  If I couldn't teach these children effectively and it was causing such a strain on our family, then someone else could do it.  I'd hand them over to the school system to do it for me.  That's where most kids do school anyway, right?

Oh, the freedom I'd finally enjoy!
I could have time to volunteer at our local crisis pregnancy center and do ultrasounds again.
I could go back to being more involved in my church,  rejoin the hispanic ministry, get back in the choir, teach a class, be a part of the women's missions group and go to their meetings and outings, even have lunch and visits with people during the day!
I could have better meals cooked at dinner (no more school until 5:00) get everyone to their evening activities without rushing to wrap up study time, and have a neater and more organized home.
Oh, the money we'd save!  Between saving on curriculum, breakfast and lunch food, gas and field trips we'd save thousands a year!
Fewer migraines, better overall health from eating and resting better, and a chance to exercise whenever I chose!
I could even go back to working as a nurse part time and do what I studied to do 16 years ago.  Again, more income!  More missions trips for us!  More adoption money!  More opportunities!

To be free of homeschooling meant so many open doors for me and freedom to serve and work like I never could before!

These thoughts flooded my mind after that school tour, but as I thought more about it, everything seemed to come back to one thing.

All about me.
All about Mommy
All about what I could benefit out of this change.

What about the kids?
What about my number one calling in this season?

It's gut wrenching, y'all.  It's hard to face your selfishness.

So here I am, in our classroom.  It will remain our classroom for the time being.
We have changed things up.
The kids have more chores to help mommy.
Mommy has promised to be more focused in school and is eliminating distractions.
Mommy goes to bed earlier so she can wake up earlier and school time can start earlier.  An early start gets everything going in the right direction in the morning.
No more goals to finish curriculum this year.  It has been a pain.  A royal pain and pressure.
If we have something coming up and have to crunch to get work done, we limit the work.  Mommy doesn't need to get a migraine over a history lesson needing to be read before jumping in a van to go somewhere.
We are focusing a while on character building, respect and obedience more than knowledge acquisition.

This life is hard.  If you are a believer in Christ, you have been called to something.  It is likely not something that comes easily or naturally to you.  I'm learning more and more that God doesn't want our callings to be natural, because then we don't trust Him to carry us through the difficulties we face while following Him.  We get glory, not Him.
Momma out there who wants to throw in the towel for something that just seems more rational, more financially feasible, less demanding of your time and energy, don't do it.  Don't give in to the temptation of taking the easy way out.  Keep the course.  Satan comes to us as an angel of light.  He wants something to look attractive to us and lures us to places away from God's calling, trying to convince us it's the best way.  It's not.  If you find yourself inserting "Me", "I", "Mine", in all your reasons to quit, it's probably not of God.  It's focussed on you, not Him.

I entertained the thought of taking the easy road.  The temptation almost took me somewhere I know I would eventually regret going.
My kids, my calling, my heart.
God's glory for all of it.
Eternal joy knowing I fought the fight and finished the race well when I hand them their report cards as both their teacher and proud Mommy.

This post is not something that was easy to write.  For one, I know many people who are very supportive of public education, some for good reasons and some for not so good reasons.  I am not intending to offend or demean your choice to send your kids there.  This is a post about the struggle of my heart and calling and an attempt to encourage other mothers who may have similar struggles.

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