Friday, September 09, 2011

on school

I'm not really sure where this post is going to end up, but I have a bunch of thoughts roaming around in my head and need to get them out.

I've been considering giving up the blog for a couple of months now. It's just that one more thing that I see no point in. That said, when I was compiling Felix's birthday post and was able to pull pictures from my blog, I realized I have been blogging for five solid years and have documented every single one of his birthdays. That's pretty cool. Until technology comes up with a better way to keep memories, I will continue with this.

I also realized that Felix is technically a Texan as he's spent more of his life here than anywhere else.
He celebrated his first birthday in Phoenix.
His second in Seattle.
His third in Charlotte.
He turned four, five and six in San Antonio.

This blog has served me well in the memories department and the fact that I've made some lifelong friends via this thing is worth it to me. For the first year in several, I won't be able to make our annual September get together in MN thanks to a deployment training. Pret-ty bummed about that. I'm actually more than just bummed. Our weekend last year was the best girl's weekend I've ever had. :/ There's always next year.

Added to that, I got another email this week from someone I didn't know read my blog. It was uplifiting and encouraging and made my heart go pitter pat at the thought that other people care about the same things I care about. It made me feel like this isn't a huge waste of time and that in some teensy way, I do have a voice. A voice that is heard.

I keep wandering off topic.

I actually wanted to get some homeschool thoughts down.

As much as keeping my children from killing themselves or each other is a full time job in and of itself...
Multiplying in the feeding and watering,
Errand running,
Constant cleaning up after,
that comes with motherhood...

Formally educating them adds a whole new level of stress.

I don't just mean in the my-kid-won't-simply-circle-the-freakin'-picture-like-the-directions-say, but-would-rather-add-a-landscape-scene-behind-the-example-illustrating-the-letter-R way that can make a five minute worksheet last thirty. You might have to re-read that run on(and on and on) sentence a few times to get my point. It goes well beyond that.

I wonder if I'm teaching them the right things. I wonder if I'm teaching them enough. I wonder if I'm doing it correctly. I wonder if I'm stunting their social growth.

I wonder if I will eventually be pushed right over my self imposed sanity limit. I wonder if I will actually hear the call to join the circus. Seriously, I heard the call this week. It's just a matter of answering at this point.

I feel like I have to explain myself to people for the choice to educate at home. In the end, other people don't really matter. This is a personal choice and it's the best one, in my opinion. Otherwise, why would I be doing it?

Every single day this week, I had my choice affirmed.

By my sister. She told me not to second guess myself for even a second. I truly respect her opinion because her kids are older and she's seen what the public education system can do to kids. What they can take away from a kid.

By a friend. A friend of mine has younger kids and is trying to decide what is best for her family when her kiddos start school. She voiced some of the exact same concerns I have and I realize I am not alone. The answers that I heard coming out of my mouth affirmed exactly what I'm doing. Yes, this is the right decision.

By teachers within the public education system. They don't teach cursive anymore. They don't teach mental math and memorization anymore(AS EVIDENCED IN MY OWN KID!). Isn't math mostly memorization?! It is all about test scores and federal funding and learning how to sit still, be quiet and not step out. It is behavior modification at it's core. Those are not my words. Definitely my opinion, but not my words.

By Simon.  I love that he waited six months to tell me about this situation. This kid is someone I thought was his best friend. We had a long talk about what should be tolerated and what shouldn't from someone you consider a friend. I was furious. This kid has been in our house, spent the night. The last week we lived in our house, he was right there with us, every single day. Like his brother, Simon gives people the benefit of the doubt. When I asked him why he was still his friend, Simon answered, "Well, he's not always mean to me, only when other people are around." *sigh* Luckily, he stood up for himself. Luckily, he walked away instead of punching the kid in the face(although, I wish he would, just once). I guess it says something about his character that he gave the kid chance after chance, but at some point, ya gotta figure out who your real friends are.

This instance didn't have to do with the public education system, it had to do with "socialization." The bottom line, my kid's psyche and my kid's future emotional well being and my kid's socialization shouldn't be dictated by some little monster whose parents don't care enough about him to teach him right from wrong.

I understand that Simon has to learn how to deal with other kids. That's why I gave him brothers. If he can learn to deal with his siblings, he can learn to deal with anyone.

By Felix. In just three and a half weeks time, the kid is soaring. His reading and writing skills are growing by leaps and bounds. I love it. There is a huge satisfaction in seeing him learn and knowing it's because of what I'm putting in his little noggin. It's satisfying, but stressful for all the reasons I listed earlier.

I hate that I feel like I have to explain myself to people. In the end, who cares about my kids education more than I do? It's my own fault for giving any weight to what other people think, I guess. It's not that people even try to defend other forms of education, they just put down homeschooling. There are some weirdos out there that claim they are home educators that give the rest of us a bad name, but that's not me. That's not what I'm about.

I'm from the school that the education of my children is my responsibility. Until the system cares about education more than test scores, this is what I'll do. If that means sacrificing every last second of myself to those three boys for the next twelve years, so be it.

I'll have time for coffee with the girls or photography or scrapbooking or reading or showering when they're grown.

I wanted to be a mama. This is putting my heart where my mouth is. Walking the walk.

If you can't tell, this post was a lil pep talk to myself. :) A post to come back to when I'm wanting to throw in the towel.


Brown English Muffin said...

Ahhh Chrissy, Chrissy, Chrissy...I seriously don't know what I'd do if I gave up've always been this little voice inside my seriously you have.

Your post often inspire me to do or not do something...they often give me that little push.

As soon as you don't give a "hoot" what others think, I think homeschooling will breeze on by, at least I hope so.

kimrairdon said...

" Brown English Muffin said...
Ahhh Chrissy, Chrissy, Chrissy...I seriously don't know what I'd do if I gave up've always been this little voice inside my seriously you have."

really...i think you just post that you are thinking of quitting so we comment ;)

the funny thing about your blog...your posts...your links.... i read them...initially think you are crazy (in a loving way of course), then start thinking about them again, then talk to people (strangers it was my hairdresser) about them, then wonder why I didn't think of it all before.. or why I ignored or settled for something else....

although i still haven't jumped on the blogging bandwagon, i think about it daily and get excited about creating the records like you have on here....

Any you have broken the stigma on the whole foods/farmer's market person/personality... you can do the same for homeschooling :)

Anonymous said...

Rock on homeschool Momma! I think I've had just about every feeling you described in this post. If you don't believe me, check out my post where I actually typed out our state laws regarding homeschooling. Yep, I did and it was long and so not worth it. For me, it was my own self-doubt shining through and the "coming out" phase. One of my very good friends (pre-homeschooling) told me my children would turn out like Children of the Corn. I've never seen that movie, but I assume it can't be good and that she would be my sponsor when they drove me to alcoholism. Nice! All this to say, I think we all have those feelings and they may never completely go away. I found a good support group and that has helped. There will always be naysayers and we certainly do not owe them anything. You know your children better than anyone and have their best interest at heart! I remind myself constantly that God gave me these children to raise and I am the one who must answer to that! You are doing a wonderful job!! I love how our lives keep intertwining!

Jude said...

We will miss you SO SO SO much! I am still holding out hope that the training will be cancelled and Sean will rush you to the airport thursday morning. let's go with that ok???

Corey said...

first--don't stop blogging. Please please please. I KNOW that you and I are life-long friends and whether you blog or not, we will always be friends. I got your number, I know where you live. LOL! :P
But yeah, your posts have always encouraged me, inspired me and made me think. YOU HAVE A GIFT. I can not do what you do. You are special, you do have a voice (one that I and many others want to hear) and I'm encouraging you---if you have the time, please, please let us hear it!
Now onto homeschooling....DUDE I know exactly what your going through. I'm still going through it daily. The fact is we're right. NO ONE cares more about our children's education than WE DO. Period. That, right there, makes us 150 times more qualified than ANYONE ELSE to do this job.
I had the same pep-talk with myself the other day. I'm in this 150%. It may be frustrating some days. I may want to pull my hair out. I may end up locking myself in the bathroom for good self pitting cry for a minute. But I WILL NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL.
We can do this! You are doing it. And doing it very well!
On explaining yourself--I think, at least in my case, it will die down after a while. I don't find myself doing it as much as I did in the beginning. Once everyone figures out your not crazy and your not going to change your mind, they stop asking questions or stop making you feel like you need to justify your decision. New people, sure, I do a fair amount of explaining. But I think my confidence has built a little and I don't feel as much like everyone is judging me. You know what I mean? I don't know, but I think it will get better/easier.
You're doing a great job. Feel free to text me, call me, email me any time!!

nicole said...

Going to totally admit to tearing up while reading this...SO wish you were will not be the same without you!!!

(also totally commend you on takes a strong person to take that on...and if anyone can do it, it is you!!)