Saturday, July 14, 2018

Going Public

The Firstborn is shopping for a truck.  He turns 16 in February and has been working hard to build a decent nest egg.  He's searched the Google exploring his options and, after hours of browsing, has narrowed it down to a black, V6, 5 speed, crew cab under 150K miles for dirt cheap.

Piece of cake.

Unfortunately (and not so surprising to those of us who reside in the real world) car lots, Craigslist, and FB Marketplace all appear to be sold out of that particular model.  So, as we have been continually hunting for this perfect ride, I have tried to *subtly* encourage him to adjust his requirements.  Possibly open himself up to the color red or, dare I say it, an automatic transmission!! Because in the end it doesn't matter.  It's a truck.  If it gets you from Point A to Point B in one piece, I would consider it a good buy.  So just pick something and drive already!

But he is determined.  It's his first truck and he wants it to be just like he's envisioning in his mind. Perfect.  The best.  

And I get it. 

As I see him wrestling through this,  I am reminded that as a mother I have had the exact same mindset when it comes to so many of the decisions I have made concerning my family:

                      Breast or bottle?
                                                                    Work or stay at home?

                                                  Cloth or disposable?                                           

          Children's Church or family worship?

                                                           Organic or Cheetos?


Can I get a witness?  Anybody else out there lose some sleep trying to navigate these waters?  

As I mature, I have stumbled upon a philosophy of parenting in regards to decision making that fits my temperament the best and also seems to be in step with Scripture.  

Ready for it?  Here goes: 

It. Doesn't. Matter.

It doesn't matter if you breast of bottle feed....just feed them however they best receive it.

It doesn't matter if you work or stay at home....just love your kids and Proverbs 31 the heck fire out of managing your family.

It doesn't matter where you are on the organic spectrum.  Just pick a conviction within your financial means and own it. 

It just doesn't matter.

In the book of Colossians, Paul is writing to a young church.  These guys were confused.  Their church consisted of people who grew up Jewish, with all their religious traditions, as well as those brought up in the Roman culture of pagan worship and mysticism.  To say there was some theological baggage would be an understatement. 

Paul does a great job laying out for them some truth by covering the essentials of the faith.  Then he goes on to encourage these folks on what the cadence of the Christian walk should look like....the things that every Christian should possess and be known for.

My Type A self loves a good list and this one Paul writes in Colossians 3 is an epic one.  Paul systematically lays out a "to-do" list that focuses not on religious practices, but on their hearts.  He pinpoints sin that we should be passionate to purge from our heart and zeros in on exactly the type of characteristics we should be desiring.  He speaks of humility and patience, kindness and forgiveness.  

Finally, he ends the chapter with these words: 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col 3:17

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people,
Col 3:23

Do you see the graciousness in all of it?  His parameters for a godly life are wide open.  He doesn't mandate the stay at home mom.  He doesn't gluten-shame bread lovers.  Paul is reminding us that Jesus cares about WHO WE ARE more than what we do.  When the heart of who we are is in alignment with God's, what we do will be in alignment with His desires for us.

And that guidance is how my family has come to decide to enter into public school this next year.  

I have absolutely loved being able to home school them the past 11 years.  I have had the biggest time getting to watch these clowns grow up and develop into wise and gracious people.  I would encourage everyone who has the desire and ability to be home with their kids to try it.  I've loved it.  It's basically like the Amazing Race on Bible steroids, with no cash prizes at the end and a little more cussing. 

But this is a new year with new family dynamics.  And after a ton of prayer and family discussions, we felt the doors were opening for us to try this new adventure.  

Because, again, we feel it doesn't matter.  Public education, private, Christian, homeschool, online.....it will be ok.  Just love your kids.  Pray for them.  Find the spot that best helps them flourish and go for it.  

I am so excited for my kids.  So ready to cheer for them as they step out to try new things.  But oh so sad.  I'm going to miss these yahoos like crazy.  They have filled up my days with so much goodness.  I'll miss my kitchen table being the cafeteria and the footsteps of recess being played throughout the halls of our home.  I'll remember with great fondness and thankfulness that their letters and phonics were learned in my lap in our rocking chair.  We learned so much together about love and life.  They have taught me well.

So here goes.  A new journey for a new school year.  This is us going public.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Airing Homeschool Laundry

Do you all get sick of me airing our homeschool laundry all the time? When I do I try to be transparent, highlighting the moments of nonsense and utilitizing self-deprecating humor to poke fun at all the crazy (sometimes accurate) stereotypes of the homeschool culture (is that even a thing?). I don't ever for a minute want to give the appearance that we have it all together or that we are in any way superior because we have chosen this avenue as the means to educate our children.

This year I suffered several defeats. Some personal, some more public. Each of them leaving some battle scars. One of them was this push I was making to get a bill passed that would allow my kiddos to play for their district's sports teams. It's a whole big thing and I'm not going into the details of it now, but after months of work, when we were just at the finish line with the thing, it went south. Lawmakers chose not to vote on it.

During those months of work petitioning lawmakers and tweeting tweets and posting appeals to the common man on FB, I heard lots of things about us homeschoolers that I didn't know. I typically learned them from people who didn't homeschool. I learned we don't get up until lunch, we don't have televisions, and that the Honey and I are behind in planning the arranged marriages for our children. While I am the first to crack jokes about the idiosyncracies of homeschool, the one thing I heard about us that I can't joke about is that so many of you think we homeschool because we think we're superior to public education.


Let me say right here, right now, that I love public educators. I am a sister to one, a friend to many. I talk with administrators and educators every week at church and at the ball field. I hear their hearts for their students and community. I see their posts praising their students' hard work and achievements and listen as they tell stories of kids' coming to school hungry or hurting or helpless. Educators are more than teachers. They're advocates. They're cheerleaders, guidance counselors, soldiers on the front lines for our community's children. I love our public educators. We need you. We are thankful for our. This homeschool family is especially thankful for you.

People often ask why we chose to homeschool. The answer is layered. There are logistical benefits for us. The Honey travels a lot with work and homeschooling allows us to travel with him some. The Honey and I also share a philosphy that we aren't fans of seeing the kids tied to a desk for the majority of their day. We love seeing them play basketball during the middle of the day, or that we get to have them tag along if we have to work the cows in the morning. Now that the kids are older, they're even able to work some odd jobs here and there that they wouldn't get to do easily otherwise. There really is a lot of convenience to educating your kids at home.

But here is the main reason: I like it. Really. I genuinely just enjoy teaching my kids. You hear all the time from people who excel in their fields that they just found what they enjoyed doing and pursued it. That's all I'm doing. I get butterflies learning along with my kids about European geography and inertia and latin conjugations. I'm redeeming my own education, those years I spent passing notes and making those paper fortune tellers, in the process. I like figuring out their learning styles and adjusting how I teach to aid in making them more successful. I love how we get to make lunch together. I love how we get to do life together.

Of course, there are a thousand things that are difficult or aggravating about it, just like any other job. But that is a post for another day. The point is, we don't homeschool because we feel like we have all the answers or because we look down on the other options. We just do it because....that's what we do.

What about you guys? Homeschool moms....why are you doing what you're doing? Mamas of littles going to your community's school....what are you loving about your kids' teachers? Working moms...how did you get started in your line of work?