Well, our life has taken on a huge change this week! We are officially a homeschooling family. My kids got dressed up in their new school clothes (pajama pants) last night in preparation for their first "pajama day" today. They are thrilled to spend a day doing school in pajamas!
Please, please, note that I am not trying to sound like an authority on anything in this post. As you will soon notice, my feelings are all over the place and I'm having a really hard time getting the words out. I know what I'm doing is right for my family, That is all. I'm just going through the struggle of change. HUGE change. and struggle. Also, this post will go private really soon. It's a lot of my personal thoughts and I don't want it to be out publicly on the internet forever.
Ever since my oldest was getting ready for preschool, I have thought about doing this. I even attempted to plan preschool back then with something I found online that didn't work out. I was so stressed figuring out what to do every week. I knew right then that I could not plan or teach lessons. Fast forward to February 2012. My third "graduated" from speech therapy. The only problem with that was that I knew she hadn't made the improvements the test showed she had. She could only say the sounds she had been learning after practicing in speech therapy. So the week after that test the therapist told us she was "over-correcting" her sounds and therefore the test showed that she no longer qualified for therapy. I knew my child though, and saw how she behaved around people who she knew couldn't understand what she was saying, and I knew that sending her to preschool was not going to work out. So I decided to try home school preschool again, with a goal of her being able to say all the sounds appropriate for her age by the time she went to Kindergarten. That went pretty well. Oh, and she started reading too! Sometime during the last school year I started hearing about Common Core, and began following information concerning that. Then towards the end of the school year my husband and I started talking seriously about home school. Suddenly one day it finally felt right, and I finally felt confident that I could do it. My husband was completely on board with the idea, in fact sometimes I think he's more excited about it than I am!
Let me step back a little now and list a few reasons for bringing up Common Core. I have always heard that No Child Left Behind wasn't the great thing it was made out to be. The more that I hear about common core, the more I believe it is even more of a bunch of lies, using children as guinea pigs. It's a facade to make education federally controlled. It's a huge step towards taking away parental rights and instructing children towards world government and socialism, even towards communism, putting them into their place in a workforce from a very young age. Here's a few links:
- Myths vs. Facts
- Common core in 3 minutes
- a 5 part series to understand Common Core
- a quick explanation with dozens of links documenting why common core is more harmful than good
That's just some basic info. If you are bored, check out my Pinterest board. Besides just introducing new standards, our children will have massive amounts of data collected and stored about them (YIKES!).
Now, I'm not against standards. I support standards, I just don't support children being expected to meet certain standards based on their birthday, or on standards that are set up to bring everyone down to lower levels. Occasionally I have watched my kids struggle at school to learn a few things, but because they have to keep up with the class they either think they "just can't do that" or they don't even care to try. They're smart kids, this struggle is rare, but it has a lasting effect. But I know how I feel after getting the impression many times as a child that "I couldn't do math". It's true, numbers aren't my thing, but give me time and I'll figure it out. I don't like that label, and I saw my kids beginning to think they fit a label. So I started hiding report cards...
Besides common core, I have always been concerned about public school, I feel there are better ways for children to learn than what is traditionally done in school. I have noticed a HUGE change in my son's behavior after he comes home from school. He has to have a "detox" period each day. He's got a completely different attitude when he's around his class than when he's around his family. It's almost scary at times. I realize the longer he is at school all day, the more time that attitude becomes normal for him. It's not that he's a trouble maker at school, his teachers say he's great! It's just a boy attitude thing, and competing for dominance is not something someone his age should be worried about. I have noticed he's different around friends who live next door, he still has that funny guy attitude, but he is not disrespectful or overly testosterone-ish in the way he acts at school. (new word! Watch for my dictionary!)
Now, don't read into this too much! It's NOT the school or teachers we are against. We miss our teachers! They are awesome, they really were there for the kids and it showed in their enthusiasm and in all the kids learned. There has only been one teacher who I didn't really mesh with, and it was probably because I didn't get a chance to get to know her very well. My kids have had GREAT teachers!! I do love the school we were at. I absolutely love "our school". I cannon even begin to describe the difficult decision we had to make about leaving it. We were at a very sought after charter school, and the spots our children held cannot be given back to us. I am crying as I type this.. Walking away from our school was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and I hate myself for doing it. Even though I know home school is the best thing for our family right now. I remember how socially awkward I was at the age my oldest daughter is now. I don't know that I ever overcame that, I think it just got worse. I remember being bullied daily in upper elementary. So when I hear my daughter talk about her friends and class that she loves, it breaks my heart to know that I was the one who took her away from that. Yes, she'll make new friends. But her current friends are extremely important, and now she has very little contact with most of them. My youngest, who has never had a close friend yet, just made a new friend over the summer who would have been in her Kindergarten class. She told me it would have been fun to play with him every day. Our charter school would be subject to all that common core is, though I do feel they still have a little freedom in how it is implemented. Every school will be held responsible to more and more as time goes on.
There were two things I didn't like about our school, but they were my own little issues. #1, daily pick-up. I had to come 35 minutes early (think middle of winter...) to get a spot where I could get out and walk around with the two younger kids, or I had to sit with them in the pick-up line and try to keep them entertained for 25+ minutes. NO FUN with a baby who hates her car seat! With my conservative budget I was always paranoid about the gas I was "wasting" if I didn't get a parking spot and had to slowly inch through the line. #2, car seat use. Our school takes a lot of fieldtrips, which we love! I've studied in hopes of one day becoming a car seat tech, and my kids stay in harnesses and boosters much longer than is typical. So we chose to drive on every fieldwork to ensure that our kids seats were installed and used properly. It was that or be the mom who was a pain and wanted to install her kids car seat in someone else's car.. I felt I'd look crazier then! We had a few kids in K and 1st grade who teased my son about riding in a baby seat. We politely explained that a baby seat is a rear facing seat, and my son was safer sitting in a harness than a booster. Especially when I had to keep reminding the other kids to sit back in their seats and not turn around or hang down to the floor... it's not safe for anyone if the driver is constantly asking the kids to sit still! The kids in our classes learned that ours rode in seats and teasing wasn't an issue much after that, but my daughter longed for the day when she wouldn't be the only 10 year old in a booster seat.
I didn't expect to home school in this house. I am having a REALLY hard time because of this. I have dreamed of what our next house will be like from about 3 weeks after we moved into this one. I felt like I was rushed into choosing a home, and I set aside my concerns in order to finally find a place. I have regretted it ever since. But I made plans! My husband's work is far away, so moving closer is logical. We'd move to a home where all the bedrooms are together so I don't have to have all my children in one bedroom or mine. A home that we could have a room for work.. such as homework, or my sewing, sort of an office. We'd have 2 bathrooms that everyone could use, not one that was scary. Depending on the schools in the area, we would home school then. It would be easier to leave our charter school behind because we wouldn't be nearby anymore. The kids would sit in class one day and tell everyone they were moving, and get all the phone numbers and addresses they wanted. Our house is not ideal for home school. Our school room is in the basement, away from the living area. It's nice to have an actual room for it, but it's out of the way and a second thought, so it's not easy to use. And it's crowded. So we've got these stumbling blocks to work through.
Reason #2. Where I dive into religion.
My husband and I have been attempting more regular personal scripture study this year. As part of his calling, we attend the Gospel Principles class at church. We love this class. It has inspired us to dive deeper into some principles and learn more about them. We've also taken a closer look at how we teach the gospel in our home. Sure, it's always been here, and we pray and read scriptures together and hold Family Home Evening, but we are noticing more and more that the world is making some huge gray areas between right and wrong that are becoming acceptable as right. We feel if we don't have a strong foundation at home, it will be too easy for the world to change our minds. We see this happening all around us. I know I have always been naive about many things, but lately I am seeing things I have been blind to in the past and realizing how temptation can be so close and grab loved ones without me knowing. We're still responsible for these little spirits, they're entrusted to our care and I need to do what I can to build their own foundations. This world is headed into some very scary things. I do feel that we could have made a good attempt at this while in public school, but I feel that we can do it better at home, especially at their ages.
As a teen I was never that interested in the second coming and I never had a real knowledge of what the Millennium will be. Very recently we have been studying this in depth, and my goodness.. my dream is to be alive at the second coming of Christ. It sounds like an absolutely terrifying time on the earth, but as we know.. those who are prepared and aware of what is happening will not be scared. I want my children to be well prepared. I want them to have a sure knowledge of the gospel and ability to know what Heavenly Father wants them to be doing. Of course religion is not taught in public school, and I respect that and understand why not all people would like it that way. I do not mean to imply that public school is teaching the wrong things, but I do feel that public school is headed quickly towards teaching those gray areas as good. I have read stories of schools in other states already teaching some things we consider wrong. Federally controlled education (common core or whatever name it is given in 10 years) will devalue family values and parental rights.
I have heard and even had the thought in my own head, that my children can be an example to those around them and spread their light so to speak. I don't even have to try and share my thoughts about this because I think this article sums it up well. Collateral Damage and the Youth of Zion. Yes, please read it. I do want my children to be able to share what they believe and be different because of their actions, but they need to understand their beliefs first and have that strong foundation in place. While our kids are out there, supposed to be a light to others, others are also sharing their beliefs with our kids.
Something I found fascinating was a series of articles called "Education as the Early Prophets Saw it". I found the intro and the first 4 intriguing. A friend introduced me to the Family School about a year ago. Once I finally told my husband about it, we both felt this was something we really needed to implement in our home school. Read my little description there on that Pinterest link.
A friend shared this with me recently. It is found here, beginning on page 107. The church has no official stance on public school or homeschool, just that parents are responsible to make the best decision for their own children. For our family right now, this makes a lot of sense. In a few years, I may feel confident in sending them to public school again, who knows. But for right now, this draws me in.
"The world is opposed to us. They say they are not. Well, would you injure them? No; I would not hurt a hair of their heads or deprive them of any right they enjoy, either religious or political. We want to treat all men kindly and with due respect; but we do not want to be governed by their religious views, nor put our children under their teachings. We want to look after the education of our children and see that they are placed under proper teachers and receive proper training, and not be placed in the hands of the enemies of the Church and kingdom of God. Now brethren if we are Latter-day Saints, let us be consistent with our belief and profession. I profess to be a Latter-day Saint, and I believe in the doctrines that the Lord has revealed to us with all my heart; and I do not care who knows it. Now I am told in the revelations to bring up my children in the fear of God. I believe that this kingdom which the Lord has set up will grow and increase until the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. And this you believe as well as I do. We believe in celestial glory; and we believe in terrestrial and telestial glory; or in other words, we believe there will be a separation finally of the good from the bad. Now we are engaged gathering together, or separating ourselves from the world and building our temples and administering in them for the living and the dead, and we spend millions of dollars in the accomplishment of this object, that we may become united and linked together by eternal covenants that shall exist in all time and through out eternity. And then, when we have done all this go and deliberately turn our children over to whom? To men who do not believe the Gospel, to men who, according to your faith, are never going to the celestial kingdom of God. They will get as big a glory as they are prepared for, but they are not going there. And you will turn your children over to them. And you call yourselves Latter-day Saints, do you? I will suppose a case. You expect to be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. Well, supposing your expectations are realized, which I sometimes doubt, and you look down, down somewhere in a terrestrial or telestial kingdom, as the case may be, and you there see your children, the offspring that God had given you to train up in his fear, to honor him and keep his commandments, and perceive that between you and them there is a great gulf, as represented by the Savior in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And supposing they could converse with you--which, however, they could not do--but if such were the case, what would be their feelings towards you? It would be, Father, Mother, you are to blame for this. I would have been with you if you had not tampered with the principles of life and salvation in permitting me to be decoyed away by false teachers, who taught incorrect principles. And this is the result of it. But then I very much question men and women's getting into the celestial kingdom of God who have no more knowledge about the principles of life and salvation than to go and tamper with the sacred offspring, the principle of life which God intrusted to your care, to thus shuffle it off to imbibe the spirit of unbelief, which leads to destruction and death. I very much doubt in my mind the capability of such people getting there. We had better look after ourselves a little. God has given us light and he expects us to be governed by it." Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, Pg.107 - Pg.108, John Taylor, December 8, 1878.
So, whew. Common core and personal values, as well as parents retaining the right to decide what's appropriate for their children. Wish us luck.