A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a reader and the following is her email and my reply. I waited and saved it for a while to re-read and consider if it was appropriate to post. After careful consideration I believe it might be beneficial to someone. Suprisingly, I found it to be beneficial myself to re-read. LOL!
[From: "Reader" (name protected)= Hi there Shannon! I read your blog and really enjoyed it! I was wondering if you and your husband have found a job as a principal yet. I was really interested when I found your blog because my husband is a teacher as well. We are hoping for a baby soon, whenever the Lord decides! (thats a whole other topic for another time) I was homeschooled and had a mostly positive experience. I loved spending so much time with my family and I believe that my sisters would not be my best friends if it wasn't for all we went through together. I also enjoyed learning at my own pace and learning things I was interested in. I have so many precious memories from being homeschooled. Fortunately, my husband is very supportive of the idea of homeschooling, but we are both concerned how it will affect his career. He is starting his masters this summer and plans to pursue getting his principal papers as well. Brian, my dear husband, thrives in the school environment. He loves what he does and enjoys going to work each day. We don't want him to have to change careers if at all possible. But the big question is who is going to hire a principal whose own kids are not taught at school? We firmly believe that homeschooling our children at least while they are in the early years is so important. But with him starting his masters this summer, we are really looking closely at all this and trying to discern what the Lord would have for us. Any advice would be most welcome! Thank you for your time, "Reader" (name protected)
Me= Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I wanted to clear my head somewhat before trying to advise you in any way or share my thoughts with you. First, I am a new to homeschooling and pulled my kids out of public school in November. It has been a rocky beginning. Much of that I believe is because I was schooled through public school and up until now my kids have been. You just get this "programming" of how things are done that you have to break out of. The wonderful thing for you is that if you grew up homeschooled then you would not have to "de-program" your way of thinking. It is much like many other things in life... If you grow up being screamed at you will often scream at your kids.... being spanked then, you will spank... being hugged then, you will hug .... It is difficult to CHANGE. So, we are working on that "de-programming" and the kids and I realizing that it is OK to do things "different".... different is not wrong, it is only different! A simple example is that the first couple of weeks my kids would ask to go to the bathroom. I would tell them you do not have to wait, just go, and come right back. My older one was in school Pre-K through now (3 1/4 years), so when she does not understand she just sits there. I try to tell her to just ask me what she needs to, but she is so used to "waiting her turn" at school (and sometimes the teachers do not have time to help). For those reasons I would have to tell you that if you want to teach your kids I think it is best to start them out from the beginning. Once they get "programmed" it is hard to change. They are almost like little robots ... waiting in lines, waiting "their" turn, being given "busy" work, not getting really socialized, taught to eat fast, taught to not have conversations with others, etc. I am not saying public school is all bad, but I think they are just used to having to deal with a lot of kids. They have to do all that stuff to have order.
Anyway, I am rambling... about the "not getting really socialized" in PUBLIC school that I mentioned above. The biggest question you will ever hear if you homeschool is how are your kids going to get socialized. I admit it was my biggest concern, too. In public school they really do not socialize like the older generations did. I am 36 and when I was kid there was quite a bit of socialization going on. Now the kids usually are not allowed to speak at lunch time or in class. At recess they can, but there is very little supervision by teachers. They might have two people watching over 50-75 kids at recess and there is just no way to really do that properly. My daughter would come home and say, "My best friend said she is not playing with me." or "I don't want to play with you." Her heart would be broken and no one would intervene, because the teachers would easily not know about it. If this were happening at home we would immediately tell them that we do not want them to say those types of things. We would guide them socially. At school who can you depend on to do that for you?!
As far as how homeschooling affects us.... My husband has had his Master's for 1 1/2 years now and has not gotten the job he wants. We are quite particular I have to say, because we are wanting him to have a short commute still. We just started homeschooling, so that has had nothing to do with it, yet. In the future it may stand in the way of a Principal position. I would say that it is best to be supportive of public school. Let the people you talk to know that you are supportive of public school and do not think homeschooling is for everyone. I personally feel that public school is necessary, because most people today are not willing to make the sacrifices that they would have to make. Not everyone can teach or has the ability to teach. You would likely have a society full of illiterates if everyone homeschooled, which is why public school came to be. I am not saying that homeschool turns out illiterates... not at all. What I mean is that some people are really not bright at all and how would they teach their kids... imagine if they can't read or write, then how would they teach their child. We need public schools. On the other hand if you are able and can educate your kids and enjoy them, then why do it any other way?!
I think God has been working on me on this issue for a while... like a bad whisper in my ear saying, "Shannon, you should consider homeschool." I have brushed it to the side... tried to ignore it... thought it was a crazy notion. I have to be honest and say that when I made the decision to homeschool it was not because I was really listening to God. I did it to try to gain some sanity in my crazy life. I did search my Bible looking for proof that God would want me to do it, but I came up empty and I think that is because God knew I would not truly be listening to Him anyway. Notice I said I "searched my Bible". I did not say that I prayed about it, did I? So, one day I am talking to a friend and I tell her that I am having these "crazy thoughts" and have been thinking a lot about homeschooling the kids and she said, "Well, pray about it." So, a couple days later I call her and I say, "Well, I have to tell you that the reason I have not prayed about it is that I think will not like the answer. I think if I pray about it God is going to tell me to do it." That essentially is when I knew I would need to listen to God and homeschool my kids. I still did not pray diligently about it, but rather prayed just enough that God could begin to work on me and I decided to do it. I know it is what God would have me to do, but I have a long way to go! It is scary for me, but it is getting less scary. I am understanding that God's timing is soooo very different than the time on a clock. Almost overnight when I was ready to receive it God started pouring out proof to me that I should teach my children and not let others do it. I have gained a mental knowledge in just moments of time that I would have thought would take me years to really get. Suddenly, I am thinking why did I not see this when I "searched my Bible".... God reveals things to use in His timing and when we need it, when we are truly receptive, and when He wants us to have it. Even writing this now I am realizing that God is really using you to "talk to myself" and I am realizing that I need to wake up everyday and start it with praying about how he wants me to handle my homeschooling day and stop trying to "just do it my way or by the books".
I truly hope some of this is helpful to you. Also, if you start out homeschooling let me encourage you to do it all the way through the upper level. Why shelter and protect them and then throw them into that atmosphere when they are older. It would be like tending sheep and then, suddenly one day throwing them into the lion's den. Why go through the trouble of guarding their minds only to throw them into a situation that would potentially poison their minds. My husband teaches 7th grade English and loves it, but they have caught students having "relations" (s--) in the gym dressing rooms or restrooms. They have pregnant students or ones that think they might be. Just a couple weeks ago a substitute teacher was arrested at the school for his involvement in filming another adult with a minor (fortunately, not at the school). Teachers are sometimes not mentally "able" themselves and are at the schools teaching and yelling at the kids. The older years are very dangerous to their minds and they are exposed to innapropriate things by their peers.
I am closing ... I am sure there is more to say, but feel free to ask me more questions. I might actually post this in my blog in the future. I will not use your name, so do not worry about that. I am thinking that others might benefit from this, as well.]