"I couldn't do that!"
"Better you than me..."
"If he doesn't get a proper education, the only person you can blame is yourself."
"It takes a lot of discipline, and we're not really known for that."
Now that the decision to homeschool Andrew has been made, it seems like all the negative comments are pouring in.
Guys, let me just say that I've been praying like crazy for God to slam this door shut. The comments I've gotten are nothing I haven't said to myself. I know I'm not the most disciplined person in the world. I know taking on sole responsibility for Andrew's education is risky. I know it's not going to be easy.
I also know that there's immense Christian homeschool support available to me. I'm not perfect, I'm gonna stumble a few times. But I've got wonderful women here to pick me up, dust me off, and point me in the right direction.
I also know that homeschooling for kindergarten is not the same as homeschooling a 10th grade curriculum. The structure element is not the same. We will be using workbooks at a K and 1st grade level so I can be fairly confident that he stays challenged. Life skills are also important, and there's plenty of education to be had at the grocery store, walking through a nature center, cooking at home. And, at the end of the year, Andrew needs to be able to pass a test *that he can probably pass if taken today*
I also know what it's like to have my kid labeled. Andrew was on an IEP for his two years of preschool for attention issues. Hypothetically, I send him to kindergarten. Where they're reaching the lowest common denominator. He gets bored. Fidgety. Starts being "disruptive". My child was just released from his IEP in May, he doesn't need to be labeled again.
I also know that I look forward to being responsible for his education. Raising my hand here, I'm a product of the school system. Even the Christian school system. I'm not impressed with either. And, from what I understand, homeschooled kids are in demand in colleges these days. And why not? They've been educated in the fullest sense of the word. If they didn't understand something, school didn't pass them by. If they're advanced, school didn't dumb them down or leave them bored. They're for the most part disciplined and self-motivating. What school/college/future employer wouldn't want that?
I also know that I love my son fiercely, and want what's best for him. His education is paramount to me. And if that means that I have to make structure a habit, well, I'm gonna pull up my big girl panties and make it happen. When it comes to mandatory things, like clocking in at work, the OCD in me kicks into high gear and discipline abounds. We'll be okay in that area.
And, for those concerned about the socialization aspect, Andrew's calendar is already pretty full. Karate twice a week, AWANAS every Wednesday, Sunday School, McCHEO-sponsored gym classes/art classes/science classes, we've got annual passes to Boonshoft - we'll be lucky if we have a full day at home.
I hope everyone understands this is not a decision I took lightly. More than anyone, I was looking forward to the "me time" while someone else took responsibility for my son's future. I thank God that He used that math problem to open my eyes and see that this is an option and we need to explore it. He led me to my friend Amy, who led me to Kim, who is the county coordinator for Christian homeschool and a mom who just had her last daughter graduate from homeschooling. Anita has passed me email addresses for her son and his wife, perfect strangers, yet people who are doing it and look forward to helping someone else. Fellow Grace Baptist members, Madonna, Margie, women I'm not close to, but have still reached out in support. Even Jeanne, Andrew's substitute grandma and a woman just retired from the public school system, had nothing but encouragement for this decision.
Everywhere I've turned, homeschool moms are crawling out of the woodwork. And not one of them said, "I wish I hadn't."
I won't be the one to say "I wish I had."