Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Homeschooled, Un-Socialized, Cloistered Kids Are Running Me Silly

Can I just tell you how blessed I am?


It really just hit me as I was typing a response to an “E-vite” and having to say “maybe” to a Girls Night Out party this Friday. Not only is it amazing to me that I have friends who send me E-vites because they actually want to spend time with me, AND that I want to spend time with them – but, I have to say “maybe” because I’ll be on an all-day field trip with my sons. Yes, my home schooled, “un-socialized,” “cloistered” sons!

Between the home school ice skating day, the Tuesday and Thursday night soccer practices, the insane turn-around for Thursday night youth group, the monthly “Friday Night at the Blue Light” youth events, the Monday and Friday afternoon Martial Arts classes, the field trips, the Wednesday morning classes at COMPASS Arts (guitar and drawing) and their Wednesday afternoon classes at The Master’s Academy of Fine Arts (Art, Music, Drama and History), I barely have time to gas up the mini-van (yes, I know… mini van… what can I say?) And that’s not to mention the play dates – and, whatever you call it when your kid is 16 and is having a “play date” but you can’t call it a “play date” because they’re “too old for that.”

It warms my belly (with stifled laughter) when I tell folks that we home school and their first reaction is, “Don’t you worry about their socialization?” Have they MET my kids? I’ve not seen more social people anywhere – certainly not the teens I see hanging around the neighborhood, or that I hear screaming at their moms at the store! My kids – all three of them – can easily and appropriately (mostly) have a conversation with virtually anyone: adult, child or peer.

The other day, at one of the home school events, a home schooling friend of mine was telling me that someone said that her children are not “normal” because they’re home schooled. I thought – out loud, actually – NORMAL??? If the kids I see around are normal, I’m GLAD my kids aren’t “normal!” We aim for better than “normal!” I am blessed to be able to help mold my children into people of integrity. People who see the world through eyes of compassion, who understand the relevance of the Scripture in their daily lives and aren’t ashamed to live it (not perfectly, granted). I’m blessed with the ability to be with my children as they work through issues. As they begin to mull things over in their minds and to be able to step in, if necessary. If it’s called for, I can take my son out to the coffee house in the middle of the day and help him see through a difficult situation – no shouting, no accusations – just mom and son working through something. How awesome is that?

It’s actually a family joke with us. One of the kids will do something peculiar – could be anything – and I’ll say, “You’re so weird!” The reply is always, “I got in the right family!”

When we decided to home school I had no idea the amazing resources that are available! It runs the gamut from resources to help Annie to arts classes and field trips for the boys to support from other home school moms.

When we decided to home school Annie – which was about three days before she was set to start PS – we did so because we’d stumbled upon a wealth of information and hope for her “special needs.” We have discovered that we can tailor the curriculum and the school day to meet her needs – which I am discovering are no more or less “special” than any other child’s needs! I just wish that every mom could have the awesome experience of schooling her children! To see Annie’s face light up when she reads a word, or gets a Math problem right, or learns something new. To see her face sort of “screw up” in confusion about a new topic and then hear her work it out as she begins to talk about it. To know that she’s right on target for HER – not just for some list of standards (although, we do mind the standards and keep aware of where she stands in relation to them).

Of course, it’s especially easy to write about this right now, because all three kids are at The Master’s Academy of Fine Arts for four and a half hours! And, don’t get me wrong, there are days when I don’t feel this way, at least for a few minutes. But, that’s another entry. Today I wasn’t to focus on how blessed I am to be able to home school my kids.

"The only thing that interferes with my education is my schooling" -- Albert Einstein

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