Thursday, September 10, 2009

A New Chapter

I am no longer a homeschooling mom. Big sigh inserted here. I loved homeschooling and I truly believed in it. But, the reality was that I started struggling having three children all working at different levels and rates. And when I added a toddler who was getting very little attention from me, and knowing I would be adding an adopted son...well, I just became overwhelmed.

There was a lot of prayer about putting the kids in public school. I had been advocating against public schools for so long, and even my oldest questioned how I could so drastically change my tune after so many years. But, I truly believed God was telling me to let them go. Go to school, that is.

Homeschooling is amazing and my kids thrived academically. But, they were isolated. They hung out with other homeschooled kids, most of whom were Christians. Trust me, there is NOTHING wrong with surrounding your kids with Christian families who love each other and spend a lot of time together...but some of my kids were starting to resent the uniformity of everyone they were meeting. They longed for variety.

So, I read Going Public and felt God was calling OUR family to get back into the public school system. This meant, not only the children, but the also me. God has been clear that I get involved in the classroom as much as I can, and also to be involved with any sort of parent group there may be.

Believe me, I have heard every argument on every side! I believe this...God calls ALL of us to different things at different times. For six years, He wanted me to homeschool my children. Now, He is asking me to get into the system and be light. I know this from the bottom of my heart, that the Weldie family is supposed to shine in the schools.

Now that we are back in, and we are one of about..well, none, families with an adopted Ethiopian child, EVERYONE knows us! I dropped off George at Awana last night and the teacher said, "Oh, I've heard of you!" But, that means people are watching us...closely.

At church on Sunday, we were confronted with the challenge to BE CHRIST to a hurting world around us. My three older children listened intently and they realize that now, more than ever before, they have the opportunity to BE CHRIST in their schools. I love that my kids are now thinking about how to love their teachers and classmates with Christ's love.

But at what sacrifice? I feel that I have sacrificed a few things...their education and our closeness. I am going to say it...public schools dumb down education. Before you get upset, I was a public school teacher and trust me! Even the BEST teachers out there have to dumb down the curriculum in order to suite the average students. You try to challenge the more gifted students, but at the same time you need to encourage and really work with the challenged students. My kids are coming home frustrated...they already know everything they are being taught right now. They are frustrated with disruptions in the classroom (they only had to deal with a baby brother before). They get frustrated with endless worksheets, even if they know the material. Also, I used to spend all my time with my kids! And that is a good thing...we were close and we talked about everything openly. Who says you should start scaling back your influence or time with your children when that child hits 5 years old! I mean seriously, five?

I found out this morning that Harry is being put in the Gifted and Talented program. Isabel is too young, but will be put in next year. Fine...and maybe this is where God is asking me to get more involved as the G&T is led by parents. I'm sure more is come about this in the future.

So, I am sad about what I have lost, but I have to admit that for the most part, my kids are very happy! Harry is in Lego League (with a bunch of 8th graders!), and his classmates have a flag football team. Isabel is playing soccer. Eleanor auditioned for and made the show choir. And George is learning!!

George came home with his first worksheet...he had written his first and last name, circled a sentence (and even read it to Joe that night!) and wrote two words (ran and can). I did not expect that after one week George would be able to do any of that! Eleanor is making friends. Harry is loving art. Isabel is proving to be quite the driven student (she was so upset that she was not chosen the STAR student of the week - even though she was chosen to be the student reporter last week on a note that went home to all the parents AND she was chose to be the first student reader).

Here, again, is where I am reminded that my children are NOT MINE....THEY ARE THE LORDS. And God has asked me to send them into the schools. I continue to wonder why. But, I am trusting God and in His ability to protect them. My job is to continue to guide them in their way. We start our day reading 5 Psalms and 1 chapter in Proverbs...and then I send them on their way. I have to say a prayer each time they get on the bus saying, "Lord, you asked me to do this after years of home schooling my kids. I am not sure why, but I am going to trust you today."

This is truly a new chapter in my life. Our days are totally different now and I don't always know everything my kids are learning. But what is the same is my love and devotion to them, and the importance to teaching them about Christ. I don't know what God has in store for any of my kids...I am sure it is beyond my imagination right now, but I am positive that this year is all part of shaping who they are today to prepare them for who they will be in ten years.

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