Thursday, November 04, 2010

Homeschooling, special needs, preschool and punching friends

I have a lot on my plate. (And if I ever forget this, I'm sure a stranger will remind me that I "sure have my hands full" next time I go to Costco). This is our fourth year of homeschooling. Last year was the first year that I really felt like we hit our stride. Of course, having Leah right at the beginning of this school year kind of threw a wrench into the works, but we are slowly getting back on track.

Our oldest son, Nate, is dyslexic. He is 10 and reads on a first grade level. For the first two years that we homeschooled (and the year he went to public K) I beat my head against the wall trying to teach him to read. We tried so many curriculums and strategies. Finally, last year he was tested at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and diagnosed with dyslexia. Since then we have made a lot of progress towards reading well. But Nate still needs a lot of help.

Abigail shows some of the same tendencies that Nate did at that age. After over a year of phonics instruction she still does not recognize all of her letters. So I anticipate that she may need reading help as well.

Our two little boys, Luke and Gabe, both have severe speech delays. (Can I tell you how much I cried when Gabriel finally said, "I love you, Mama" for the first time last week?) They attend walk-in speech therapy at the local public school twice a week, but it was recommended that Gabe attend full time speech preschool.

There's only one me. And with a new baby, I am limited. So we made the prayerful decision to enroll Luke and Gabe in preschool two days a week. It will help with their speech issues and give me more time to intensely focus on schooling the older three, especially Nate and Abby.

But do you know what some of my homeschooling friends said? They were appalled that we would send our babies away. Even for 10 hrs a week. "If God wanted our babies to be put in school they would be born in classrooms instead of families," one of them sniffed. And I wanted to punch the stupid out of her. In Christian love, of course.

You see, Philip and I are homeschooling right now because we have prayed and believe it is the best thing for our family and our children. But that may change later. Some of our kids may go to private school or even (gasp) public school. It depends on what God tells us each child needs.

Because we are not disciples of the homeschool movement.

We are disciples of Christ. And our educational goals for our children are simple. We want them to be well-rounded, well-read, capable servants of Christ who have the skills they need to succeed at the calling He has placed on their lives. Homeschooling is not the goal, it is the method that we are using right now on our path to raising our little ones to love and serve Him.


Rachel said...

Your kids will only thrive in the environment God calls you to put them in. If your friend knew best she would have gotten to push them out! You were created to be your kids' mom and nobody else. Kind of funny how He picks the right environment.

Megan said...

We are homeschooling for the same reasons as you--so that our kids will be well-rounded, well-read kids who grow up to serve our Lord with all their hearts, who know Him and will make Him known. One of my closest friends sends her boys to a local Christian school--that is what they believe they were called to do, just as we believe we were called to homeschool for this season. It really is an unfortunate thing when people view homeschooling as a sort of clique and frown upon any choice other than homeschooling. As one of your hot-headed friends, I would have been tempted to punch that person for you! :) Do you and Philip have peace sending Luke and Gabe "away" for speech school? If so, that's great, and I applaud you for listening to the Lord! Are the boys growing in their abilities? Is your educational time with your other children a little more productive during that time? Then I say kudos to you! There is nothing wrong with the approach you're taking. Everyone is learning, everyone is growing, and your boys won't grow up to be "heathens" because you "sent them away." :) What matters here is obedience--obedience to the Father, not obedience to man's standards or list of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts." Keep up the good work!

Erin said...

Well said, Tamara! It seems like in many "movements" such as homeschooling, people lose sight of what the REAL gospel is - they start to believe their particular convictions are the gospel instead.

Terra said...

It doesn't end does it? If they can't criticize you for how you had your children, where you had your children, how you fed them and what kind of diapers caught their pee and poop; they now have to focus on your educational choices for your kids. God has called YOU to parent them and gives you the wisdom to do what's best for them. PTL that we have more choices in education then our parents did. We can homeschool, charter school, private school and public school all based on what we think is best for OUR kids. Just as there are many good ways to have a child there are many good ways to educate said child. :) I applaud your self-discipline in not slapping her silly. See God is teaching you too! :)

Janet said...

First of all, I'm glad you are back :) Second, your title made me crack up before I even read your post. Third, if we as Christians put half the energy we put into judging each other into reaching our world with compassion and love we could change the world! Hang in there, Mama :)

Amber Rain said...

Hang in there. If you're praying and seeking God, He promises to keep your feet from stumbling and in His will and purpose for you and your kids' lives. Maybe your Christian friends need to be reminded of that. Judgementalism just bugs me. (And yes I do believe I made that one up, regular ol' Shakespeare of my time...) ;-p And yay for Gabe. What a sweet assurance from the Lord that he's where he needs to be.

Heather said...

Punch the stupid out of her...I almost spit out my coffee. :) There certainly is no shortage of that in this world, is there?? I'm in a bit of a different boat. I wanted to homeschool SO badly but when we took it to the Lord, we heard a resounding NOT NOW. For now, the best environment for Reagan (the only one of school age) is in a school building. She has definitely thrived. This is not to say that we don't do learning at home! I think every parent is a teacher (good and bad...). I will be praying for all your challenges. I know your children are blessed to have you!