I have had many people ask me lately why we suddenly chose homeschooling after using public schools for the past 15 years. So, I thought I would share this part of our journey here.
Mya came home from Guatemala shortly before her 4th birthday. Basically we had a year and a half with her at home all day to build a solid, strong bond. While I know there is no way to determine how long a true bond can take, in my book that was not long enough.
When Mya began Kindergarten in the public school system she seemed to be doing wonderful. Every teacher told me how bright she was and how much all of the children liked her. Everything appeared to be going well- from the outside at least. But as her mother- I began to notice something quite different.
Out of respect for my children I will not share every detail of their story- because it is theirs to decide when and if to share. But what I will tell you is that in Mya's past there was pain, there was hurt, and there are deep scars that effect her self esteem daily.
In the classroom setting everyone saw Mya as the perfect child. Her peers loved her- because she was a master at knowing how to make people like her. All of the teachers and staff loved her because she went out of her way to please them. You see, she had learned how to survive and she had learned how to please- at all cost. She had learned how to behave to cause the least amount of anger. She had learned that by performing well others were happy with you, others like you- and they wouldn't walk away from you. She had learned how to play the part.
But on the inside those deep, painful scars remained...
By first grade the pressure started to effect other areas of her life. What we came to realize was that we were basically sending Mya off to school where she would spend 7 hours of her day exhausting herself trying to find her worth in everyone elses eyes. She often couldn't stay focused on learning because all of her effort went into trying to gain others approval-making sure everyone else thought she was good enough, funny enough, smart enough, or worthy enough.
Our decision to homeschool was determined through much prayer and much council from others. While we definitely had an attachment, it wasn't quite where it could have been and we needed to focus on that. Secondly, we wanted her to find her worth not in others eyes but through the eyes of the one who created her.
I have nothing at all against public schools. As I have stated before- our school system where we live is wonderful, as are the teachers. Many of them I consider friends. Having said that- in a public school, with a classroom full of students with many different needs- it is hard for one teacher to meet every need of every child. They are there to teach our children and they were doing their job. What Mya was lacking was a sense of security, trust, self esteem and value. We did not feel that it was her teachers job to provide that. Those things we felt had to come from her family.
At one point during trying to decide whether or not to homeschool a wise friend said to me "Amy, if your child is 18 years old and a whiz at math- but is broken, lost and hurting inside- would that do anyone any good? Or if your child is 18 years old and not the best at math but is a secure, happy, whole person with integrity and character-would you be okay with that?" I knew right then and there what our decision would be.
Skipping ahead several months now I have to say that I can laugh at how afraid I was to try homeschooling. It has been such a blessing to my family. Is it a lot of work? Um, yes-big time. But it is so worth every single second of it. While I still have no clue if I am doing everything 'right' -to be able to see my beautiful girl discover who she really is has been priceless. And on those days when her scars rear their ugly head- I now have the flexibility to sit down with her, listen to her concerns and walk with her through those dark places that once haunted her dreams.
I do not claim to be an expert of any kind and I realize that every child has different needs. I will even say I have heard some people suggest that putting children with attachment issues in public school is best. But regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the needs- I believe with my entire heart that when you adopt a child from a hard place you have to be ready, and be willing, you have to give or give up whatever it takes for them to become healthy, secure and all that God intended for them to be.
You have to do for them what the Lord did for us- love us as we are, see us as we can be- and give it all.