Monday, October 25, 2010

Why homeschooling


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.
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32 comments:

kristine said...

This was very beautiful to read. I do not homeschool but I believe you know your own child best. There is no one path that suits all children.

How wonderful that you are able to listen deeply to her needs and provide what is most essential.

Mandie said...

I wish so much that I could homeschool my kids. Although they are in preschool right now I know that being in a school setting was not right for our daughter. We were blessed with my sister moving close to us and she now cares for our kids.

I can not even begin to describe the almost instant change in our daughter once we removed her from preschool.

Praying that we will find a way to get me in the home with our kids.

Dardi said...

I just told another new adoptive mama that there are all kinds of "how-to" books "with all the answers", but the bottom line is, we each know our children's needs better than anyone else & we have to trust that God-given maternal instinct. Proud of you for trusting your gut & going for it!

Rachel said...

Great post and I'm glad you were able to identify Mya's needs and meet them. Question . . . are you homeschooling everyone or just Mya?

Amy said...

Hi Rachel- we are homeschooling Mya and Aleigha. Next year we will also homeschool Kaden and Carson. Our older children are still in public school.

Difference2This1 said...

Thank you for posting this. We have one child who sounds very much like Mya. We feel the day may come when she needs to leave public school for the reasons you describe ...it feels like He's saying "not yet", but "start preparing". I am very interested in your comment above....how do you balance some schooling at home/some at a school? How do you help the ones not with you all day to not feel jealous of your time with the ones homeschooling? God bless, Jennifer

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Amy, what an awesome post. I can't imagine our hurt children being in public school and thriving.

I'm not sure how a child can ever truly know their self worth in Christ if they are being told their worth to the world more hours each day.

So many say homeschooling is not for them. So many say adopting is not for them. So many say helping bring clean water and food to 3rd world countries is not for them.

Where does Jesus fit in and what He has done for each of us? I ponder this often...

Praying for hearts to be touched by your sharing HIS-tory in your home and heart!

Our one daughter from Guatemala sounds so much like Mya! I often feel like you are writing about her.

Praying for our girls! Praying for us to be all that God is asking of us to shower them with His healing mercy, grace and love!

Hugs sweet friend,
Jill

Danell said...

My absolute favorite thing about this post is that your number one concern is what is best for your kids. Yay for you that you get to see each incredible step of your kids' journey to adulthood for yourself!

Jillienne said...

Thank you so much for this post. I think almost daily about homeschooling but haven't taken the leap yet. It weighs on me to make the "right" decision so instead I do nothing. Thank you for making me think again.

Jillienne

Amy said...

Hi Jennifer- we gave our older children the option of homeschool or public school but they enjoy public school and do very well there. They are confident and secure in who they are and they excell in school. As for being jealous of not having the same amount of time with us-our older children understand and respect that each person in our home will have different needs and they are okay with that. We work very hard to give each child one on one time and they know they are all equally valued and loved. :)We truly haven't had an issues or problems in this area thus far.

Andrea H. said...

Amy I am proud of you for having started the homeschooling. I know that was very unselfish on your part too. I cannot wait to throw in the towel when I quit working. Every night I have little factory workers sitting here doing school work for almost 2 hours after having been in school all day. After bathing and reading for 30 min there is zero time left for anything else. There is just so much family time wasted when you are sending your kids to public school. I am not here to rank on anyone I am just saying this is surely what I would do.

Sophie said...

How beautiful and fortunate is Mya that her parent's understand her needs and what she requires to grow in more ways than just academically.

I've struggled with the decision of home schooling my daughter and there are days, like today for instance, that I really felt I wouldn't be able to pull it off. And then you and another amazing blogger did a post on home schooling and I feel so encouraged. Thank you.

SassyAgapi said...

i was actually homeschooled for a few years & i really liked it, i also found it eliminated a lot of stress & i would consider it for my children depending on what they wanted.

alicia said...

Thank you for posting! We homeschool and adopted and have many people who think that we are crazy! But when I see my kids work out their stuff with me (and I end up working out the stuff that God does not want in my life), then I know that what we are doing is heavenbound and not necessarily Harvard bound.

Jen said...

"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."

Love this!

We homeschool too and totally believe it is INCREDIBLY helpful to our children's needs.

One thing that has been extremely helpful to me (when we began homeschooling years ago, but also recently as a reminder about not making my days just a "public school model at home") are the writings of Charlotte Mason. Her original writings are available for free at amblesideonline.org. They have been (helpfully) updated into modern English. The first book is really great help in thinking about our days as mommies and educators for our children. I wish I had "gotten" these concepts years ago, but I'm working on them now. Hope they might be helpful to you.

Cat said...

Well said! That is pretty much what led us to homeschool this year too (so scary!) but I couldn't quite find the words like you did. Would you mind if I linked from my blog? :) Thanks for sharing.

Renee said...

Thank you for this post. We have homeschooled from the start, and after adding our third child this year via adoption, I am feeling very harried, and sometimes wonder HOW I can do this with more kids. Because we really would like to adopt again. Thanks for the reminder that even if we sent our kids to school we wouldn't be guaranteed an *easy* time.
I found the quote from your friend to be very profound. Because it's true for all kids, not just the adopted ones. It's a good reminder as I'm trying to plow through all we need to do in a day, WHY we are on this path to begin with.

Kathleen said...

Amy,
We are also homeschooling this year for all the same reasons that you are. We have a wonderful public school with great teachers but in the end God helped us to see that it was our special job to help our daughter heal from some very deep hurts due to her adoption. I never thought that I would be a homeschooling mom but we are finding in our home that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to educational needs. We have already seen a big change in our situation as the Lord works through my "efforts" to homeschool. I am so thankful that we took this step of faith.

Shannon- said...

Thank you for posting this. I ope you don't mind if I use a paragraph or two as an example to my sons transitions to school. we are going through some of the same stuff-- but he is doing very well- I just know we'll start from scratch with each teacher transition.

rachel said...

Thank you for always addressing these issues with grace. I appreciate your openenss!

Lyndsay said...

What a beautiful post! I have 4 bio kids, and i daughter on her way home from Ethiopia. My kids are in a great public school. I love the teachers, and know most of them personally. I do think it is so important to be prepared to change our direction to best serve and love our children. I have gone back and forth on this issue, and probably will consider to do so. You gave me some great things to consider. Thanks!
www.familyboulton.blogspot.com

Mrs. Michelle said...

I am so proud of you and see that confidence in Mya and who she is. Keep up the great work!

Jami said...

beautiful amy, just beautiful! i love your heart. i love the fact that you adopted your girls from guatemala too! that's where we adopted our hudson from! LOVE that country.

Amber said...

My gosh am I longing to have the amount of faith and courage you hold...I know these decisions are hard and scary and rewarding...I'm still growing...I just don't know what it all means. ha ha Were you ever there? Trying to figure out who what how when He wanted you? I'm exhausted lately just trying to figure that part out. My mom calls them 'growing pains'. I agree. It's difficult especially because my husband and I are really growing spiritually at different rates. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm glad Mya has a momma that 'gets' her. She's as blessed to have you as you are to have her...and your other preciousness of children!
Hugs,
AmberK

Gina said...

Amy, don't worry about doing everything "right". Whatever you do will be perfect. (Former homeschool mom here. My kids now go to a Christian school. They have been public schooled and homeschooled. I have no idea where our daughter will go to school when she comes home from China.)

ManyBlessings said...

This is EXACTLY why we homeschool. Exactly. And although it most definitely applies to our adopted children, it also applies to our biological children. Beautiful post (and what a sweet drawing :)).

BrandiB said...

That's a beautiful post...

Rebecca said...

Amy, this is actually one of my HUGE concerns as I consider adopting as a single woman. There is NO way I could stay at home to home school, and I wonder if being thrown straight into day care or a public school setting is going to allow for adequate bonding and healing for that child from the hard place. Do you have thoughts on that?

Karin said...

I love this post! You put it so beautifully how God leads, calls, directs us each. Each family is different. Each child has unique needs. And what He calls us to one year, might change the next. In our case, we homeschooled for two years, went to public for two years and this year are in a Christian school. Homeschool was my favorite--except for that bothersome fact that I wasn't very organized and we started to fall behind. Urgh... :)

Wife to the Rockstar said...

Love this post. Our homeschooling journey began for many of the same reasons.

Tara said...

WOW Amy...you have a way, that's for sure! You have a way with putting words from my heart and on to paper. I wish I could copy your post and put it on my blog, but I know I won't do that! We just started homeschooling this year for much of the same reasons. Thanks for bring to words, what my heart is saying!

Janna said...

Amy,
We have never met, but I found your blog through a friend. I love your heart. I love your honesty. And I appreciate the way you share both in such a beautiful way. You are an encouragement to families like ours who are just getting our feet wet in the areas of adoption and homeschooling. Thank you!