Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sending dogs to school

Dear Laura Sybil,

First of all, let me say that I hate your name, especially your last name. Please change it. Pronto.

Second of all, can you please get off this blog and write a book on homeschooling? And before you start composing your answer beginning with, "There's a plethora of materials out there for homeschoolers," let me tell you that I don't want their advice. I am really struggling with being a homeschool mom. I used to be a real teacher in a real school. Now I homeschool in a home school. Real teachers have weekends, June, July, and August, and the hours from 4pm - 7 am to get away from school. Yes, school is very much in us during those times off, but it is a break, it's different. You can leave property if you want. You can choose to do something else. And most importantly, the kids are gone. What do homeschooling parents get? Where do they hear an, "Amen! It's like that for me, too?" Are there books or blogs that deal with the toll that homeschooling takes on the teaching parent? If I happen to stumble upon a homeschool book, website or blog, it is more of the delightful journey the family is on and how homeschooling is all pros while other options are all cons. Am I the only one who has a bad day? Why do I feel so guilty after talking with my homeschool friends, rather than rejuvenated?

You're My Last Homeschool Hope

P.S. If you don't feel called to write a book, I guess that's okay. Just know that you are an example to me. I don't understand it all, and never will yet your walk matches your talk - and that speaks volumes to me. So......................get writing!!!!

Dear You're My Last Homeschool Hope,

You have no idea how well-timed your letter is. And quite honestly, could have been written by me, to you. So maybe we can give each other hope.

Today is standardized testing day for the King family homeschoolers. You have no idea how much I have dreaded this day (well, after reading your letter, you probably do know). Not because I'm worried about the test scores. I am confident that my children will do fine and any weaknesses uncovered by the test will promptly be added to our curriculum so that they're covered for next year. No, my worries had to do with spending almost 5 hours in a room full of homeschool moms. Talk about guilt - it came in the first half hour! Sounds like you've had some conversations like this:

Woman making small talk with me, "Oh, I see your daughter is an eighth grader, too. I am so stressed about homeschooling in high school next year. What is your curriculum plan?"

"Ummmmmmmm..........," I stalled, while trying to decide if I should lie and avoid the inevitable, or tell her the truth and take my lumps. I decided on the latter but blurted it out fast in the hopes that she'd misunderstand, nod, smile, and move on. "She's going to the high school."

"Oh." Insert complete body language change here. No longer overly friendly, we'll be best friends sharing curriculum before the testing is complete but now I'm staring at the face of complete and utter disdain. "Why would you do that? Don't you think you can handle it?"

How does one respond to that? While high school was the worst four years of my life, and while math and science are most definitely not my best friends, I do indeed think I could handle it IF God told me to do it. I truly believe that nothing is impossible with God IF we are within His plan. If His plan was for me to homeschool my daughter, or any of my three oldest children, He would have made that perfectly clear and He would provide for me. But He has not asked me to homeschool these three in high school. At least not yet. But how do you explain that to someone who believes that all God-fearing Christians must homeschool? A dilemma indeed. Knowing that I'd already lost the fight, and that there was a roomful of ears waiting for me to incriminate myself even further, I decided to plow on. "Well, every year we ask God what He desires for our children. If he tells us to send a child to school, we do. If he tells us to homeschool a child, we do. And each time we've made a decision, it didn't take long for God to also confirm that it was the right one."

"How so?" Clearly she needed some proof of this blasphemous thought.

"Well, when the first one went to public school, within the first month he had invited all of the boys at his lunch table to church and every single one had come at least once. By Easter, one of those boys was bringing his family and before the end of the year, every member of that family had been baptized and continues to come to church to this day. Recently, the boy's mother said to me, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Andrew. I think about that every day and thank God for your son.' That's how I know it was the right decision."

There was a long pause as she tried to decide whether or not to kick me out of the building then and there, before she finally decided on, "Well, I wouldn't send my dog to my public school."

On that point, I think we finally agree. I am fairly certain God won't be asking me to send my dog to our public school, either.

And yes, I've read the books, been to the websites, and browsed the blogs and have found the same thing you have. So what do I do? I stay away from homeschoolers. I purposely choose to spend most of my time with non-homeschooling families. I get fewer guilt trips from these folks and I can honestly share my bad days. Why not? They all think I'm crazy for homeschooling in the first place and would be shocked if I didn't have bad days. No condemnation from them if I start talking about sending a child to real school. They do it everyday. Right or wrong, I don't know, but it works for me and keeps me sane.


Laura Sybil

P.S. Your words are most kind. Actually, it is you who inspires me. So, why don't you take that money that The Good Doctor paid you to tell me to write a book, and have yourself a nice latte on me, or him. Sit at the coffee shop for as long as you like and don't think about school at all.

1 comment:

  1. When you get down to the heart of this story, it is all the more reason for you to continue putting yourself out there in writing and speaking. As well as affirmation that you truly do have a message that needs to be heard.

    BTW....there's something rather familiar with these words. Hmmmmm....?