Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Change is in the air

Three of my five babes splash happily and loudly in the pool.  Dogs pant on the damp pavement and the sun sets behind the tall trees.  Summer is coming quickly and I, for one, could not be happier about it.

Our school year is almost over.  5 years spent teaching at home.  Books filling shelves and legos clicking as I read aloud the newest adventure.   Things are changing.  Next year will not be the same.

The teenagers want to spread their wings.  I can't blame them and certainly will not deny them the opportunity. After wrestling with God and, truthfully, my pride we decided on a school that seems to line up with our philosophy of education...putting God first and scores second.  The teens are excited and nervous (as the tuition deposit has been paid and they are hereby committed!) and "senior-itis" regarding homeschooling has made the past few months challenging, to say the least.

I poured my heart out one Autumn evening to a dear friend who is ten years ahead of me in the parenting game.  She was exactly who I needed to set my heart at ease.
"It's ok," she said.  "You have to do what is right for each particular child.  You only answer to God for how you raise your kids, not to other parents. His opinion is the only one that matters.  There is no one right way to do school.  My oldest thrived in public school and had a great circle of Christian friends.  No matter what type of school you choose, there are no guarantees!"
I may have talked her ear off for two hours, spilling my guts, wiping away tears and hanging on her every wise word.  This precious woman who has raised three incredible, sold-out Jesus followers...I trust her.  She helped me swing the pendulum in my heart back into center, to find balance and tune out the voices who "know it all" but really don't know my kids at all.

This letting go process of my oldest children has been more difficult than I imagined.  Protecting my babies, guiding them to know right from wrong, has been my strength.   But that level of protections is not possible and probably not healthy now.   It is time for them to put into practice what we have taught them at home while they are still under our roof.  We still have a lot of parenting to do, believe you me, but it is so different as they near adulthood.  The parenting has changed, as have the potential consequences (both good AND bad) of their decisions.

I have to honor their wishes, knowing that come Christmas they may be begging to homeschool again...but maybe not.
Because they just might love it.
They just might thrive.
I just might not have been an awesome high-school homeschooling mom, at least not for them.
And that just might be ok.

Reactions to the news have been mostly positive, but there have been a few...snarky ones.  And that is where I struggle.  You see, us homeschooling mamas, we put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this venture.  Many of us begin the journey scared to death, but then settle in and love it.  So it is really hard when it stops being the best choice for a child and the season ends.  It is hard when the teens want to move on...which is completely normal for teens to do but not easy on a mama's heart.  It is hard when identity issues threaten their joy and they. just. want. to. be. normal.  They, just. want. to. fit. in.  And homeschooling in their circles is not the norm.  They want a posse, a crowd, a teen scene.  I want to put them in a bubble until they are 30, but we all know that would be a bad move.  So what's an overprotective mama to do? We seek out the best, the scene that is safe but fun, that will stretch them and grow them, hopefully without breaking them or turning away their hearts.  We seek relationship over philosophy and let them go back to school because it is what they long for and that doesn't mean we have failed.
In fact, maybe it means we did our job.
Maybe it means God is preparing for a big move in their hearts and the next spiritual growth spurt won't happen until there is major change and challenge and nerves causing their hearts to race as they walk through those glass double doors into a classroom full of their peers.

Whatever happens, God has given me absolute peace that this is right, at least for now and for them.  For the younger three?  We are taking this homeschool adventure year-by-year, but they are looking forward to next year.  I have changes in mind for them as well, though not nearly so drastic.  Sensory, auditory, and visual processing issues have reared their stubborn heads and I have been in major research mode in order to figure out the very best plan for my youngest ones.  How to help them realize they are truly smart, just not the same way other kids are smart?  How to teach them and make it fun and not frustrating?  How to help them want to overcome the hurdles that look so intimidating and rise to the challenge?  This year will have to be different in order for them to reach their potential.  Distractions will be minimized and field trips will be often. Visual and right-brain learning techniques will be our new focus and we will major on the majors and minor on the minors.  Therapists will be enlisted and homeschool enrichment that occurs on a local farm will be the highlight of our week.  The big kids will be happy and safe in "real" school and the littles will get the full brunt of mama's teaching research.  And then, after we have survived another carpool line and the teens have done their homework?  I pray, then, that there will be lots of stories to share and joy to be found in this new normal.  I have joked, lately, that my youngers are looking forward to more field trips and less eyerolling.  (Ok...that may not be a joke!)    But, honestly, we all look forward to everyone doing what they are called to do.  I pray for hearts to be content, for friends to be encouragers, and for wisdom as we take this next big step.

I often hash-tag #homeschoolrocks.  And it does. But even better than homeschooling is knowing that the Lord is the keeper of their hearts and the author and perfecter of their faith!  He is bigger than educational philosophy and cultural norms or expectations. Yes, that totally rocks!

So, to my babes who are so anxious to spread their wings...your mama loves you so.  The past five years have been a gift.  But I am also excited for you because you are going to love the next few years.  At least I hope you do.  May the Lord bless you with heart-friends that point you to Jesus.  May you find your passion.  May you feel His wisdom and knowledge filling your mind as you work hard to learn and grow. May you know how wide and deep and high and long is the love of Jesus for you and shine His light into this dark world.  Yes, my beloved ones, I pray you will be a light for Jesus, even amidst our Christian culture.

Rock on, my sweet kids!  #rockon!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's keep the conversation going...