It’s been a few weeks since we made the “We are moving” announcement. With the commence of school last week, my most favorite question is, “Where are the boys going to school since you’re moving?”
It’s quite a funny story… one of those “I Never” things that I keep saying God is just dishing out to our family. And honestly, as I look back, school is probably what started this whole moving/ downsizing/ simplifying thing.
Let me just say, we’ve never had a terrible situation in public school. Mikey just completed his third year and Lincoln his first, and while it was never amazing, it was also never awful. Don’t get me wrong, both boys were blessed with some truly loving and wonderful teachers. But bless… all public school teachers must answer to the System. And in Texas, ya’ll, that system is broken. STAAR tests, IEPs, 504s, oh my sweet Jesus. What’s a momma to do? By the end of this past school year, we were having some major convictions that our boys were just not in the right place.
If you are a momma to a boy, multiple boys, or even know some little boys, you MUST, I repeat MUST read this book. It was referred to me by a fellow #boymom x 3. Wild Things, the art of nurturing boys is actually spun off the theme of the infamous children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. (Also, another great boymom library addition). Max is an adventure seeking little rascal who runs off to a make believe world where he is ruler of all Wild Things, only to return home safely to him mom at night. Wild Things helps us to understand that all little boys are innately thrill seekers who have a passion for adventure and desire to be loved. When we read this excerpt, it gave us that big ah-ha confirmation moment signaling us to do something different.
The model of education that has been in place for the past one hundred years or so is known as compulsory schooling. If you do some research into the history of education, you will find that the compulsory model was birthed out of the Industrial revolution. The academic calendar and the very structure of school (length of day, amount of time, spent in class, etc) were designed as a means of fashioning great factory workers, not students. They weren’t designed with the cognitive and emotional development of kids in mind. And they certainly weren’t designed to correlate with the developing brains of boys. If they had been, physical education would happen four times a day, and boys would be at school only three to four days a week, four or five hours at a time. Boys would spend the other days engaged in apprenticeships or internships, learning and utilizing skills. (p. 159)
We had discussed it in detail, and shopped the options, but reading that statement sealed the deal. Back to preschool they go.
Ha. Just kidding.
A sweet friend of mine told me not too long ago, “Becca, you really know your kids. Like, you get them.” That thought had never occurred to me. Mostly because I spend 90% of my day breaking up sword fights and saying things like “Don’t pee in the Target parking lot.” But when I reflected on it, she was right. Now…I may not like them, know how to please them, or even desire to please them… but each one of my three boys is very uniquely made, and I get that about them.
So with each of our kid’s being so different, we knew we needed different schooling options for each child’s needs.
With Mikey, we opted for a small private school that is geared towards ‘special learners’. The small classroom size (he has 5 in his class) and super individualized instruction for his differences made this place the perfect choice for him. We are 2 weeks in and he is loving it. I have already seen vast academic growth as well study & organizational skills.
So Lincoln. Oh sweet, quirky Lincoln. Lincoln is super bright. I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid, but he really is a fast learner. His vocabulary and logic/problem solving skills are highly advanced. A normal classroom is too distracting for my child who is ‘all business’ and just wants to get things done so he can move on to the next task. He doesn’t really seem to care about being social, especially when it involves school work. He learned last year that he is most efficient if he can work alone, near the teacher. Put him in a class at church, on the wrestling mat, or in the gymnastics gym and he is great with other kids of all ages. But when it comes to academics, he thrives alone and left to his own thoughts.
So you probably know where I am going with this….
I’ve decided to home school Linc.
Probably just for this year.
Now. Stop looking at me like that. Stop looking at me like I’m going to start ranting about vaccines, and GMOs, all while wearing a long denim skirt and feeding my kids locally sourced chard sandwiches with a side of kombucha, I promise I am NOT that homeschool mom. (And if you ARE that homeschool mom, you go, sister. More power to you.)
By the end of last year, Lincoln, at the age of five, hated school. This school loving teacher’s pet momma’s heart was broken. I could not bare the thought of him going through another year like last year, dreading every single day. Some have scolded me and said “He was too young. With his summer birthday you should’ve held him back.” I can assure you, red shirting this brilliant kid would have only exasperated his feelings of frustration.
So that’s what we are doing. I don’t have one solid approach or curriculum. I have tidbits of things from all over. He learns different subjects in different ways. Some subjects, he’s more tactile, some subjects he’s more visual. Give him a pencil & paper to do math problems and he’s fine, then give him that same pencil & paper for language and he almost freezes b/c he’s so self conscious about his handwriting. But ask him to verbally spell his spelling words for you, and he aces them. I have the list of Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills, and I am building activities and projects for each of those as we go. We are spending the minimal amount of time on the stuff he dislikes, leaving more room to explore the things he loves. (We are currently engrossed in a planet study right now and how it all relates back to Creation.) I’m assessing him in ways that are best for him. I’m not in one of those homeschool co-op things, nor do I plan to be. We have multiple outdoor breaks daily. A big chunk of our ‘school’ is done in the car on the commute to/fro Michael’s school. So far, we are both really enjoying it and learning way more than I anticipated.
It’s not easy. And I would really love to drop him off at school just like I do the others, but right now, this is what my child needs. He has a life ahead of him to go to school, college, grad school, and SWAT team school…. because that’s what he says he wants to be. But before he can learn to appreciate school, he must first learn to appreciate learning.
I have always said “I will NEVER ever homeschool my kids. I don’t believe in it.” I have harassed and ridiculed friends who do it. But, because my Father loves me, and desires for me to bring him all the glory, he showed me exactly what I was NEVER going to do. So here I am, further being sanctified, one “I Never” at a time.