I have homeschooled my children for the last five years. For five years I have been mom, teacher, principal, chauffeur, nurse, sound board, cook, and scheduler. For five years I have graded papers, irritated my children with the insistence that they learn and do their best, kept a running tab on their grades, planned curriculum and whatever else goes with the life of having small children. Five years...and now it's over.
No, my kids aren't dead. Thank God. (As I write this, it does put this into perspective just a bit.) My kids have been enrolled in public schools. Shock. Gasp. Public schools!! Ha! Yeah, I know...many of you who know me swore I would never send them back until Common Core died an ugly, loud death. Sadly, CC still lives.
So why are my kids in school? Because God told me to. Now, some of you are going to click off now. That's fine. I'm sure I'll get some advice pointing me to the nearest health care facility. Some of you are going to snicker a little bit and keep reading to see what other insanity I'll claim. Some of you will continue to read because maybe, just maybe, you are hearing His voice too but you just can't wrap your mind around what He's asking you to do. (And because it's good to not be alone.)
Yes, yes. I heard God tell me to put my kids in brick and mortar school. He told me to send them to that place where they will be exposed to all kinds of humanity (and inhumanity). He told me to let them go, fly away free, and He told me to do it with a joyful heart. (I'm working on the heart part.) Granted, with me it was more along the lines of a slap upside the head than a nice, soft voice. I'm pretty dense and set in my way sometimes. So, in spite of all that I know and have learned over the last five years, in the space of 24 hours I put my kids back into public school.
I'm going to be honest: I'm not ok. My house is quiet. Even the dog is a lot more mellow...I guess he misses them too. I have little to fill my days. No dishes to keep up with, no constant parade of laundry, no papers to grade, no little minds to inspire. It's really quite depressing. I still have to get up at 0530. The only difference now is that I don't have two hours to drink my coffee, wake up and goof off before I have to wake up kids. My poor son has to wake up at 6am. Yikes!
This will be my kids 7th day at school. Not that I'm counting or anything. I won't tell you the horror stories of what they have seen and heard. I won't tell you how many times they have had to stand up for themselves. People keep asking me: "Aren't you proud?" Well, sure I'm proud. But honestly, I'd give my left leg for them never to have done any of this.
So, why don't I just pull them out? Homeschool again? Besides the fact that my mother AND mother-in-law would probably hunt my down and hurt me (trust me, it would hurt!), I can't find it in me to bring them home. Not yet. God hasn't told me to yet.
Even my husband wants to bring them home. Every single day we have talked about public vs home and every single day I have to remind him that I believe God is working something amazing. He has a plan. (I personally, at the moment, think it sucks...thankfully God doesn't care about my opinion of His plans!) The Bible tells us that He has a plan. It's a good one...a great one! It's a plan that is meant to bring great things into our lives. It's a plan that promises us no harm. Since the greatest harm is loss of faith, I have to believe that this journey my kids are taking will only strengthen their faith. I have to believe He is turning them into warriors.
That's the goal every Christian parent has for their kids, right? To turn them into warriors for God? To send them out into the world to spread the Good News? To be a light in the dark?
I'm slowly making my way around to believing that God has put them in a place that will grow them. Maybe not educationally, but spiritually. (There's an irony, right? Faith in a public school house!) As I watch my kids stretch and take challenges head on, and then come home and tell us all about it, I am proud. Not because they took on some bully or was polite to a teacher, but because they are showing grace, love, and faith in a place that so desperately needs it.
I never wanted this for my kids. That's right...I did not want my kids to be warriors. I wanted my kids to grow up, safe and sound and secure, and THEN become warriors. I wanted their childhood years to be...free. Perhaps this is God's way of proving to me what I have taught my kids all along: Never let anyone tell you that you are too young to show others the love of God. Maybe my kids' faith surpasses mine, and they are more than ready to be a light. I don't know.
I'm still just sitting here...trying to wrap my mind around the quiet in my house.