Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Small Bit Of Help Please...

 I will say first that these pictures have NOTHING to do with what I am going to write about.  There are no clever pictures to go with these words...
 I need HELP!!  My Emily has asked to go to school.  She wants to go to Middle School..like The Middle School that is run out of this house without me!!  Where do I begin??  How can I explain my feelings?  Out of all the reasons I choose to home school, one of the biggest was to avoid Middle School.  I personally turned down a few bad roads in middle school and this began a great decline of my youth that took me YEARS to bring my self back from.
 Pete will often ask if I am being a bit dramatic over my thoughts on middle school...The drama was pretty bad for me I don't think I need to exaggerate to explain my version of  7th and 8th grade.  But this cry for help is about Emily.  She has met a lot of really nice girls that go to the local public school here in our neighborhood.  Sweet girls !  But even this little microcosm of exposure has given us small bits of adolescent drama.  One day the girls LOVE you ...the next they won't look at you.  One day you are part of a threesome and the next day they go out of their way to let you know you are part of NOTHING!!
 This is not a big deal because we get small doses and we get to talk about the reasons why girls do this and mostly I explain it as insecure behavior that comes from good girls who don't know what to do with certain feelings.  But we move on, get lots of school done and dabble in girl drama mostly on the weekends when these little girls are around to play.  I like the ability to talk to the girls about these situations and give them the right tools to deal with these social situations so I am not complaining about our weekend dealings.  I just like them to be isolated to the weekend so our weeks can focus on the business of school and learning.
 But Emily has been hearing about the great move to Middle School that her friends will be making next year.  (Around here 6th grade is the first year of middle school.  Like 7th and 8th being considered "Middle School" was not bad enough..they threw on 6th grade!!!).  So this has her thinking...."Maybe school would be fun!!"
 I have struggled with home schooling for lots of reasons lots of different times.  I think it is hard and some times I DON'T to do it!! But I started this plan with a goal in mind.  I wanted to try and train up a young girl who knew herself and felt confident in who she was.  I wanted her to love God and know her faith.  I wanted her to love her siblings and try and put others before herself.  I wanted all good things for her and I thought I would be able to attempt these things if I home schooled her.  I am sure lots of non home school girls have these traits as well...but this was the way I saw for our family.  I never know when I will be at the end of this road...but I can say for certain I do not think it is at the door to Middle School.  I have more work to do.  I have  more situations to go through with her.  She has more confidence to gain.  We are not there yet.  We are not ready for school yet. 
 I get worried thinking.."What if I am wrong by keeping her home when she does not "want" to be here?"  But then I think..."What if sending her to school is wrong and if I just would have waited a few more years she could have been that much more of who she is supposed to be."  So we talked and talked and talked.  She herself does not know if she REALLY wants to go to school.  When Pete asked her what her main reason for wanting to go to school and she said..."Lunch!"  She wants to go to the lunch room.  We laughed and then I thought the answer was so HER...So we talked some more and then I started to feel her getting nervous..once she thought I was really considering it I felt her get nervous..on edge a little. 
So I began thinking and praying and thinking and praying.  What do I say to her?  What do I do myself?  Does she go because she thinks she wants to?  Do I change my goals and vision for our family because she wants to have a lunch room experience?  Does she really know what she wants? 


When I talked to her tonight I told her there would be no Middle School.  I would consider High School in 3 years...but right now middle school is not the place I want to launch her.  At least in High School there is a different level of maturity ...if only by a little.  And by then if she really wants to go to school she will have to come up with a better reason than LUNCH!!  And I told her that next year I would be sure to get her involved in the middle school co-op at our church (which I believe has some sort of lunch feature)  and she would stay with her day school which has a separate 6th grade class and of course ...lunch.  She will feel like a middle schooler next year, even in our home school. 

 And what was her reaction you ask??  I think relieved...I think the idea of school is scary in a lot of ways and she is not 100% wanting to go..but enough to ask.  She was happy to hear that we would revisit and seriously consider High School when the time came.... if she was still really wanting to go.  But for now we are here ...doing this!!
Now ...for those people who send their kids to school outside their home I want to explain that I am not an ANTI-SCHOOL home schooler.  I DO not think that home schooling is the only way for a family to achieve good kids and a great family life...this is just what I want for me and mine.  It is what I think is best for the people that have been given to me...this is where I can be the best mom I am supposed to be for them.  I find the sacrifices I am forced to make by home schooling actually make me a better person.  Even when I don't like the sacrificing I have to do..I know that I am being made better by making them.
Is this all about me??  What is good for me??  No..but I have to do what I think is best for all involved and I am definitely INVOLVED in these kids!!

So the help I need comes in the form of your opinion.  I just want to know..what would you do?  What do you think?  What should I do?  What would you do? 

I was not going to write this here.  I don't know why.  I thought, what will people think?  But then I realized that I wanted to know what you thought.  I want the mamas who I so look up to that have older girls tell me there girls also asked to go to school and what you said.  I want to know why you did or didn't.  I just want to know...

18 comments:

  1. I don't have school aged children so maybe I'll understand once we cross that bridge & perhaps I'll even home school myself. So I don't have any advice, unfortunately. But I will say that my most vivid, happiest memory from school days (middle & high school) was lunch time! Sorry, I know that's not helpful :)

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  2. So hard. We sent our boys to a tiny private school - a Quaker school - that was experience based, so unstructured, no grades etc. The closest thing to hschooling. And then....by seventh grade the oldest was BEGGING to go to public school. BEGGING to be around more of his age peers. We relented. The first day, he came home and said "I have never heard so many penis jokes in my life." In the lunch room. The younger one broke up a fist fight on the playground the very first day. No adults around. They were in shock. I was in shock. But over time, they found their niches. They are happy, wholesome for the most part boys who have friends, do reasonably well in school, and. most important to us, have beautiful hearts. Good luck. Is there anyway she could do a summer camp program with these kids? Like a daylong program where she would see firsthand what it's like? BIG HUG

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  3. Our parish priest once told us that if there is peace in the decision, then it is the right decision. If you are uneasy and you have asked God for His guidance, then it is probably not His will. I know it is not much advice, but it has worked for us on so many occassions. I heard someone on EWTN say that God really wants us to do His will and He will show us the way. I hope this helps and that you find peace for yourself and your daughter. Good luck and God Bless.

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  4. "...this is where I can be the best mom I am supposed to be for them."

    I love this. I don't think people think about it from this perspective very often. Yes, it's about what's best for the kids, but it is also very much about living life the best way for the family as a whole. I think I have a hard time getting that point across when people ask me about homeschooling. Thanks for putting words to my feelings!

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  5. I wanted to homeschool since I gave birth to our first child. Then, after 3 kids (back to back)... I reluctantly put my oldest into a state funded pre-k program. I didn't have the approval of my husband to homeschool at that time. He was concerned about the socialization aspect. It was a hard year for me. Then, every year after that for 3 years, I would get severe anxiety over sending my kids to public school. It wasn't until we moved to a different county that my husband finally allowed me to homeschool. I lasted 4 months. I had such a vision in my head that my kids would mind what I said, have perfect manners and do their schoolwork everyday without hessitation. We were going to be the perfect picture of a family... then, I had to admit defeat. Not really defeat, but admit that my family isn't as perfect as I would like them to be. We aren't the Hallmark card family at all... but we try.
    I personally think that it's the parent's responsibility to make the decisions for their children until they are old enough to fully understand that ALL of the choices that they make have an impact on their future. If you, as the parent, feel like this is a bad decision... then go with your gut. You are doing the right thing by talking it out with your husband (but you knew that)... I didn't. I bullied my husband into thinking that I could do it. He finally relented to letting me, saying that I needed to see for myself. He was right. I'm still a pro homeschooler, but just know that it doesn't work out for everyone. I think that once my kids get older, it may work... but until then, I am left with public school.
    The idea of the church co-op is wonderful. Maybe she will get the "lunch" experience that she longs for. Have you thought about talking to the local school about sitting in on a lunch one day? Maybe you can show her that it's not all it's cracked up to be. And, I totally get what you are saying about your middle school years... mine was high school. (I was a late bloomer) I am TERRIFIED to send mine to high school... makes me nauseated just thinking about it.

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  6. We Home school - my older kids are 6th, 5th, and 3rd grade. I agree - I don't think home schooling is the ONLY way. But for now, it is the best way for us. For years, my kids have asked to go to school. In talking to my friends who were home schooling, SOME of them said their kids NEVER asked to go to school. So I used to wonder what I was doing wrong, that my kids had the desire to be in school. Then I talked to some who said their kids had asked too. I think it's normal and natural. If you are home schooling, there are things you miss out on. If you send your kids to school, there are things you miss out on too! There is not a perfect way.

    For me, it helped a lot to revisit WHY I chose home schooling. I actually wrote down the list. You've already wrote down several reasons in this post, but it might help to write it down separately. It is more objective to have a list of reasons. Our feelings can be so subjective! :)

    It sounds like you are handling this well, taking into account your daughter's feelings and views, then letting her know the decision you've made. When my kids ask to attend school, I simply remind them of the benefits of home schooling, then move on and ask them to finish their schoolwork. It doesn't jolt my world like it used to. I also gently remind them (and myself) that there are things I don't like about home schooling too. Hope that helps - you're doing great, Mama!

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  7. This post is so sweet. I think every single homeschooling mom has the feelings that you shared. They're not anti-school, and I hope no one takes it that way. It's just you pour your life into your child, and you do it because it's what you think is best for them, and not for the appreciation. Still, it almost stings and is scary when you find out they want something else.

    I don't think you did a single thing wrong. First, your daughter is wanting new things, more independence, and to be around friends. That's good and natural and that means that you've done a fabulous job with her. She's not anti-social. She's not weird and sheltered and all the other sterotypes that people wrongly associate with homeschooling. She's growing into her own person and feels free to share her dreams with you and how beautiful is that!

    I also love how you let her dreams sink into your heart with depth, but did not give her the reigns to her her childhood. She shared her desires with you, you took her seriously and didn't flake them off, and yet, you and your husband remained the parent making the decisions based on what you thought was in her best interest. Beautiful.

    Your response to your daughter was kind, showing that her request is not unreasonable or off the table, and she responded back in such a beautiful way.

    I know if you're like me, you feel so insecure about these difficult decisions. Let me just say, from an outsider looking in, you guys are doing a beautiful job.

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  8. My mom was worried about sending me to middle school, but I turned out to be a wonderful time for me. High school was hard for me.

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  9. You know your daughter and her heart. I teach middle school part time--and it can be grueling--kids can be mean...but kids can be nice. There are ups and downs and twists and turns and at the end of the day--each parent has to do what they think is best for their children. I attended private school until my junior year of high school--talk about shell shock!!! It was a very difficult transition for me, but I did it and I love who I've grown up to be:)

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  10. When I read this post, I thought...I can help! Then I read everyone's comments and I just don't know that I can say it any better. The process you went through was beautiful.

    I am a full time teacher of ninety-five 7th graders and I can just tell you that 7th grade is tough. It seems especially hard for the girls. Boys seem to weather the middle school storm much better. Overall, they are just trying to grow up much too soon. If you can protect her just a little longer, help her develop the confidence in who she is, she will adapt easily when she is ready to consider public school again. The girls that I see do well through the middle school years are the ones who have a strong belief in who they are and don't let peer pressure push them to be something else.

    I think it is wonderful to be the one to help guide them through this most vulnerable of ages. I admire your thoughtfulness toward Emily and the parenting wisdom in making the best decision for your family.

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  11. My girl has asked to go to middle school as well. We talk about it a lot. We pray about it a lot too. If she were to go back, she would be in 7th grade. I have fond memories of middle school but I also have horrible memories of middle school. Middle school today is so much more intense than when we were kids (social media, phones, clothing). In the end, we've decided to keep her home through middle school- just so she has 2 more years of our guidance. I know that when she goes to HS, she won't have everything figured out but her morale compass and values and virtues will be a bit stronger. We are in the beginning stages of starting a "God Squad" at Church so she can be with like-minded girls AND boys. Good luck with your decision. You will make the right fit for your family.

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  12. Oh! There is a book out there called "Queen Bees and Wannabes. It is a great read for all Moms with girls. It has role play scenarios that are super helpful. It is a great book!!!

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  13. I was homeschooled from 1st Grade through high school graduation. I asked my mom casually about attending public school a few times - it was different, and therefore fascinating, and I really wanted to trade good stuff from my lunch sack with other kids. My public and private school friends were also having to do much less/much less difficult work than I was, which sounded very attractive. Not surprisingly, those three reasons didn't convince my parents :). I'm sure things would've worked out in school, but I have no regrets looking back at the choices my parents made. My teen years were great, full of both challenging academics and good times with friends. We participated in both homeschool and community teen groups like debate club, a competitive math team, and sports, and had long unstructured hours to just relax with friends. My brothers and I are all adults now, with good jobs and various combinations of college and masters degrees, homes, spouses, and kids. Having our wishes overruled doesn't seem to have scarred anybody for life too badly ;). I do think it's good to make sure homeschooled kids mix with privately and publicly schooled kids often, not just with other homeschoolers. Coming from a peer group with almost no peer pressure, dating, etc., it was a confusing adjustment joining our church youth group as a high schooler where other girls loved God but had TV, boys, and clothes as their primary interests. Even if they receive other messages from their parents, homeschooled kids often pick up negative viewpoints and a superior attitude towards kids from other schooling options and I think it's important for parents to keep an eye on any potentially budding pride there. My (otherwise very nice!) group of homeschooled friends used to privately sneer at publicly schooled kids as "POGS" (products of government schools), a snideness that is flat-out innapropriate.

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  14. I loved each comment so much. This has been wonderful food for thought for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such heartfelt insight. I can't thank you enough.
    Lisa

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  15. oh my! we PULLED ours from public school to homeschool this year. my son will be in 6th grade too. there is no way i could envision allowing him to attend the middle school.
    it's such tender ground. we want to protect them, but not have them hate us in the preocess. our thing right now is spending the night. his grandma has some prorperty and wants him to come for the weekend. problem is, she has a new boyfriend that lives there. my son was so wounded that we won't allow him to go, it broke my heart. BUT, i know the Lord has put it on our heart to say no, and we have done so. i hope this gets easier...for both of us! blessings, mandy

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  16. Wow! I think the way you handled this is amazing! Truly.

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  17. My husband and I have 6 children, 31 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Three of our daughters have/and or are homeschooling their children. My oldest daughter homeschooled for 16 years and took them all the way through High School.Her grown children are strong Christians who are wallking with the Lord. My second daughter has 8 children. The oldest is married, some of the other older children are finished with high school at home and some have completed 2 years of college. I also have several grandchildren who have/or are attending public high school.I can see a huge difference between the grandchildren who were homeschooled and the ones who attended public school. They may have had good teachers and academically the schools were good but the greatest influence on the children in school is their peers. My second daughter has had three of her children volunteer with "Net Ministries" for a year or two after High School, before they went on to college. http://www.netusa.org/ They not only had an incredible time with "Net" but their faith was made so much stronger. I believe that it helped keep them on solid ground while attending the local community college. If my husband and I were raising children today, we would not even send them to our church's school but would homeschool our children all the way through High School.I know that each family needs to pray about what God wants for their family but as for us, we are very pro home schooling.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary! Your thoughtful and wise opinion means a lot to me. I never really get to compare homeschooled kids vrs. school kids in a true sense so hearning your thoughts on the noticed difference means a lot. Thanks!!
      And what a GREAT family legacy you have created. I am in awe!!..and inspired by those numbers...that's what this is all for ...right??
      Lisa

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