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April 2013 - Shivaya Naturals

April 2013

I have been waiting a while to write this post. It has been in my head for weeks, and on my heart for much longer. This is not an easy subject to write on, mainly because every family is different, and sometimes I fear that in writing about homeschooling my children, I am creating a good vs. bad discussion about education. I believe that every family needs to make their own decisions, and feel good and supported in those choices. This is simply our story, and our journey with our children.

Reading
I have written extensively on the subject of homeschooling. It has been a part of our lives for many years, and I am sure that it will continue to be so for many more to come. It is also a challenging subject for me, as I don’t think that my family fits into the traditional homeschooling “type”.

We began to home school our oldest son when he was in preschool. It was something that I felt passionately about, and that I convinced my husband would be best for our family. I read every book I could find, soaked up all the information over the internet, and feverishly planned for the years ahead. I used a combination of Waldorf and Montessori curriculum, and embraced a creative and natural approach to his education.

It felt really good for a while, and as Elwood joined our daily rhythms and activities, it grew into a loving and special time for all of us. We tried Jacob in a kindergarten environment for a few weeks when he was 6, but knew right away that it was not right for him. We felt secure and happy in our decision to home school, and figured that the path that we were supposed to take would be clearly laid out before us as the years went on.

Of course, life never works like that, does it? In 2011, Landon blessed our home and our lives, and I began to feel my confidence as my children’s educator slip away. It was a very sad time for me, mainly because I no longer felt that I could give them what they needed. I began to doubt who I was and what I could provide, and instead I allowed other’s opinions of what was right and wrong to come into my vision.

In the fall of 2011 I placed both of my children into school. I was happy with the decision, and figured that they would find a way to adjust. I convinced myself that the school had everything that they could want, and that they would make friends, and be happy and that everything would be wonderful. My husband was not pleased with my decision, and tried his best to convince me that I should wait a bit longer, but I plowed ahead.

My children did adjust, beautifully. They both won awards, ranked in the top of their class, flourished, and assimilated. I patted myself on the back for my brilliant decision making, and slowly adjusted to being a mother of school children.

A year later, almost to the date, a terrible kidnapping and murder of a fifth grade girl took place in our area. It was frightening, and because it was so local, it was a subject that came up with my boys. As I was driving Jacob to soccer one afternoon, I had the overwhelming feeling to just remind him how short life was, and to make sure that his choices were always based on happiness. What happened next will forever change all of our lives. He looked up at me and with a trace of anger in his voice said, “My spirit has been broken the past year”. I swear I almost had an accident. I pulled my car over and just stared at him in disbelief.

We sat and talked for about an hour, and honestly I was so emotional I had to call my husband to come and take him home. He asked me why I had made him go to school, he told me how much he had loved to learn and how much that had changed. He felt that he was constantly being talked at, and pressured, and looked through. It was not a conversation that a 9 year old should have had, but it was one that we were going to have to face.

When I got home, I sat down with the boys and Joel and tried to prepare myself for what was ahead. They both expressed the same anger, the same frustration, and the same sadness. They were simply not happy.

How had this happened? How had a mother of three children, who was once so confident and so sure in her path, lost her way so completely? It took me a few days to come to terms with all that I had failed to recognize, and all that was ahead. I knew what the next step was, but I wanted to make sure that we were all prepared for what it meant.

A few months later, the boys came home. It was a decision that some agreed with, and some did not, but Joel and I knew that the only opinions that mattered were ours, and our children.

I want to stop here and say that our original decision to home school our kids was not based on a feeling of public schools being evil, or even lacking. It was not based on a need to protect our children from the dangers or difficult situations of the world. It was based on a desire to spend our lives with our kids. To not release them into the world so young. I do not believe, in any way, that school is bad, and that homeschooling is good. Life is never that black and white. I also loved the school that they went to, and I have nothing but gratitude for the year that they so fully gave to my children.

Learning

Landon-reading

Jake-at-the-microscope

The boys are now at home, and I have a feeling that this is where they will stay for quite some time. It has not been an easy transition, as Landon is a toddler, and we are expecting another babe here soon. I am not going to paint a rainbow and sunshine picture of what life is like as a homeschooler, because it will not do me or anyone else any good. It is tough! But I love it.

I do feel much more peace since they have returned, and even though I still battle with feelings of confidence and security in this decision, I know that it is the right one.

Our days are slowly coming together, our rhythm is slowly taking shape. Who we are as homeschoolers is becoming more clear each day. We are together for right now, but are slowly opening our circle for home school co-ops and events.

We do follow a curriculum, and in the coming months I am anxious to share our journey with you. For now, I think that this will do. This is about as real as our story can get. This has not been an easy 18 months, but we have learned a ton. The road ahead will be paved with uncertainties, and I am sure many challenges, but for now, the one thing that we know for sure is that our path will be walked together.

This post is part of the series Get Real, which was created by Adrie of Fields and Fire and Tonya and of Plain and Joyful Living. It is a series that looks at the real ways in which we each deal with the lives we have created. I hope that you will visit each of the participants, and enjoy their perspectives each week. 

Tonya at Plain and Joyful Living
Adrie at Fields and Fire
Lisa at Hullabaloo Homestead
Melanie at Mama Ash Grove
Kyce at Old Recipe for a New World
Aubrey at This Blessed Life

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A Thought

April 16, 2013

Kindness

” When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

~ Fred Rogers

Today is a day for the Get Real series, and I will be sure to post on that in a few hours, but I was up for much of last night thinking about what happened in Boston. I found myself not necessarily reflecting on the tragedy, but reflecting on those seconds immediately following the explosions. If you watched it, you know what I saw; Those people, everywhere, running to help.

It was an amazing sight, and in this moment I am choosing to reflect on them. I realized that in the face of something horrible, good always outnumbers evil. Yes, the event makes me angry, and sad, but looking past that, into the faces of those that jumped the fence, not knowing what or who they would find, that ensures that darkness can not overtake light.

The helpers. The good.

Raising children is no easy task, and answering tough questions is a part of that journey. My kids have been shielded from this event, but others they have faced head on. Today is a reminder that one of life’s greatest lessons is that no matter how hard things get, helping one another still makes them bearable.

Wishing you a day of peace and light.

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