Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The day I have dreaded for 8 years...

As we sat in Nate's Jeep that afternoon, I remember it being a cool fall day. Everything was just perfect. It was my favorite time of year. I loved Fall and everything about it. As an added bonus, we had started dating Oct.1st and that gave me even more reason to love this season! We were sitting together and after only dating for a few weeks, we knew we were going to get married. In fact, two weeks after we began dating, we planned our entire wedding on the way home from him meeting my family in Canada. So many things just seemed to come naturally and we were so thankful to the Lord for arranging our lives in such a way that we were like minded in most ways...all of the ways that were important...until this afternoon.

This afternoon we were talking about really important things lots of couples need to talk about before they get married. You know, how we thought we'd handle situations, how many kids did we imagine we'd have, what we thought about certain topics - all those things that are important to talk through but you can't really understand how you will handle them until you go through them.

That leads me to this one thing that threw me for a GIANT loop that day.

In the course of talking about children, Nathan naturally moved to how they would be schooled. Well, I didn't really ever think about that. I mean, what's to talk about? They'd go to school just like I had. My mind wandered quickly about how they'd go with me to pick out all of their new school supplies just as my mom had taken me. We'd shop for their new "back to school" outfit - that was a favorite tradition that we did every year and then I'd wait for them as they waited for the bus to come and take them to school. It made me smile to think about doing the same things with them that my mom did with me. But I was shaken quickly out of this dream by one word. One word came out of his lips that for some reason I thought I'd never have to hear in my lifetime (related to my life anyway...). 


I am chuckling as I type this because I remember this day so vividly.

He said "Well, of course we'll homeschool..."

Of course?!?! Was he just not able to see the amazing walk down memory lane I had just had in my head? Did he not see the satisfying smile on my face at the thought of putting my little ones on a bus and watching them wave at me as they drove away? Was this a test?! Nate was good at giving me an occasional test. Perhaps this was one.

So, I responded in the only way that I could muster... I began to cry. The tears rolled down my cheeks and I looked out the window (classic). Nate asked me what was wrong with a smile in his voice. And then there was no holding back. I told him exactly what I was thinking.

I sobbed,(it all seemed to come out as one long run on sentence)...
"Homeschooling?! I don't want my kids to be socially retarded, I don't want to have big bible bangs and wear jean jumpers and bobby socks, I don't want to drive a 15 passenger van!!"

And there it was. Everything that I was thinking at that exact moment. Nathan, who I am sure was taken aback by my emotional response, replied "Is that what my mom looks like?" and all I could say was, "NOT ANYMORE!!!"

Poor Nate! For the next half hour he sweetly tried to talk me off of the ledge and assure me that the kids would be just fine. They would function well in society because we would teach them how to do so. They would relate well with others because we'd try to raise them to be compassionate, caring people. My mind drifted off as he spoke and I remember thinking that even though he was making valid points, this was the one thing that I am sure he'd change his thinking on. Yup! I am one of those dumb saps that went into marriage thinking I would be able to change his mind on something. I accepted everything about Nate. I was thrilled to marry him - but this one thing....it would eventually disappear as we began living our life together and he'd see that "normal schooling" was the best thing for our family.

Silly Shyla.

God had other plans.

Nathan had been working construction and after we were engaged he was offered a position with a company that sells curriculum and educational/administrative tools to Christian Schools and Home Schooling families.

A coincedence? I think not. God continued to order our steps.

Soon after we were married, Nathan asked me to accompany him to a Homeschool Convention. REALLY!? These people have conventions? I had no desire to sit around and watch kids with clothes that were dated stand around and pick their noses while their mom breastfed her twins while looking over books. But, I loved Nate and I wanted to support him and help him out. So I went.

I won't lie to you. There were a few of those families there...but I was surprised at the amount of families that were the complete antithesis to my stereotype. Pleasantly surprised. Nate could tell and we drove home talking about it a little bit, but all the while I knew my heart had not budged a bit in that direction.

Fast forward two years....
We were expecting our first child.

Fast forward 15 months....

We were expecting our second child.

Fast forward 19 months...
We were expecting our 3rd child.

Get the idea? I'll spare you the thoughts and emotions that came during those years (they weren't all bad! :) I love my munchkins!!) But I could quickly see my idea of homeschooling getting closer to a reality instead of farther away.  And I still wished it away.

Enter baby #4.

Enter baby #1 becoming a 5 yr. old and a soon to be Kindergartener.

Enter a summer of dreading the inevitable.

Enter my loving Savior patiently softening my hardened heart and allowing me to choose to submit happily to my sweet, patient husband who only wants what's best for the family he's been entrusted with...not to make my life 'miserable'.

I am sure there are those of you who are asking "Why not Christian School?" - I'll give you another one word answer - Money. "Why not Public School?" - For us, we desire that our kids receive biblical teaching and so that left us with the best option for our family...homeschooling. It's not a last resort. It's intentional.

Welcome to the day I have dreaded for 8 years.

I am a homeschooling mom.

There. I said it! :) But seriously, I am happy to be able to work through life issues with my kids. I am excited to be the one to live the Gospel for them and show them Jesus (pray for me). I am pumped to continued to see them progress developmentally and read, and write etc... What a fulfilling life God has created me to be apart of. It's not my own. It belongs to Him and as long as I keep this in focus, I will be able to accomplish anything for Him.

I am thankful for the opportunity to school my kids at home.

Now let me leave you with a few pics from our morning.

Jackson Chase - 5 yrs. old.
Owen Samuel - 4yrs. old.

Olivia Adeline - 2.5 yrs.old

homemade donuts! yummy treat!
Starting my day with smooches from these kiddos?! Yes, please!


Judah pie. 6 months


Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing--that was a fun read! :) I was laughing out loud at the homeschool convention part--I went for the first time this past June and I was really glad I hadn't gone before I started K last year, I think I would have been totally freaked out :) I hope you have a wonderful first year!!!

CB said...

I laughed aloud... Thanks for your openness! You will be great homeschooling mom...you are already a great MOM! Enjoy every minute you get to invest in your kids..

Carrie said...

Homeschooling can be challenging, especially with little ones not in school but personally I love it and I hope you will too. It is so neat to see the joy and growth in all the little things throughout the day. You also get to spend more fun time since the school day is shorter. The boys are in a christian school this year but I would gladly take them back, and might next year. Have fun, enjoy training your children all day in the ways of the Lord!

TwoMuths said...

Shyla I love every word of this. :-) And I think you're awesome for making the first day so special for your kids. I wish my kids could come home school at your house! ;-)

SDwindowman said...

Your description of homeschool stereotypes had me laughing out loud! Neat to see how the Lord has worked in your lives.

Alicia said...

Thanks for your honesty! It was refreshing to read this post and to see your heart for modeling Jesus' love to your kids shining through! Hope your first day went super duper well!

Tricia said...

WHAT? You don't love my big bible bangs?? I'm so sad.

Anonymous said...

Love it! I NEVER thought I'd homeschool, either. But I was the one who had to talk Ryan into it!

Carrie said...

I loved this post, Shyla! I too was one of those gals who said I would NEVER homeschool. We only knew one family who did, and even though they were dear friends, I was sure it wasn't something I wanted for my kids. Well . . . here we are, entering our third year . . . and honestly, I am loving it. Oh, it definitely has its ups and downs, but I love being able to see the "fruit" which comes as they get older and grasp concepts. Plus, it is really cool for me to be able to learn along with them--I'm discovering that there is a LOT that I didn't learn (or don't remember) when I was a kid! :)

I wish I had thought to make our first day as special as you did!! What a fun mom you are. :) Loved the pictures--your kiddos are adorable!

mississippimomofive said...

Aren't you glad you get to begin with one kindergartner and not 4! I never dreamed when I started teaching Victoria in 2001 that 11 years later I would have 4 additional "students"! The Lord is gracious in allowing a one day at a time approach. I loved your comment about your fear of "jumpers and bubble bangsI" i too never wanted "that" attachement. I like living with the idea that if you don't like the stereotype...change it yourself!

Stacie H said...

Hey Shyla, I haven't read your blog in awhile and just read this post- I love it! I have had the same thoughts many, many times! But Dale and I both work in public schools and we don't think that's the road we want for our kids and we'll have to see about Christian school when that time comes, but who knows, homeschool may be an option for us...of course I said I would NEVER! God has a good sense of humor! We should never tell Him never!

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