Monday, August 25, 2008

We home school. DEAL WITH IT!!

It is our decision not yours.

So our oldest is a Senior this school year 2008-2009. She has never been in traditional school and has been home schooled from the start. We know it is the right choice and have been happy with it from the beginning. We have had great years, we have had average years and we have had bad years. (Just like ‘real’ school!) We have been organized some years and other years we have been unorganized. We need to be super organized this year with one preparing transcripts for college.

We are beginning on September 2ND and can’t wait to get started. We have set up the year with exciting subjects and extra stuff in place that will include a PE classes with other home schooled students. We are ready to go except for some detailed planing mom still needs to map out on the computer. We have a senior that is filling out college applications and we are enjoying this process. We don’t want her to leave. Yet, we are extremely confidant that we have done a good job. Pooker will do well in college and more importantly in life.

Our plan for our oldest was that she would spend her senior year of high school taking classes at the community college. She was so busy this summer that we never got over to the college to take the placement test. UGH! We were upset with her but it will not keep her from college. It doesn’t mean she has failed in any way. We did sit her down on Friday and discuss how we would handle this last year of high school. At first her father and I expressed our frustration with her for not having gotten her act together and being in classes. After much discussion we came up with a good plan and are ready to put it in place next week when we start schooling.

There are a few people in our lives that are very unhappy with our decision to home school our children. For some reason they feel that it is the worst possible thing we could do. We have had two in depth conversations with these individuals about our decision over the past 13 years. (That is right; just 2 conversations in 13 years.) Both of those conversations ended badly. It was apparent the reason for the conversations was not to understand our decisions, or our approach; but to try to convince us to stop and put the kiddos in traditional schools. J and I know our stuff, so we didn’t back down. When we had solid answers to the “questions and concerns” emotions started to fly. We were accused of all kinds of neglect and stupidity. We let it go. It was our decision and no one else’s and that is that! We try to remember that these individuals were concerned because they love our kids and that is a very good thing.

We have been doing this for a long time. We have researched many aspects of it. I only needed to student teach to earn my degree in elementary and early education 18 years ago. I decided then that I would rather teach my own child than to finish my degree, put my child in day care and then teach other people’s children. I love my children and I love to teach – a perfect match. Unfortunately teaching my own children for 13 years doesn’t count as student teaching. So “no degree” but I still know what I am doing.

I admit that there is an issue. I have several that are dyslexic. The severity is different for each of those children. Traditional school would have been extremely difficult for them. So our reading levels are not where I want them to be. I have openly admitted this to any and everyone. It isn’t a secret. I love my children no matter how hard it might be for them to learn. We have found many ways to work around this. I have become an expert on it. I have learned, tried and taught every known aid in reading. I have also spent some extensive time searching out the best approach for my kiddos.

I have looked into the public school and different private schools and what they would do. If I had found something better than me for my children we would have pursued it. If anything, I have found that the “professionals” in the trenches of the schools are telling me that addressing this in our home school environment is the best approach. I have picked up many tools and utilize them. So to sum it up the kiddos are progressing. Some are not as strong at basic reading as they are in history or science. Our home schooling has allowed us to address the interest of each child. It has allowed us to look around the reading issues and still learn. Wow, my kiddos are so smart. They are so good. I would not trade them for all the money in the world.

Why am I spending so much blog space on this? As much as I respect and love these individuals I need to point out that they really do not know my children. They live very far from us and see the kiddos one or two times a year for a few hours over the course of a few days. So their direct contact with the children is probably no more than 48 hours a year if we were to cut and splice the time together. During these times we are celebrating sacraments, holidays or sight seeing. Nothing is ever said about their schooling. Except that we have noticed that these people will hand the kiddos something and then say “read this”. (OK a pop quiz with someone that is looking for you to fail and everyone is watching!) Yep that is the only basis of their “concern” with our home schooling. Insane, I know but they really just don’t know any better.

All that background to fast forward to Sunday morning. One of these individuals called our oldest and asked how her college classes were going. Pooker thought instantly that her father and I set her up. For some reason she lost all trust in us and thought we would call an outsider to our home to "get on" her for not being registered for classes. Pooker started crying. She was upset at herself, she was still raw from our conversation on Friday, she was upset knowing her best friend was starting class on Monday without her, but most of all she felt betrayed by her parents. She reacted the same way any one would, by crying. The individual on the phone proceeded to point out to her that she would not succeed in life if she didn’t get her act together. She was chastised for putting these things off. My daughter did not tell us exactly what was said. She also has too much respect for this individual to bad mouth her.

As much as I knew that this person was trying to share words of wisdom with my child I was a tad hacked off that Pooker was so upset. She kept telling me that she had just over reacted. Once she found out that we had not set her up she was fine. It still didn’t make since to me. Why would this person be so upset about those classes? Pooker is just a Senior, those were to be a bonus. How did she even know our plans for dual enroll classes at the community college?

As it turns out the individuals did not know our plans. This miss guided and uninformed individual thought that our daughter was to be starting college this year. Instead of finding that out she proceeded to make phone calls to various members of our family. This individual was eventually told that the child was only a senior. Instead of calling Pooker, her father or mother she called others to try to get them to get us to put our children in school. Instead of admitting that she was wrong and the child was only a senior in high school she began to focus on the “reading issues” and the parental neglect we have supposedly had toward our children and their education. What a joke!

At first I was very angry, but this morning I wake up very sad. These individuals really think they are close to the children. They really think that their actions are justified because they love the children so much. They really think they know the children better than the father and the mother. It is sad that they don’t really know the children at all. They talk and talk but know very few of the facts. They have chosen to look for the negatives and have failed to see the children for who they are. They see slow readers and I see artists, creative thinkers, lovers of history, inquisitive minds, and a joy of life all mixed with a devout love of the FATHER.

If it wasn’t so sad, I would be laughing. The individuals, who don’t even know what grades the children are in, feel that they know how to better educate our children than we do. We see the positives. We know what we need to work on. We know the Texas law on home schooling. We know what we are doing. So put your fears to rest, it is under control. We are willing to discuss it if only the individuals would be willing to listen.

To all my fellow home schooling friends that have to deal with well meaning and unknowing friends and family, I pray for you. Please pray for us.


  1. You are a wonderful mother and teacher. I have always credited your families choice to home school. The incredible dedication and love that it takes to do such a thing and you will do it for nine children. Hats off to you!!
    Love you,

  2. i need a nap after reading your YOU ROCK!!!! and your kids do too shannon, and as for the person was less than tactful on sunday, in the infamous words of my 5 y old jake..."poop on them". Amiee Sturek :)

  3. Had I not met you and your beautiful children years ago, my kids would probably be in public school, and miserable (as one of them WAS for 5 long months). Your children thrive in home school, and you are a wonderful example of the confidence all of us homeschooling moms need to have, no matter how challenging the hour, day, week or year may be. God bless you guys! We love you! Nicole

  4. You and your family are an inspiration to MANY!! We have you to thank for encouraging us to follow God's will to this amazing life of homeschooling. What a gift to realize we are chosen by HIM to guide, teach and lead our children. How fortunate we are to know you and your beautiful family!
    We love you guys!


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