Before you finish reading this blog entry, please go read this poem: "I Trust You’ll Treat Her Well." For copyright reasons, I’m not going to write it out here.
When my clock radio turned on this morning, the morning show people were talking about this poem. The woman was saying that when she heard it yesterday, she was in tears. The other two were talking about how what a wonderful milestone that first day of kindergarten is. Then they read the poem. Towards the end of the poem, the baby started waking up so I turned to nurse him and I saw that my husband was awake, too. I asked him, "Are you listening to this?" His response: "Thank God we homeschool." "Exactly," I said.
Is this poem supposed to be inspirational? Is it supposed to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside? To my husband and I, it is a list of all the reasons to keep our children at home.
Gossip, group think, hurt feelings, jealousy, betrayal – uh, no thank you, not for my children.
In our family, observing nature is important and has a place in our school day. The "important things" certainly do NOT include what to wear and the drama of best friends and second best friends. My children are each other’s best friends. Just ask them, they’ll tell you.
And we understand that the magic of dolls and blocks…and legos and toy kitchens is equally as important as the magic of books and learning. In our home, childhood doesn’t end just because formal education has started.
Don’t even get me started on what "proper young ladies" do and don’t do. And I know they don’t teach that at school anyway. And why does the journey to womanhood have to be long and lonely? Shouldn’t it be filled with love and joy?We should be taking that journey with our daughters, and the journey into manhood with our sons, not watching them navigate it alone.
No, I didn’t find this poem to be inspirational at all. Instead it reminded me of how I got started homeschooling in the first place.
When my oldest child turned 3, I heard a lot of "aren’t you going to put him into preschool?" Being a first time mom, I bowed to the pressure and enrolled him in a twice a week preschool. It didn’t take long before my sweet little boy started to change. I had to plead with him every time to go to school. Once there he cried for me. About three weeks into it, his teacher informed me that he had grabbed another child by the neck when he didn’t get a turn at the computer. My son had never before and has never since resorted to violence. Never. Then the next week his teacher tells me that Boo was doing better now, "he didn’t cry much after I left. " Didn’t cry much? It had been 3 weeks, he shouldn’t be crying anymore at all! That was the last class before Thanksgiving. I spent the long weekend doing some serious soul searching. Boo never went back to school.
Of course, still being a first time mom, I felt like I was short changing him somehow. How was he going to learn his ABCS if he didn’t go to pre-school? Maybe I could teach him at home! I searched the internet for pre-school at home. Of course, I know now that all a preschooler needs is time with mom and lots and lots of good books, but back then I still had a lot to learn. I finally found a curriculum that had a preschool level – Sonlight. When I received their catalog, I fell in love. So many good books, ones I remembered from my childhood, others that I wanted to read myself. The whole idea of homeschooling beyond preschool intrigued me. The ability to adjust the pace for each topic to fit my very active, very bright son was what clinched it. Nurturing his tender spirit, guiding him carefully, letting my husband and I be his primary influences only sweetened the deal. I ordered that preschool curriculum, spent 2 years using it with Boo and we’ve never looked back.
Yes, there will be a time when I also send my children out into the world. But they will be physically, emotionally and spiritually prepared to handle whatever is out there.
As for this litany of things a five year old has to look forward to – no thank you! My children are home where they belong.