Homeschooling has always been considered an experiment for Renee and I. We’ve never been entirely confident it is the best choice, much less whether we could actually pull it off. I mean, as of today, everything is basically going well, but we’ve no idea what tomorrow might bring.
Personally, I’ve had several moments of hearing one of our children read or complete some math problem without being prompted after which I’ve thought, or even said, “When did you learn how to do that? Wow! Maybe this is actually working.”
For Renee, who does 99.99% of the teaching, and is home all of the time with all of the kids, the process so far has been a monumental undertaking. She has had to overcome many tearful, frustrating, even terrifying days wondering if she is either ruining the children’s lives or her own mental health.
We’ve had the conversations time and again about whether the choice to do this at home is the right one. The conclusion of each of those digressions, so far, has always been that, as much as we lack confidence and emotional stamina, we believe we’ve been called to this lifestyle. We’ve never really been opposed to any aspect of other educational alternatives, either schools or teachers, but we’ve always been reluctant to relinquish the majority of our children’s educational and social influences to virtual strangers – both teachers and students. We recognize everyone doesn’t share that viewpoint or calling, and we don’t think they necessarily should.
We now have six children officially engaged in school and the oldest is Katie, who is 16. After all of these years, we have received some fairly unequivocal evidence that our experiment is working.
Last Tuesday morning, Renee and I joined Katie to attend a breakfast at Greeley Central High School in honor of all of the students who had achieved a 4.0 GPA – translated as straight-A’s – in the first semester of this school year.
Katie entered GCHS as a sophomore last August and became the first of our students to fly the coop and attend a public school. She negotiated with us for three years to gain the opportunity and won the negotiation when she finally found an academic reason for the change: the Arts Magnet Program offered at GCHS which caters to her love for painting and photography.
As you would suspect, we couldn’t be more proud of Katie. She’s a great student with a strong work-ethic and a positive attitude. Her last progress report included comments from several teachers indicating she’s a pleasure to have in class and that her effort and contribution are exceptional.
Our other students may or may not follow Katie into the public school environment in the future – they will have to negotiate on their own merits – but for now we are limiting our view into the future and remaining grateful for today’s experimental outcome. Thanks, Katie, for your hard work, and thanks, God, for being gracious in spite of our shortcomings!