Today we begin our homeschooling journey. I remember when Jeremy and I first thought of this as an option for our family about four years ago, thinking "I have all the time in the world to decide on everything related to that." I know you'll be surprised to hear me say, it snuck up on me. But, it did. Of course, I've been asking questions of seasoned vets and researching curriculum for years. We've finally decided what we're going to go with for now, which is Mother of Divine Grace. Carter is starting kindergarten today, and so begins his years of formal education.
But, we've made a decision, and here is a tiny look into why.
We want the best for our children. Most parents do. Keeping them home for now is what we see as best for the Fisk family. It allows us more time with them. It allows us to continue to be the most influential people in our children's lives. It gives us the freedom to teach them what we feel they should know from a perspective we'd like to see it coming from. It helps us keep God at the very center of their lives...and their education.
We don't despise public education (or private education). In fact, we may end up at either place some day. We just want to try this first.
We don't feel this will free our children from mistakes. We know we cannot shield them from everything, nor should we. We know they will learn many things the hard way. But, we feel we are in a position to provide them with a strong foundation which allows us to keep them close for a little while longer...hoping to strengthen their resolve for the time in life when they are on their own.
We don't feel this will harm them socially. I was one of them...one of the people who thought homeschoolers were weird. I'm sure there are weird homeschoolers, just as I'm sure there are weird public schoolers. And, I know some people might think we are weird. But! We aren't keeping our kids from social activities. They know how to have conversations with people, young and old. They know how to interact with peers (it's hard not to learn that quickly when you have almost five in your personal space every single day). They will participate in activities when the time is right. And, we are not building a hermitage. In the event that we ever think they're getting too weird, we'll determine what needs to be done. But, I have a feeling what might make someone weird in the eyes of the world might not really matter to the one upstairs. Moving on...
I don't need a break. Honestly, that's not true. I do...more days than I care to admit. And, I get just enough of a break usually when I'm just at the point of breaking. My mom watches the kids for a bit, or my husband loads them all in the truck to go see the cows, etc. I've realized I don't need as much as I once thought, and I've realized something even more important...this is my life. This is my vocation. No, not every day is ideal. No, I don't have hours to myself...but I really don't think I'm supposed to. And, I've been extremely blessed to be able to stay home and raise this crew. So, I see homeschooling as just part of that vocation. It's my job right now...and the most important job I'll ever have. And really, it won't last long. So, I'm going to savor the gift.
I think I can handle it. Many people, when they discover that we have five kids (with one on the way) and the oldest being six, get wide-eyed and say, "I don't know how you do it." Honestly, I don't know how we do either. But each baby comes one at a time (so far!), and God has always given us the grace to welcome a new one into our home with even greater love than we knew we were capable of. Same goes with homeschooling. I have days when I'm wrapped in anxiety wondering how we will do this...and then I remember that I have parenting days like that as well. God has always provided a way. I do very little and He takes care of all the rest. I'm confident that we will take one day at a time and He will lead the way.
Yes, it's countercultural. But, it's not so uncommon anymore. And, by baby #6, we're used to being countercultural :)
In the end, we haven't chosen this path to lord over anyone else. We don't think we are better parents than our neighbors because we homeschool. We don't even know that this is what we will do forever. It's what we feel called to do tomorrow, and hopefully the next day, and maybe even for years after that. It's how we want to raise our babies now.
We will struggle. Each day will bring new challenges. And, I'm sure we'll fail more times than we can count. But, that won't be any different than our everyday life. I have a feeling with the hard times, we will also get to experience the beauty of children learning new things, getting excited about all that lies ahead and seeing little souls striving toward the only true goal that matters.
It will be an adventure! One that develops our sanctity I'm sure. And, we are excited to begin, just as we are excited for others to live theirs in ways only they know is best. Pray for us...we always need it.