Oh, So You’re THAT Mom…

I didn’t hear those words last night, but I most certainly received the looks that conveyed that message.

Last night was Meet the Teacher at Davey’s School.   School is an exciting time for me.  I’m a nerd.  I love school.   I love to learn, and at times I love to teach my sons.   Unfortunately for me, and my sons, my personality has yet to equip me with the capacity to be a home school mom, which means I send them to a Christian school two days a week.

Davey will be four, one month from today, but he is starting into K3 thanks to the State of SC’s lovely cut off.  I have mixed emotions about this which I will address later.

So, Davey will be in a classroom with kids younger than him, some by almost a full year.   At this age, I shouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it, and that’s what I keep telling myself.

When meeting the teachers last night, I was thrilled to see that his TA (Teacher’s Assistant) will actually be the same one he had last year for K2.   It took a load off of me, allowing me to literally wipe the sweat that had started beading up on my forehead.   He loved Mrs. Whaling, and the fact that she knows him AND me, is making this process a little bit easier.   As for his new teacher, I need to warm up to her a bit.

She’s young.  She graduated college seven years after I did.   Her one advantage in my eyes is that she went to Bob Jones University here in Greenville.   It’s a great university, which instills a lot of love and faith in Christ in its students, something I know she’ll bring with her.   Even with that under her belt, her age still bothers me.   Yes, I’m discriminating.   I’m trying to stop, but as my husband says, she’s a little too bubbly for him, but maybe bubbly is what our kids need.

My biggest concern; however, was when I inquired as to what the curriculum would be like for K3.   When she explained it to me, my heart sank.  I nicely explained to her, with a compassionate smile, that Davey is already well ahead of the game.   He already writes his upper case letters.   He’s learning to write his lower case letters now.   He knows how to spell some words.  He can write his numbers, at least all the way up to 10, and he’s even started learning mathematics.   He knows sounds and has begun to sound out words.  He knows more than a lot of current K4 students know.

As I explained this to her, she looked at me and said, “well, I guess when Sue takes the kids to their centers, I could work one on one with Davey.”  That sentence rubbed me the wrong way.  I wanted to say, “you GUESS?”

I gave up my career four years ago.  I gave up a big portion of my dreams to be a stay at home mom.   I chose to stay at home so that I could be hands on with the boys, not so that I could have the cleanest house, or the prettiest yard, or more “me” time.   Those three things suffer A LOT, even with me being at home.   They are not my priorities.   My sons are my priorities.   Their continued growth, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, are my number one concern.   From my very first day of being home, I started working with Davey.   I took him to story time at the library, made flash cards with colors, bought puzzles, read him books, played music, all of this in an effort to make him better than me and his dad, to encourage him to be more, and at times I feel as if I’ve succeeded.

Five days a week, I find a way to incorporate a minimum of three hours a day of some sort of “schooling” for my boys.   I don’t follow a curriculum and it’s hard on all of us for me to try to create a school type atmosphere, but they learn.   They learn their manners, they learn about God and our creation, they learn their numbers and letters, they learn their shapes and colors.  They either build upon something they already knew or I add something new onto them.   So, maybe I am leading somewhat of a homeschool life after all.

As my husband and I climbed into bed last night, I told him that I had backtracked from my original statement earlier in the evening.   Today is student orientation and while Davey has that, I’m to attend a Sip and Sob with other parents.   My original intent during the Sip and Sob was to find a way to speak with the Headmaster of Davey’s school to convey my concerns about where he is academically and how he’s penalized because of his age.   By the time I’d gotten into bed; however,  I had changed my mind.

I’m going to let Davey go into K3.  I’m going to let him go back to school with some of his friends.   I’m going to let this play out.  If need be, I can have parent teacher conferences on a weekly basis (which I did last year).   I can, and will, continue to help Davey grow and learn every day.   My husband told me last night that truthfully the only reason either one of our boys are going to school right now is because I need a break from them.   He told me, I do more for them than any school could right now, but that their going was really just to give me a few hours a day, two days a week, to recharge.  I suppose he’s right.

So, this morning, I will drop Davey off for his student orientation.  I will begrudgingly sit in Sip and Sob with these other moms and play my role.  I will let him stay where he is because as my mother in law said to me, right now Davey is a big fish in a little pond.   Wouldn’t I rather like that for him than to be a little fish in a big pond?

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I spend the better part of my days as a mother pondering my children’s education. Yeah, I have a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 3 month old, so I know it’s a bit early. Yeah, I’m aware that when their father and I were kids, there wasn’t as much pressure to put children into K2, K3, and so forth. Here’s the thing, though, I don’t want my kids to just have what their father and I had. I want them to have so much more and to be so much more, not that we turned out bad.

Each day, I spend some time in prayer over what to do. Should I homeschool the boys or should I send them to private school? My husband and I have pretty much agreed on the fact that they will not go into public school for various reasons of which I’ll get to later. I’ve researched a lot of homeschooling options and I’ve asked questions of others who have homeschooled their children. It’s a daunting task to consider and frankly I’m a bit terrified of it.

I have a total of three degrees; an Associates in English, a Bachelors in Communications and Political Science, and a Masters in Business Administration. I am a self described nerd who would love nothing more than to spend the rest of my life going to school and getting various degrees. Not that getting any more education would necessarily improve our household income, but learning new things and studying is almost like a hobby for me, but having all of this education doesn’t necessarily mean I’m equipped to teach my children.

I’m horrible with math. I despise it with a passion, that and all things economics. I don’t handle our finances, not because I’m not capable, but because I just loathe it. Math and economics are two of things that pretty much stumped me all through school. If I don’t understand it and I’m no good at it, then how can I teach my boys? Well, there are options such as online classes and homeschool co-ops.

Private schools cost a lot of money which means I’ll need to go back to work, something that I’m still teeter-tottering about. And even if we send them to private school, their education isn’t fully in my hands. There are still people they will encounter and standards to meet; standards that I don’t necessarily agree with. This whole Common Core thing that seems to be sweeping our country is not something I agree with and I’m not on board with my child being taught this way, much like I was never on board with the “No Child Left Behind”. Will my boys really get the best education if I put them into some type of classroom setting?

And finally there’s the whole sex scoundrel, pedophile thing that really concerns me. Just a couple of weeks ago, an elementary school principal from Georgia was arrested for soliciting sex from underage girls, and by underage I’ve read it’s more like 10-12 years of age! How do you explain something like this to your child? How do you explain that people they should trust at school, really are just immoral slugs? Apparently, it’s not just public schools either as locally there’s a former coach from a private Christian school who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. So, this issue isn’t just for the public schools.

There are just so many things to consider with their education and I’m hoping the Lord will open my eyes soon or let me see what I should be doing. I want my boys to grow up well rounded, good kids, with strong Christian values…the Christian values being a big sticking point. They deserve the best and these days the best isn’t found within the public school system, at least not for my boys.

I’m curious…how many of you out there homeschool your children? How many of you send them to private schools? I have one website to visit about homeschooling…www.hslda.org. I’ve started perusing through it and I’ve even started following a few Twitter feeds. If you do homeschool your kids, what advice could you offer to me?