Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Homeschool Or Not To Homeschool?

Image source here.
If you've been following this blog, you'd know that this newbie homeschool mom and her family are in a discernment process again: to homeschool or not to homeschool? You'd also probably know that I've already inquired at a few progressive schools, namely Brainworks, The Learning Tree and Cradle of Joy. I plan to inquire (again!) at Progressive Little Saints too. In my post here, I even listed down the reasons why I liked Brainworks.

The day after I inquired at Brainworks, we brought Tim to The Learning Tree Child Growth Center for an assessment. It went rather well, and I'm guessing I was more nervous than Tim at the time! The teacher was rather surprised that he still wrote his words with fairly large spaces in between letters (needless to say, writing is our waterloo when it comes to homeschooling! *sighs*) and suggested we let him play more with playdough and other things to improve his fine motor skills for writing.

To make a long story short, Tim finished the assessment and the teacher told me we could enroll him in the "Fives" section (he's turning six in October) if we were really interested, then he could take the exam for Grade 1 at the end of the coming school year (which starts in June 2012). Hubby and I are still praying about it though. (We also need to factor in the COST - homaygosshh, school is soooo expensive these days! Imagine, almost P70,000 for preschool! Me thinks our missionary salaries may not be enough to sustain this! LOL!)

BUT I would like to emphasize that we are not nor did not start homeschooling because of the cost (though for many families, it is one factor). We specifically explored and took on homeschooling because we believe it is pro-God, pro-family and, yes, even pro-life. It all boils down to the values we wish to pass on to our children, and the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are parents for eternal life (whether we choose to homeschool or not).

So why the search for a preschool then?

I think it's more of the fear that I am not teaching Tim enough. Especially on the days when I have deadlines to meet or I have to report to the office.

I am also dreading the arguments we have often been getting into when it comes to school time. Yes, we have discipline issues in our home. We're praying for God's grace and working to work things out. BUT, to be perfectly honest, there are days when I wonder, "Lord, would our relationship be better if I weren't Teacher Mama, and just focused on being Mama?"

Also, by DepEd ruling, it is official that kids in the Philippines need to be enrolled in Kindergarten by next year.  So I am a bit "scared" about this too. I sometimes think, "Am I doing Tim (and Rysse) an injustice by keeping him (them) at home and attempting to teach them to the best that I can? Would they be better off learning in a good progressive school?"

Funnily enough though, God has been sending people and posts my way who He seems to be using to say: "HEY! Homeschooling is STILL what I want for your family, SO GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Prioritize, manage your time well, plan ahead - and PRAY!!!!" LOL! Talk about getting the message across, right?! Take a look at these instances during the past week:

1. The teacher at Brainworks said, "You know what, homeschooling is actually good."

2. Tim's Kindermusik teacher, Suzette, when I told her we were thinking about putting Tim in a brick-and-mortar school, said, "Why? Homeschooling is really good. I'm actually thinking about homeschooling the boys." (Her sons go to a traditional Catholic school).

3. I chanced upon these articles online through friends from Facebook pro-life and homeschool groups and websites and on our Catholic community's intercessory prayer group page:

8-Year Old Critical After Washington School Shooting
14-Year Old Homeschooled Girl Receives Death Threats For Defending Marriage
Contraception: An Objective Evil (written by a 15-year old homeschooled girl)
I Want To Homeschool But I Don't Want The Responsibility
The Worst Reason to Homeschool

4. Receiving requests to write about homeschooling on the HAPI Homeschooler website.

5. Receiving this comment from fellow Catholic mom, Holly:
Ok, I dont homeschool, so there is no judgement here...but even though you didnt ask for advice about a decision that is between you, your husband and God, I have some for you my oldest prepares for his last year of what should have been the end of his high school career, I wish I would have continued homeschooling...even if they did mostly videos, they would have been better off. I moved our kids to catholic school during the time of a bad ms exacerbation. Moved them to public school when moving to tx. Each was not what I believe we were called to do. We arent called to raise saints but scholars and it isnt easy to bring them home later. God bless!
(*Though I don't agree entirely with her statement that we're "not called to raise saints but scholars," Holly's comment makes some sense as well.)

And another comment from veteran Catholic homeschool mom of 15 years and NINE children (goodness, how DOES she do it all?!!!), Shannon:
I have been homeschooling forever. My oldest is 21 and never went to a traditional school. There are always times of doubt. All I can say is that God has kept us going year after year. I am pregnant with two more and plan to also homeschool them as long as God allows. Looking back over the years I am very happy that we stayed homeschooling. Good luck with your decision.

And so many other little things.

Anyway... like I said, we're still discerning (I know, I know, I'm pretty stubborn, huh?!). I've set the middle of March as the end of our discernment period (latest, end of March). God help us! Please do pray for us, ok? Thanks! ;-) God bless us all!

+ AMDG +


Editor said...

Oh, I let me add one more voice, Mama Tina! Hehe, I know I have been makulit on email, but -- yes, I'm makulit, you're my friend, you'll learn to live with it :-)

If you have discipline problems at home, don't think they will go away when you share your authority over your children with somebody else. For homeschooled kids, Mommy is the first and last word. How much easier will it be for you to make them obey when their respect and loyalty is shared with teachers and their peers?

May I also add that P70,000 is a huge amount of money by any standard. If you need to make that much more per year, it will require extra time at work -- time you could have been spending with your kids.

I'm not saying you should do or not do one thing over the other. I just wanted to be sure you include the two abovementioned factors in your considerations when you try to balance left and right.

Chris said...

may you make the best decision for your children :) follow what God has put in your heart and don't let other standards cloud your judgement. God bless you!

Truly Rich Mom aka Teacher Mama Tina said...

Mommy Blessie aka Editor - Thank you for your comment. :) For your honest opinions and concern and prayers. I just feel that I'm not being a good mom lately. :( Haay. Anyway, I know "this too shall pass." Thank you, dear, for your words of wisdom! :) You are always one of the calm, reassuring voices in the storm for me, praise GOD! :)

Chris - Thank you, dear. AMEN to what your said! :) Praying for you and your family too! :) God bless always!

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

I've received a few requests to open up “Pay It Forward” to posts from a bloggers own blog. I thought I'd give it a try. Although the original idea was to share what you've seen elsewhere on the internet, I recognize that each time we post something on our own blogs we are also sharing Good News, great tips, wonderful prayers, fabulous photos, scrumptious recipes, hilarious humor, unbelievable books, stories of goodwill, or good things that have knocked our socks off. I hope you’ll post something from your blog.

I'll leave the March linky open until March 14th. (Entered links will appear in two posts.) I can't wait to see what gets posted!

Fleire Castro said...

Hello Tina. I'm stalking you! We have been weighing this one too because of that DepEd thingy. But guess what, our Calvert materials for Grade 1 are being delivered soon! We made the decision because Dabby has made really good progress with reading and writing in the curriculum. Plus, our homeschooling network is really being supportive again. I guess a good community can do wonders with decisions like this. I hope you can still continue homeschooling. Maybe just 2-3 hours per day and videos/activities for the rest of the hours?

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hi Fleire! :) Oh my gosh, can you believe I JUST read your comment?! Yikes! So sorry! Anyway, thanks so much for your encouragement! :) Praying for you guys! Yey homeschooling! :)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hi Holly! :) I am SO sorry - I don't know why I only saw your comment now. :( Anyway, thanks for letting me know! :) I hope you'll have more linkys in the future! :) God bless you!

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