Monday, April 5, 2010

To homeschool

If you keep up with the Bray family via facebook, then you know that we have recently made a huge announcement. Starting in September, I have decided to homeschool my handsome little boys... at least for a little while. And if you are reading this right now, I can only assume that you might be a little curious as to why we have decided this is best for our family. Let me explain...

When you look at a child's elementary school experience in 2010, compared to what it was during our elementary days, you can't deny that things have changed dramatically. When I was in those early grades, I remember standing in line to go to lunch, but praying first before we left the classroom. I remember going on field trips, and my mom was there enjoying it with me. I remember having birthday parties during class, with cupcakes and whatever else the child's mother blessed our palettes with. I remember my mom volunteering in my class and learning who my friends were and knowing how I behaved at school. I had lots of fun, lots of friends, and I loved school.

In 2010, the children are not allowed to pray together. The teachers are not even allowed to talk about God in school. They are only allowed two field trips a year, and the parents are not allowed to accompany them. Absolutely no birthday parties! Last year, it was like a federal case, just to enable Bryson's class to have some sort of Christmas party. It couldn't be before lunch because the school system wouldn't allow us to compete with lunchroom sales. If we did it after lunch, the total calories couldn't be more than 100. It was crazy. I was able to volunteer in Bryson's class last year. I knew every single child in his class. This year, I've not been allowed to volunteer in his class. It's very frustrating. And within the first two weeks of school, I had to speak with his teacher about a bully in his class.

In December of last year, I sat at a friend's house complaining about all these things and more. I was very frustrated. I looked at her and shrugged, "But there's nothing I can do." She said, "Oh yes there is. You can homeschool". This comment stuck in the back of my mind for the next few months.

As I pondered the possibility of pulling Bryson out of the school system and never enrolling Camden in Kindergarten, it seemed crazy, but it felt right. The more I've thought about it, the more sure I am that it's the right thing for us right now. All the negative influences of this world are coming at our children at a much younger age than they came at us. Are they really ready to withstand that kind of pressure? Is five years at home enough to make them ready before trusting the school system to do what's best for them? Are they even going to be able to enjoy their elementary years? Personally, I don't think so. So I am going to take the next three years to instill in them the values, morals, ethics that I want them to have (that I believe God wants them to have) before I put their well-being in the hands of the school system.

I know this is a huge decision. I know it's controversial. I know many people will make negative comments. One person even said to me, "So you want your children to be socially awkward?"

But I truly believe I am doing the right thing. I believe I am doing what is best for my children. I believe I am doing what God wants me to do. And that's all that matters to me.