I'm calm now.
Earlier, I was a flood of emotions- mostly joy. Whether it be from hormones or circumstances or divine thought processing, I was about to burst. And I did on my way home from church as my children loudly sang, "I trust in Jesus, my great deliverer, my strong defender, Son of God" . Tears fell with one hand raised. Savannah was saying, "you're weird" with her look. I had to laugh.
My niece, Ellie, moved from our house to my Mom and Dad's last Christmas and now is back for a week and a half. I really missed her but didn't realize how much. My love for her is as my own children, and is the primary motivation for moving back to where I grew up, a place I never thought I'd be.
I am excited to move close so we can learn together once again, to go on trips, to practice cartwheels, to play basketball, and make so many more memories together. My excitement is somewhat hindered, though, by my past I so desperately wanted to forget. I found who I was little by little after leaving that town. And though I still love the people there, I am haunted by scars I once carried, and I will not be forced to fit in any one's box.
These scars are trying to reopen with every attempt people make to question my decision to home school. They may not be questioning me directly, but if it weren't for my relentless pursuit to home school my niece, she would be taking a very different path right now. So I have tried to think of a proper response if and when I am confronted again. I don't wish to hold on to grudges or build walls. I just want the freedom to do that which I feel is best for my family.
The reasons are endless, but first and foremost this sums it up:
1. I went to that school, and don't wish that on my family. If something didn't work for me, why would I do the same thing for them? I also don't wish to revisit my past by repeatedly entering those walls.
2. (Most) every time I look at each of those children, I wish for more time with them. I wonder where the time has gone and wish it would slow down a little so they wouldn't grow so fast. I want to spend time with them every day. I want to watch them understand concepts, draw pictures, and reenact stories. I want to be the one to take them to the zoo and blaze the trail with them. I want to be in on their jokes, make cinnamon rolls together, and experiment over and over again. I want to be the one they talk to about their fears and sadness. My heart would break if I gave that responsibility to one that didn't know how sensitive Summer is or who didn't appreciate Savannah's curious nature. I just don't want them to leave.
3. For the most part, I am in awe of what successful home school families accomplish. There is a negative stereotype, but people just need to get over it. I attended a two week camp after my freshman year of college which happened to be before public school had ended, and therefore most of the attendees were home schooled. I was blown away. My best friend there was a year younger than I was and was in her junior year in college, pursuing a degree in pre-law. She was absolutely beautiful but what caught my attention was how sweet she was and so easy to talk to. She was not awkward socially or physically, as were most of the others there. These were real people, not trying to show anyone up or fit in. Real, intelligent, people.
4. Growing up, I knew the Bible well and I knew how to be a good person. I did not know, however, to live like a Christian. I didn't live like I really believed. I want to instill true Christian values in my kids. For instance, loving everyone- not tearing them down. Not judging. Trusting always. Never worrying. Praying constantly. If I had known how to live like a follower of Christ, I wouldn't have had self condemnation or tried to prove myself to anyone. That is what I wish for my children, when they are 18, not 34.
5. I had no intention to home school until one morning in MOPS when I heard one mother talk and I just knew. Before I got all of the kids out of the car, I was telling Sook about it. There was no doubt in his support. I can't imagine life any other way. This is what God has told us to do, and if you disagree, then you are disagreeing with God. And that brings me to my last point.
6. I won't tell anyone what to do with their kids, so please don't offer unsolicited opinions to us. This is a very personal decision and has been thought through very carefully. There are things I don't wish to share with just any advice-giver to justify my position, but I can assure you, I know what I'm doing. Don't assume my kids' quirks are due to home school. Other kids have quirks too. They are just being kids. They DO attend a school, a private one, and it is perfectly legal. They ARE learning, and they are happy.
There you go. Even if you didn't get through this long, long post, I will have written out my thoughts. I wish to get along with everyone, to belong to a community, to enjoy to positive benefits of a small town filled with wonderful people. However, my priority is not always to be polite. It is, instead, always for the well being of my children.