February 26, 2006

Thoroughly Confused

Today is Sunday and I find myself thoroughly and utterly confused and confounded about our change in plans for next year's schooling. Just the other day I posted that I had found the 'right' path for our high school adventure, I was totally confident, and completely at peace that it was the right move, at the right time, and that we were doing the right thing. Today, I am not so sure. LOL!

I know, you are probably thinking "she is just plain nuts!" Well, I will admit it that I am always "nuts" and that it is not uncommon for me to find myself right here in this predicament. I am not really sure why I started to feel uncertain but I think it had to do with the fact that a good friend this week needed my help placing her son into a high school program.

I spent a good part of the week helping her sort through options for her 14yos schooling. He has been homeschooled for 2 years and really does love it. He is flourishing and my friend enjoys having him at home. He is my son's best friend and as such I have been praying for him, his mom and dad, to make the right choice for next year. His mom had concerns about her son and was thinking that a public high school would be the best choice for him. I understand her feelings and while we are committed to homeschooling through high school, I began to doubt our program and began to feel as though time is pressing down on us and that I was at that "make or break" point. I needed to decide the next four years this week because every change from now on would "count."

I was confident in our new choice but the more I helped them, the more I began to question what we were doing and where we were going and how fast we were moving down that road to graduation. As you may or may not know, my son is highly gifted and one of our biggest struggles is to find curriculum that is challenging enough for him. Ambleside Online has been our answer these past two and half years. Our son loves the reading selections and loves the fact that our day is very low-key, flexible, and that he reads something different everyday. Our son is 12 and he is still such a little boy. Academically, he is working at high school level and he probably will continue to do so throughout the next years. But, nonetheless, he is still such a little boy. I don't want him to go into high school, I don't want him to graduate in four years. He will not be ready for the world and I don't want to rush him out of the house.

Like I said, I am not sure what prompted my initial desire to change paths -- it may have been born out of frustration with the lack of planning and teacher support in AO. Don't get me wrong, I love this program. But I struggle with scheduling, planning, and then record-keeping. Maybe it is because I have never home schooled with any other curriculum. I have no other experience to draw from. I want so much for someone to tell me what to do -- I want a pre-packaged curriculum, with teacher books and plans. I want to have it all done for me because my life is so complicated and my time is so limited.

Maybe it is also because this past week and half I have come under criticism from family regarding our schooling choice. I normally let these types of comments roll off me, but this week it was just too much. Maybe, just maybe, I thought that if we used a purely Christian curriculum and one that was tangible (textbooks are tangible), that my family would give me their approval and finally they would stop the criticism of our home schooling.

I don't know. It is hard to know why certain things make us move and other things make us stand still. As I was thinking about everything from this past week, I happened to flip the TV channel to Joel Osteen. I like Joel, BTW, and we often listen to him during the week. Today's message was on being yourself and on accepting who you are in Christ. He talked about how we often seek approval from other people and often will change our minds based on their actions. The problem he said, is that God has annoited our calling, and our situation is unique. We may be doing things differently from our neighbors, our family, our friends, because God has called us to do it. He also encouraged us to stop comparing ourselves to other people. Oh my, did I need to hear that today.

After the message was over, DS and I drove over to my parents house to help with some outside work (it is lovely here - 81!). I asked my son about next year and asked him if he wanted to switch curriculum and use textbooks like his friend does. I asked him if he liked reading different books and doing different subjects every day. I was surprized by his answer - he said he likes what we are doing and would like to continue it. He said "textbooks - like real school?" I said "yes." He said "I would like to continue doing what we are doing this year."

It wasn't eloquent or even overly impassioned. It was sort of matter of fact but it was an honest opinion. In truth, my son is happy with his schooling. He never complains about it (well, maybe just the 'doing it' part) and he always does such a good job.

Maybe the whole problem has been me. I compare myself to others, I feel jealous of what other's are doing or have, I bend when I am criticized, and I waffle when I feel uncertain and when I lose confidence in my abilities.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me today to realize that you have called me to home school my son. Help me to understand that you have annointed me with wisdom to choose the path for my son to follow. Help me to stop comparing myself to other people, to stop seeking approval, and to stop allowing critical remarks to cause me to stumble. I humbly seek your will and know that you will be faithful to help me KNOW exactly what you want me to do and then will provide the tools and resources needed to be able to accomplish your plan for my life.


Dawn ; ) said...

I stand in agreement with you, dear friend. I am confident of this one thing:
"He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it."

Praise Him for all He has done and will continue to do for and through you. Be blessed!d

tootlepip said...

It is so hard to remember sometimes - the only one we need to follow is the Lord. I, too, have found myself doing somethings this school year that I would never have done before. Time to step back and re-evaluate.

Thanks for the reminders not to submit to educational peer pressure.