Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Schooling, homeschooling

Life as a mother is much simpler in Belgium. At 3 years old your little boy or girl goes to school and you do not think twice about it. Schools are free to give religious education, and if you do not like one school, you go to another. So thoughts of homeschooling are very rare.
Here in the US, with a diverse group of friends, you end up feeling guilty and doubting yourself no matter what you decide. Do your friends who homeschool their children love them more? Is it okay to enjoy the silence even if you miss your little boy? You pray, you consider, and then you make a choice. And whatever that choice is, I guess you keep doubting whether or not you do the right thing. School is not biblical? Homeschool is not academically challenging, especially with a second high needs child under foot? School instills a different type of discipline? School might undermine parental authority? I went to public and Christian school and on to a secular university. think I became a devout, well adjusted, happy and academically enriched adult. But to so many people that I admire, sending your children to school seems anathema. And to other people that I admire, even the possibility of homeschooling gives them hives.

For now, Joseph goes to a christian preschool for 3 hours 3 days a week, and we love the school. But already I am worrying about future decisions. Catholic elementary school? We love the one at our church, but do I honestly want to spend thousands of dollars on it? Do I want to homeschool? Does it matter whether or not I want it? Is it automatically best for my child? I loved school. I might not have loved all the social aspects, having been an ackward and weird teenager, but I think school enriched me.

I don't know. I can only pray and make choices for the best.


Olga said...

I feel the same way. In my country (I am from South America) going to school is obligatory, homeschooling is not allowed. I went to a "liberal" American school, because my parents wanted me to learn English, and they did they share by instilling values and the love for the Catholic church at home. I think I turned out well :). But here, is like totally wrong to send your kids to school if you are Catholic, and makes me feel like a bad Catholic if I don't. I prayed to God and we happened to move to a house with a school across the street, I think that is my answer for now, we will go step by step :)

faerieeva said...

Olga, I really have the same experience. Now don't get me wrong, I believe homeschooling is a valid option. It will be best for certain children, or if you live in certain school districts, and it can also be a personal preference. But lately I have heard of several people who indeed try to make you feel bad if you chose any other option. I have read an article on a website that I am very involved in that claims it is un biblical not to homeschool your children, which confuses me as Jesus learned in the temple as well. He was actually called 'teacher'.
I do not exclude homeschooling as an option yet, but...for now, I think I will need to learn to follow the judgement of my husband and myself as to where God is leading us, just like you did!

The Lady of the House said...

We have only one child (6) and feel that public school is our best option. I do understand what you mean about the way others can make you feel. Some of our fellow parishioners homeschool and the aura of superiority they exude is really something. Others send their children to the Catholic school and go on and on about the sacrifices you have to be willing to make to send them there (which usually entails working outside of the home).

We live in a decent neighborhood with a good school. My son is doing just fine. I teach him an hour of religious education every Sunday (our parish has a homeschool option) and we have daily devotionals.

These days it seems that almost every parenting decision is met with such strong opinions from every side. Things seem as if they were much easier in the past.