You all, I got some wonderful answers and advice to yesterdays musings on homeschooling versus Christian school, doing it all, etc etc... Lots on Facebook and some on here as well. I thought I'd share the advice that I recieved in hopes that you might be blessed as well. I hope these unnamed (except for good ole mom *wink*) folks don't mind my sharing their excellent tips and advice! :)
My Mother says:
let them run free as lambs and stay away from book work til around age 7. This takes a lot of stress out of homeschooling. As a child wants to learn, teach that particular thing. The mind is not ready for any type of formal schooling until around 7. When you try to do things ahead of time, it only frustrates you and them. Keep the pressure off of yourself until it is time. If you feel pressure to "perform" the kids will also. I think that this advice was given as the first 7 years are the formative years of character building, and where the focus should be. Then when you have their hearts, you can teach them easier and they will be more moldable. They dont need to know so much at such a young age. The more you can hold off teaching them to read, you can read to them the books you want them to learn from before they decide what they want to read, which could be everything and anything they get their hands on, including tabloids in the stores. You are doing a way better job than you think you are, Sarah. They will grow up, they will get the wiggles out, Find time for yourself as often as needed. You are teaching every waking hour they are up. More is taught by watching you do things than you ever imagine. God is a constant strength, the devil a formidable foe. Don't feel "guilty" or "not good enough" That is a trap of emotions that the devil is obviously riddling you with at the moment. He knows our weaknesses and will pester us over them. You will come out on top and know in your heart what the right thing is to do.We all as parents need to feel "empowered" and have wisdom every single step of the way. It is even character building for us. Sending a child off to school does not take away the difficulties. It may even add to it. The way it appears, you are a big inspiration here on line and on your blog! Believe it! , I would most certainly do it all over again! Was it easy? No! Rewarding in the end? Yes, did I have doubts along the way? yeah, But, I see in the end, I have a daughter that is a wonderful wife, mother, Godly woman, strong in her church, influential for Christ and is raising and desiring children to be the same! I don't know if I would change anything for that! These things do not come about by accident! - thanks mom. ;)
. At this age, there are things to explore--grass, bugs, birds, etc. Their pretend play is learning, but too much structure "to learn" only creates tension and pressure for Mom and the kids. Let them play freely outside as much as possible Mrs. White says "free as lambs" until 8-10 years old. Talk to "J" about what happens when kids are started with "book" learning too early. Their eyes, and little brains are not developed enough and it generally manifests itself in other behavioral problems. Books are great--spend time reading to them--Bible stories--the reading and just having the quiet time with Mom is the best learning experiences that can be provided at this age. Then let them play. I know I am on my soapbox--I can't help it--I had to learn some of these things the hard way. Formal homeschooling really should not be started before age 7-8--I firmly believe in homeschooling. Mother's should be the childs teacher whenever at all possible. It will not be frustrating when the child is ready. It will be a very rewarding experience for both Mom and child at the right time. Too many "activities" cause pressure/tension and manifest itself in irritability and behavior issues. Follow a regular schedule when it comes to sleeping, eating, worship times and consistent discipline ( a few rules consistently enforced) and then let them be "free" to explore and play with Mom always close by to answer questions and be a support and your kids will be the smartest and most well-behaved kids around. And Mom will be less stressed and happier as well. In addition, bathing your kids in prayer, which I know you already do, will send you the help and strength when you need it most. Sorry, Sarah, to be so long winded. I think you do a marvelous job with your kids, they are well behaved and very sweet. It is a challenge and you really have your hands full right now. But make sure that you take time for yourself. Set aside a specific time--however long you can manage--and let the kids know that this is Mommy time--and they are not to interrupt. I know this is easier said than done, but they will soon catch on and respect your alone time.
I feel exactly the way you do about all the reasons to keep my 4 and 3 yr. old home. I am very passionate about keeping them home away from influences I can't control. Our social life has seriously taken a hit as we've become more picky about playmates as our children get older.
There have been days that I would like to call up our little Adventist school and enroll my 4 yr. old just so I can have some time and some peace of mind. And to be very honest, I am quite certain that if I had 3 (like yourself) I would very seriously consider some part time pre-K because, let's just be honest, I ain't supermom! If you do decide to do some part time, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT allow yourself to feel like a failure. You are the furthest thing from a failure and you will not become a less godly mom if you provide your child with some outside educational opportunities. As mothers of the faith, we are protective, we are simple, we are deeply devoted to raising our children for heaven - but we are not above admitting when the time has come for a little help.
I think if you allow your precious Hannah to be exposed to another teacher, who loves Jesus and has been professionally trained to teach children her age, I think that is a choice you can be proud of. You can not do it all. It's okay to to admit when reinforcements are needed.
Also, if you see things that you do not like - i.e. the negative influences of other children, you can always bring her back home, quick as can be. It's not a forever decision, putting her in part time pre-k. It's just a chance for mama to get some balance and for Hannah to learn some different (good) things.
You don't lose if you enroll her in school. You don't win if you do. I'm just saying - if you feel like you need to, want to, might go a little crazy if you don't, then you should consider it. And you are not less of an awesome mother than you already are!
Fast and pray. The Lord will give you peace when you decide yes or no. He will give you strength for your days. He will give you wisdom. He will tell you what is very best for Hannah and your family. He is faithful
Sometimes one is better, sometimes the other is better. I have been feeling the same way -- just SO uncertain about whether I can really DO this!! So much planning and nervous about implementing. There's just something different about "teacher" vs "mom". But we'll do what's best at the time. God will help us make the right choices and help everything work out for good.
One gal, RR suggests I just need an energy boost! (maybe some added sleep? a high dose of Vit B? :) I couldn't agree with you more, Rose! Especially after these past 2 weeks! Anyone would feel a bit tuckered out!
So as you can see, lots of great advice and principles here to ponder! I hope you were blessed by reading and that we as mothers striving for our children's salvation will prayerfully ponder the pathways of our children and ask Jesus for the best path to follow. Blessings!