Back to School and Deployment
Back to School and Deployment
It’s time to go “back to school” and for our family this term takes on a new meaning this year. We’ve been a homeschooling family for a few years and while it’s been a great experience and our children have grown incredibly, they are ready to try the traditional school experience. As a protective mommy, I’d love to keep them at home. Not only will traditional schooling be a new experience for the kids, but very soon their daddy is deploying for over a year. In other words, this new season brings lots of change.
My first reaction to their pleas was that they were simply hoping for something easier. And in many ways it probably will be. They will be sitting and doing work for far less time in the classroom than they would be at home, even though they are at school all day. No longer will I have to plan lessons, research creative teaching strategies, grade papers, administer tests, or clean messy art projects. While my list could go on forever, it’s obvious to see things will be easier. My reservations are mostly not having the convenience that comes with homeschooling.
Convenience aside, I also didn’t want my children dictating the terms of their education. We walk a fine line in allowing our children to play an active role in their educational process. We want our children to explore areas that interest them and actively seek out subjects and opportunities that spark their curiosity; however, there are some basic areas of their education that don’t allow them the freedom of choice. Somehow, it felt like trying traditional school was akin to letting them have too much control over their education—I was losing control!
Additionally, switching to a traditional school made me feel as though I was giving in to the anti-homeschooling bullying. Fellow homeschoolers probably know what I am talking about—the nearly constant attacks against our choice to keep our children at home to learn; attacks that suggest ‘children at home are less social than children at traditional schools’ or ‘parents are not licensed educators and therefore aren’t able give their children the proper education.’ By allowing my children to attend public school, I didn’t want it to seem as if I agreed with the anti-homeschooler’s stance or that traditional school was the superior choice. However, after mulling over the idea for a while, I knew I needed to give the decision some serious thought, prayer and unbiased evaluation. After all, our children deserve parents that are willing to consider their opinions and desires.
After lots of prayer and many hours researching schools, my heart began to soften at the prospect of allowing my children to attend a traditional school. In fact, I found an excellent charter school about five minutes from our house whose educational goals and character building values lined up extremely well with our own. Miraculously both of my children were pulled from the lottery and accepted for the upcoming school year. I later realized that school could serve as an escape from home alone with me — a constant reminder that daddy is gone. Even so, I still struggled with the decision. I feared my children weren’t ready for so much change. I found comfort in surrendering my children to God knowing that He will keep them in His protective arms throughout the days ahead. I trusted that He would provide me with the wisdom and discernment I needed to continue to make the best decisions for my children’s education. I am still nervous about this school year but I know in my heart I made the right choice in not allowing my husband’s deployment or my personal fears or pride to deter me from considering my children’s point of view and their desires.
Each family has their own dynamic and since each one of our children is unique, we should allow ourselves the freedom to choose non-traditional routes on the path to personal and educational growth. Whether that means going from traditional school to homeschool, homeschool to traditional school or a combination of using outside educators, our children deserve to be given opportunities to learn that are not guided on fears, worries or convenience, but chosen based on what is most advantageous and helpful to them. My prayer for myself and you as well is that God would give us the strength, wisdom and discernment to make the best decision for our children when it comes to choosing their education. When you prayerfully seek the Lord, be reminded in James 1:5 and Matthew 7:7 that He will answer.
“…live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1 (TNIV)
Laura lives in Colorado with her husband and three beautiful children. She has been married 10 years and has been a proud Navy wife for the last 8 years. She earned her BS from Metropolitan State University of Denver while juggling military life and homeschooling three rambunctious children. Her journey has given her a passion to serve, support and encourage military families. You can find her blog at wivesofwarriors.blogspot.com.