Archive for April, 2012

Top 2 on…Oh, Forget It

Alright, so apparently I don’t read as many blogs as I thought I did. Thus, I believe that this will be the last week of “Top 3 on Tuesday,” at least until I find another cool blog to share. Perhaps in the future, this will continue as a sporadic series. Really, though, who can tell at this point?

Since the purpose of this series was to share some good reads, I did want to share two articles I read this week that were very timely to me. Since our family has been spending a lot of time trying to preserve our cherished “family time,” I read with interest two articles that dealt with that very subject.

The first was from her.meneutics (say, that’s another blog I read, albeit not regularly). It was called, “Mourning the Death of Family-Friendly TV”, and to be honest, I started reading it thinking I was going to get on my high horse regarding the lack of quality broadcasting these days. Instead, I ended up on my high horse regarding the need for quality time as a family. I know, I know–I shouldn’t get on my high horse. It’s bad and prideful. I’m working on it.

(But it was a good read.)

Then, I was very surprised to read the latest entry in the “What I Want You to Know” series over at Rage Against the Minivan. It was written by a teenager who was mourning the fact that her mom went back to work three days a week (ahem). Much of what she wrote sounds, um, retro (read: backwards) by today’s standards, and so I was a little surprised it was posted on such a “forward thinking” blog. However, it was honest and heartfelt, even with all the solipsism that one would expect from a teenager. Plus, it really made me think about the way my employment decisions affect my kids.

I honestly did search for a third blog to fit this theme of “the counter-cultural preservation of the family structure,” but I came up short. Thus, you only get a “Top 2.” Sorry about that. If you find a third, I’d love to read it!

Have you read anything good this week?

The Surprising Ease of Selling my Soul

I had an experience last Tuesday.

I walked into Brilliant Sky for the first time.

And I stopped caring about poor kids.

You may not be aware of this, but we are planning on homeschooling Luke and Anna next year (that was a joke–not the homeschooling part, but the part about your awareness, after last week’s overwrought series on the subject).  Thus, I have spent way too much time researching homeschool curriculum, checking out the legal standards for homeschooling in Tennessee, and discussing with my husband (and my best friend and whomever will talk with me about it) the differences between Singapore math and Horizons math and the pros and cons of buying a multi-subject curriculum package versus a custom-built package.  Needless to say, then, I have been fairly education-oriented of late.

And that’s why, when I walked into Brilliant Sky, I died.  Right there, on the spot.  Dead.

It was so incredible.  So many resources.  And puzzles.  And workbooks.  And great, imaginative toys.  So many kits designed to spark creativity and discovery.  So many fun, intelligent games.  So many crafty items.  So much cuteness.  I could hardly bear it.  I wanted it all.

And in that moment, I just wished I had, like, a thousand dollar gift card for Brilliant Sky.  I didn’t want a thousand dollars to drill wells in Africa.  Or to pay for a child’s education who would not receive one otherwise, while my children will receive an excellent education (or at the very least, a crazy committed teacher) even without one single thing from Brilliant Sky.  Nope, I was so over the “caring for the world” thing.  I just wanted all these wonderful toys.

Because really, why save money to sponsor a Compassion child when you could use that money to buy a portable, magnetic puzzle of the fifty states??  We could keep it in the car for practice!  (I have a real blind spot when it comes to magnetic toys.  They always seem like a genius idea at the time, especially when I conveniently forget my kids’ propensity to lose magnets.  And seriously, fifty magnets in the car–what could go wrong?).  And why buy some much needed onesies for the baby of a young single mom when I can get a set of 26 bean bags with the letters of the alphabet on them?  Think of all the fun games we could play!  Well, actually, I’m trying, and I can’t really think of any right now…but I’m sure there are fun games to be played that would make it totally worth it to have twenty-six bean bags in my house.

As I walked through and admired all the learning tools the store had to offer, I found that it was surprisingly easy to totally forget about all my financial priorities.  Well, I guess I didn’t forget about them, as much as I bemoaned them.  I even had the thought, “I wish I was just really rich, and I could buy all of these things and help the poor.”  Ha!  What a saint I am!  What sacrifice!  “Yes, Lord, I would love to help those less fortunate…if only I don’t have to sacrifice anything to do it!  And in fact, instead of simply not sacrificing, can You also give me everything I want?  That would make it so much easier, trust me.”

Really, I think the store spoke to my deep, deep love for my children…which is not a bad thing.  What is a bad thing is my ongoing temptation to completely focus on them and never come out of my little bubble of “family.”  I realized as I walked through the store that while homeschooling is going to present us with some great opportunities, it is also going to magnify that temptation to turn my back on the world and live for “me and mine.”

I gave myself a good talking-to, and ended up walking out without buying anything.  Frankly, I just didn’t have the money to be spending on frivolous things that we honestly didn’t need.  The experience did make me think, though, about how hard it is to be a good steward sometimes.  

I thought about it again yesterday, when my children were playing with two of their friends in the backyard.  For the most part, they all played wonderfully together, but the green-eyed monster did come out sometimes when there weren’t enough toys to go around.  At one point, both Luke and Anna were highly jealous that their friends were playing with their butterfly nets, even though these nets had been laying around for the taking for most of the afternoon.  So while they pouted and begged their friends to hand them over, I called them each over separately for a talk.  Luke had the hardest time, so his was the longest.  It went something like this:

Me [totally in teacher mode]:  Hey buddy, let me ask you a question.  How many butterfly nets do you think your friends have at home?

Luke:  I don’t know–how many? [He actually seemed curious.]

Me:  Zero.  And that means that the only time they get to chase butterflies with nets is when they come over here.  But you and Anna, you get to use them every day whenever you want.  So do you think you can just let them enjoy using the nets for a few minutes?

[Luke’s answer reflected that he did not think he could do that.]

Me:  Well, let me ask you something else.  Why do you think God let you have a butterfly net?  Do you think He did it just for you?

Luke:  I don’t know.

Me:  Remember, everything God gives us is not just for ourselves, but for others.  So our nets should be as much for our friends as for ourselves.

[Luke started whining, still not buying it.]

Me:  I know, buddy.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to share.  I understand if you can’t do it.  So…if it is too hard, maybe we should just go ahead and give the nets to them?  If we can’t handle having them and sharing them, then maybe we should just go ahead and give them away.  Then it wouldn’t be a struggle anymore.

That last part just came to me, and maybe it is just me, but it made perfect sense in my mind.  All of a sudden, I saw that idea applying to more than just butterfly nets.  There’s no way to ever put it into a hard and fast rule, or even a consistent principle, but it did occur to me that one easy way of solving the problem of using my spare funds wisely was to give them away.  If it is that much of an internal struggle, then why not end it?  Why not just say, “Get behind me, Satan,” and put the money safely in God’s kingdom?

Hmmm…I am going to have to remember that…maybe even next time I’m in Brilliant Sky!

When are you most tempted to throw stewardship out the window?  And how do you keep your financial priorities in focus?

Three Signs that I am a Great Date

1.  When it’s my turn to pick the restaurant, I pick one with a name like, “The Silly Goose,” because I want to try their couscous and shrimp.  Only, I don’t check to see how far away it is, or if it is even open, which leads to events like a cross-town drive to a closed restaurant.  And then my second choice is a little vegetarian joint in the same building called, “The Wild Cow,” and only when that is firmly vetoed do I settle for the much-more-normal Mexican option across the street.

2.  Over dinner, I ask questions that need lots of prefacing, such as, “Pretend you have no presuppositions about either religion or science.  Wipe away all the things you believe.  Now look around this restaurant at all the people and clothes and behavior and answer this:  Would you say, based totally on present observation, that this species evolved accidentally or that they were created by a higher power?”  This is my idea of a conversation starter.

And like a good date, I stay off my recently-updated iPhone…until the very end of dinner, when I can’t resist playing the new game I got for the kids, Math BINGO.  After I inexplicably miss 7 X 1 twice (it’s not 8, Kim), I decide it will be fun to challenge my date with this rousing game.  As we exit the restaurant, I set it on the hardest setting and pepper him with incisive questions like, “What’s 15 X 19?” on the way to the car.  Since I have to plug his answers into the Bingo board, he gets several steps ahead of me (although, thinking back on it now, it’s possible that he actually might have been fleeing me), which causes me to have to call out the questions a bit louder.  It is only after I yell, “136 divided by 17!” followed by a triumphant, “BINGO!” that I look up to see everyone in Hipsterville staring at me through their thick, horn-rimmed glasses.  Oops.  I just smile and shrug, like, “What??  Doesn’t everyone play Math BINGO in their spare time?” before laughing all the way to the car.

3.  As much as I do appreciate the standard dinner-and-a-movie, movies today are too expensive (not to mention that most of them are not worth seeing.  Did you know that there is currently one out on Redbox called, The Evil Bong?  Not joking).  I’m not even a movie snob (the last three movies I saw in theaters were The Hunger Games, Sherlock Holmes, and Mission Impossible 4) but the combined price and stupidity of most movies make them a no-go for date nights.  For me, the next best thing is a bookstore.  Barnes and Noble is our basic stand-by, but tonight, my date opts to try out a huge used bookstore we’d heard about, and I’m all for it.  I spend most of my time perusing the children’s books and Christianity books, coming away with a few things for the kids’ Easter baskets.

So yeah, if vegetarian restaurants, Math BINGO, and used bookstores are your thing, I would make one awesome date.  For the other 99.9% of the population who are sighing in relief right now that you and I will never have to go on a date, I wish you all the happiness in your own dates with your significant other.  As for me and mine, we spent the drive home from the used bookstore singing Mumford and Sons songs with the windows rolled down and admiring all the greenery in Nashville.  At one point, I caught my date looking at me, and so I turned and smiled at him, and he told me I was pretty and declared that he “married up.”

And I realized that I am a great date…to the person who matters.

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So, um, where do normal people you like to go on dates?

Weird Homeschoolers: …and a Match

Don’t you hate it when parents complain that their child is just not challenged enough in class?  The kid might be failing, might be a bully, might be making paper airplanes when he should be working, and it seems like the knee-jerk parental assessment of the situation is that little Johnny is simply too smart, and that’s why he is having trouble.  Because, you know, every parent thinks their child is brilliant, me included.  And also, every parent is tempted to brag on every good thing their child does, me included.  I don’t think that this is necessarily bad; children need people who think they are amazing, after all.  I just think that it gets old quickly to the people who are not the parents of said child.

Thus, consider yourself warned:  this post might have some, um, facts that could be construed as “bragging.”  But to the nay-sayers, I say, “I’m not actually bragging; I’m complaining.”  Because that is so much better, right?

When we first talked to Luke’s new teacher back in November, I was one of “those moms” who fretted that her child might not be challenged in class.  To his teacher’s everlasting credit, she suppressed her eyerolls and said that she would do her best to see that he was challenged.  She was true to her word:  within a few weeks, she sent home a permission slip for him to be tested for gifted services.  I signed and returned it the Monday after Thanksgiving break.

On April 17, I have a meeting to discuss the results of that test.

That is almost five months later.  In the meantime, my child has been making troubling comments such as,

“I have not learned one thing in school this year.”

“We just do the same thing over and over every day.”

“What is the point of school?”

These comments vex me.

Thankfully, I am not alone in my concern and frustration; Luke’s teacher feels it, too.  In fact, the reason Greg’s and my homeschool conversations got cut off in February was because his teacher scheduled an S-Team meeting for Luke.  Apparently, the first wave of results from his testing had come back, and he was deemed by the out-of-school tester to be “brilliant.”  In reading, he scored in the 99.8th percentile for five-year-olds across the nation.  In math, he scored in the 95th.  He didn’t do as well in “academic knowledge” (78th percentile), but still, the tester said it had been a long time since she had seen scores that high.  His teacher, being wonderful, immediately kicked it into high gear and called a meeting with the principal, the school psychologist, and the school counselor.

The meeting really impressed me.  Even though there are hundreds of students at that school, many of whom are ELL students, everyone in the room seemed genuinely committed to giving Luke a quality education.  We brainstormed different ways to enrich his learning experience and came up with the following:  1) he would meet daily with a first-grade reading group, 2) he would work with both his teacher and the reading specialist to keep advancing in reading (the benchmark level for kindergarten is level 4, and he is working on level 28), 3) he would be given independent writing projects to work on, and 4) he and I would do special social studies projects on the different cultures in his class.

Part of the reasons we came up with all these ideas was because Luke still did not qualify as “gifted,” because the test was not complete.  Thus, he could not participate in the gifted program at school because there was not that piece of paper that deemed him eligible.  Furthermore, as I looked through the test results, I saw that there was a good chance that he might not qualify as gifted, despite his sky-high reading and math scores.  Those were just two elements in a variety of testing areas.  One area that he seemed not to do well in was called something like, “Observable Behaviors.”  I asked the psychologist about this and she explained that those were actions that the tester observed while the child took the test.  Unfortunately, some of them were tricky.  For example, one behavior that indicates giftedness is the unwillingness to move from one subject to the next since the gifted child tends to get engrossed in his tasks.  However, that behavior contradicts the norms of politeness, and the tester had said that Luke was extremely polite.  Thus, the psychologist concluded that Luke probably lost points if he quickly obeyed the tester when she said it was time for the next subject.

Seriously?

When I came away from that meeting, my one annoyance was how much depended on the results of this specific (and it seemed to me, highly subjective) test.  Otherwise, I was highly impressed.

Unfortunately, reality soon intervened, and much of our plan ended up falling by the wayside.  For example, Luke was not too keen on leaving the classroom for a first grade reading group, so when the first grade teacher had to take an extended leave of absence, Luke’s teacher didn’t think he was socially ready to go to another one.  I agreed with her decision, but that scrapped the reading group part of the plan, which was supposed to be a daily thing.  Then, he was too shy to present his story to the class, so we stopped getting those assignments.  She had also been sending him home advanced homework assignments, but those ended up falling by the wayside, as well, probably because she has nineteen other kids in her class.  I didn’t press the matter because I figured I’d been a big enough pain already.  Instead, I went to the library every week to get readers on his level, and we would read them together at night.  I would also remind his teacher to send home the higher level books so that he could keep progressing that way, and we practiced those, too.  In addition, we worked on our social studies projects, and also spent time each night practicing writing numbers at the teacher’s request…since apparently being brilliant does not include knowing which way your sixes go.

For me, the end result was that I felt we were spending way too much out-of-school time on schoolwork, and became increasingly frustrated that he still did not qualify for gifted services during school hours.  When I got a permission slip to have him tested for “talent,” in order to be invited to the gifted program next fall, it kind of pushed me over the edge.  Maybe it was because the night before Luke had cried in frustration about how bored he was all day at school.

One reason his frustration bothered me so much was because back before Luke even started school, before we even knew where we would send him, I had spent a lot of time thinking about what it meant to be truly “educated.”  After much consideration, I settled on three simple characteristics of an educated person.  The first and most important characteristic was

a love of learning.

Right now, my son has a love of learning.  He is full of questions, and we are always talking about what something is, or why a thing is so.  The other day, he was blown away by the idea that humans can only live on planet Earth, and not the other planets in our solar system.  Even though I explained it to him thoroughly, he would not give up hope that scientists have simply overlooked something:  “But have you seen how close Venus is to Earth?  I bet we could live there.”  “Or what about Saturn?  It’s so big!”

Already though, he is beginning to despise school.  And my fear is that one day soon, his dislike of school will begin to snuff out his love of learning.  And when he is on a third grade reading level and still learning basic alphabet sounds in class, I fear that day will come sooner rather than later.

That’s why, the morning after his breakdown, I started researching homeschool curriculum.

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And that, my friends, concludes our three-part, epic saga detailing why we are considering the homeschooling lifestyle.

Weird Homeschoolers: Kindling…

I can so clearly remember the dread that enveloped me as a child those nights after the first days of school.  Each year, I was typically excited about the first day back to school, even after a fun summer break.  I loved shopping for new school supplies, and I always looked forward to seeing my friends again, meeting my teachers, and getting a glimpse into how my school year would look.  First days were so fun.

That night, however, I would realize suddenly that after every first day…came a second day.  And a third.  And so on.  It hit me that those days would not be as fun.  And it occurred to me that I had no choice but to participate in them, to meet their demands.  Furthermore, I was depressingly aware that even my parents did not have much of a choice.  Since homeschooling never seemed to enter any of our minds (least of all mine), it appeared that we were all at the mercy of the traditional school system.

Since I actually kind of enjoyed the traditional school system once it got rolling, I usually rebounded quickly from my funk and moved on with the business of the school year.  However, there was always that brief time each fall where I suddenly felt trapped by the crushing burden of eight hour days, 40-hour weeks of enforced learning schedules.  I felt like a helpless pawn in an unalterable system, a system over which I had no control.

(And yes, I know that I might have been a morbid child to delve so deeply into despair each year.  I think I get that tendency from my father.  He once told me of a time when he saw an airplane fly overhead while coming back from squirrel hunting to his rural Kentucky home.  Instead of excitement at seeing the airplane, my dad was filled with depression at the thought that he would most likely never fly in such a contraption.  Like me, he felt trapped in his world.  However, I generally had much less reason to feel trapped than he, as I was the privileged daughter of a man who, as a business executive, flew in lots of airplanes.)

That dread came back to me at the beginning of this year when I sent my kids back to school after Christmas break.  Often, parents are somewhat relieved to send their kids back to school and to settle back into their normal routines.  Not me.  To me, it felt so incredibly wrong.  We had enjoyed such a wonderful Christmas holiday, and the few weeks of together time just made me want more.  Thus, it was with deep mourning that I packed my son off to his eight hour school day at the beginning of January.  I told myself that it would be good to get back into a routine, that once I started teaching and everything settled down, I would be thankful for our highly ordered days.

Instead, I found myself feeling slowly trapped by our routines, and that familiar feeling started creeping back up on me, that morbid awareness that we were part of a system that dictated most aspects of our lives.  For example, Luke’s school schedule dictated our family time, limiting it to the 3:00-7:30 pm window between school dismissal and bedtime.  Family time was further cut short by church commitments two nights a week at 5:00 pm, and by Greg’s work schedule, which took up three nights a week.  Then there was the homework for Luke and the teaching prep and grading for me, which stole away even more family time.  Because we felt so squeezed, Greg and I opted not to enroll the kids in any extracurricular activities, like sports or art classes, because we didn’t want to give up even more weeknights, and certainly not our cherished weekends.  That was a shame because I really think my kids would benefit from some extracurricular opportunities.  I also began feeling more and more stingy with our time, reluctant to do even good things, such as service or outreach, because our hours together as a family were so precious to me.

Now, I can just hear the chorus of those who have “been there and done that” saying, “Welcome to reality.”  This is the new normal:  two parents working (often both full-time), kids in school all day, a host of extracurricular activities in the evenings and weekends.  So many people’s plates are much more full than ours, and they seem to be managing, and even enjoying it.  So why can’t we get with the program?

I, on other hand, didn’t enjoy it.  Thus, my question was:  Does this have to be reality?  More and more, I feel squeezed in to this mold, this lifestyle, that I really do not want.  I don’t want to be forever frantically running around feeling two steps behind.  I am keenly aware that I only have one life, one chance at this thing, and I want to spend my time on what is most important to me, not on priorities that culture decides for me.  Maybe “this is the way things are,” but right now, I am rejecting the way things are.  I am blessed to be able to choose a different reality instead.

In my chosen reality, I want to spend my time serving my family and my world.  I want to devote my days to the relationships that are most important to me, which will in turn allow me to more freely give my afternoons and evenings to the other work that God has for me.  If I’ve spent a full day with my children, I will not resent going to tutor in the evening or volunteering some “family time” at World Relief.  I won’t mind going on a weekend youth trip, or worry that it is taking time away from the children whom God has given me.  In short, by taking back time for our family, it seems to me that we will have more time to give to others.  Service won’t just be one more thing to squeeze on top of a forty-hour school week; instead, it will be something we can weave throughout all our days.

Those feelings of dread and reluctance formed the “kindling” to our homeschooling flame.  Back in January and early February, Greg and I circled ’round and ’round the homeschooling option, mulling over its benefits and drawbacks.  Our exploration of this option was prompted by my trapped feelings.  When I am feeling romantic, I describe the “kindling” factor in our decision to homeschool as:

Systemic Rebellion.

Power to the people, and all that!  Down with the Man!  We are taking back our precious hours and devoting them to the pursuits that are most important to us.  So…in your eye, cultural expectations!

And when I am in a more prosaic mood, I simply say,

We didn’t like our schedule.

Because, you know, that’s true, too.

So how do you handle the busyness in your life?  It seems like completely rejecting one’s lifestyle is a tad on the dramatic side.  Do you have any strategies that are perhaps more reasonable?

Weird Homeschoolers

I would never homeschool my kids.

That’s what I said.

Well, really, that’s what I thought.  I didn’t say that because I recognized that it was close-minded and because several people whom I respected homeschooled their kids and because, technically, I saw some value in it.  At the same time, though, I was generally 99.9% certain that homeschooling wasn’t for us.

After all, kids need the structure of school.  And if my kids were anything like me (which Luke is), they would need the constant social interaction that school provides in order to help their overly-introverted selves become normal.  Plus, as Greg points out, kids need to learn to respond to different authority figures, even ones who don’t like them.  They need deadlines and due dates and people who don’t let them off the hook just because they love them.  They need to learn to not be the center of attention, to function and interact with groups of people who might be very different from them.  I could go on.  The bottom line is that I see so much value in the classroom setting.

And yet, here I am…

fairly certain I am going to homeschool my children next year

…and very excited about it.

That’s kind of weird, don’t you think?  I think it is.  I actually am pretty shocked at myself.  What really gets me is how good I think homeschooling will be for Luke and Anna, after being so sure that I would never homeschool them.  It’s quite a reversal of opinion!

At the same time, though, I think we might indeed be the weirdest homeschoolers in the world, which is saying something because…you know what?  Never mind.  I won’t besmirch the community:).  Instead, I will just point out all the ways that we, personallywill be weird homeschoolers:

1.  We are weird people.

Let’s start with the obvious.  Three out of four Kirby’s range from fairly to extremely introverted, and even Anna (our token non-introvert) generally keeps to herself in preschool, despite the other girls’ valiant efforts to befriend her.  Thus, there is a good chance that next year, we are all just going to crawl into a hole and become hermits.  It is a very real concern.

2.  We love the public school system.

Yes, for real.  I think it’s wonderful.  I am so stinkin’ proud of our country that we view education as a right, and that we are committed to providing every citizen with a good one.  Whether we are actually able to do that is a matter for debate, but the idea is right on.  A successful democracy depends on an educated populace, for one thing, and in my opinion, it also depends on cultural awareness and acceptance.  And in public school, you are surrounded by people who are different from you, and you have to learn to get along with them.  That’s a good skill to have, which is why I want to be a part of the public education system.  I want to support this noble effort, and the best way to do that, I think, is to allow my children to participate in it.  

Furthermore, we have loved Luke’s school and the people who work there.  Luke’s teacher has gone above and beyond for him, and I love the principal, the counselor, the reading specialist, and so on.  Luke also loves his classmates, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to volunteer there once a week and getting to know the little children with whom he spends his day.

3.  We are not homeschooling for religious reasons. 

In fact, I am slightly terrified of the idea of indoctrinating my children into my own worldview.  I know that is weird, since my biggest hope for them is to become Christians, but I want them to choose it, you know?  I want them to hear other viewpoints and perspectives, to have other teachers who disagree with them (and us), and to grapple with other worldviews.  If our house has a motto, it might be something like, “The truth is strong.”  And so, I’m not afraid of exposing my children to contradictory worldviews.  To me, faith that is not tested is not faith at all.  That’s probably why I found myself researching secular curriculum instead of the Christian material that makes up the lion’s share of homeschooling curriculum.  The curriculum we finally chose is Christian, but we chose it only after reading many critiques about its “controversial” nature and how it gives other views instead of  just the biblical view.  That’s what got us.

4.  None of our friends homeschool.

At least, none of our friends in Nashville homeschool.  In South Carolina, almost all of my friends homeschooled; I was the weird one for sending my kids to public school.  In Nashville, however, a disproportionate amount of our friends work in the public school system, and so now we’re weird for homeschooling.  Apparently, I have a perverse desire to look at what all my friends are doing, and then do the opposite.  Perhaps I need to explore that tendency…

Until then, those are just a few reasons that we are going to be weird homeschoolers next year.  In light of those facts, you might be asking, “Why in the world are they going to homeschool their children?”  And even if you aren’t, just know that I’m going to blather on about that very subject for the next few days.  So if this topic does not interest you at all, then…um…see you next week?  We’ll miss you!  (For real.)

To the four people who are left, I will get to the two big reasons soon.  They need elaboration.  For now, here are some of the smaller reasons:

Our kids want to.

We want to.

Greg’s schedule is the mirror opposite of the typical school schedule:  his busy times are evenings, weekends, and the summer.  If homeschooling is convenient for anyone, it is the minister’s family.

My two biggest passions in this life (besides the overarching passion for God and my family) are writing and teaching my kids.  When I do those two things, I feel the most alive.

Nashville has so many opportunities for homeschoolers.  Seriously, it’s incredible.

My best friend is moving up here soon (God-willing), and she homeschools her boys, who are my kids’ good friends.  We have big plans for collaboration.

I’m sure there are more little reasons that make homeschooling appealing to us, but I can’t think of all of them right now.  The bottom line, though, is that, as convincing as those factors are by themselves, they would not have pushed us over the edge.  I would describe the two factors that did push us over the edge as

kindling…

and a match.  

But more on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you have children, how did you choose to educate them, and why?  

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