click here for the first part of this series..
and here for the second part of this series on transitioning from homeschool to public school
Deep in the heart of December, our family ventured on a new path... after 8 1/2 years of school at home, we registered our son for public school. So many much wiser than I told me that the transition would be much more difficult for me than for him. While I nodded my head and said such things as "I'm sure it will be."... I truly had no idea!
While he's been learning his lessons in the brick and mortar school just 2 miles away, here are some lessons this mother's heart has been learning here at home...
1) grace. This is one lesson I have to learn over and over and over again. Grace says "yes, you are right" when someone whose children are less than stellar says "you know, you can't hold on to them forever. It's time to let go!"
Grace says "Thank you for your call and for your apology" when the principal admits they tested your son on a test you specifically asked them not to do.
Grace says "Yes, he's here to run track and play football. And, I still feel like home school was the best option for Kindergarten through half of 8th grade" when someone says "so, you've finally given up and are realizing that public school isn't so bad, huh?"
2) prayer. It's been my desire to pray regularly for my children for a long time. I don't always succeed at praying daily... so God gave me an incentive to pray. I have never prayed so much and so hard for that boy of His. The joy comes in the morning prayer with him before he walks out to the bus or before he gets out of the truck at the front entrance to the school.
3) positive peer pressure. Years ago, a very wise godly woman revealed a secret to me. At that time I was preparing to homeschool Eric and Emily and she was finishing her homeschool time with her kids. She told me she had just discovered the value of positive peer pressure. Her son had reached a point in his home education where he no longer was willing to work hard in his education. He no longer strived for excellence... he needed someone or something to strive with and against. When he transitioned from home school to Christian school, he had other students to compete with and he resumed working hard in his education. All these years later, I saw this with my 13 year old son and am seeing the wisdom of positive peer pressure as he is striving at school to work hard and succeed in the classroom.
4) quiet. I am still amazed at how quiet my home is with just that one gone. The girls are still here and we are still doing school each day... nothing has changed and yet everything has... school is usually finished by lunch time in a much quieter and more peaceful environment. I no longer am hearing "Errriiicccc!" And, I have to say, this is a blessed bonus I didn't expect. ; )
5) joy. I had no idea that brick and mortar school would bring my son such joy. He absolutely loves it! He loves the variety... he loves the social aspect... he loves the challenge. I really don't think there is anything he doesn't like about going to school. And, this mother's heart finds joy in her son's joy.
6) trust. This is another lesson this mother's heart has to learn over and over and over again. I used to think I would be entrusting the school with my child. However, He has been faithfully showing me that He's the One, and the only One, to whom I have to entrust my kids. And, He loves them more than I.
7) responsibility. This lesson isn't just for Eric... it's for me too. I'm learning that my responsibility as a mother is to let him make some mistakes... let him forget some things... and let him learn from them. I can be here to help him but I can't do it for him. When I am irresponsible and do not require his responsibility, I am not helping him... instead, I am hindering him from developing a sense of responsibility for himself and in essence, handicapping him for life.
8) pride. This mother's heart struggles with pride. While I am very proud of my kids and who they are... I am often more proud of myself and what I've done to make them that way. The honest truth is that they are who they are by the grace and mercy of God.. not anything I have done. In fact, because I am a sinner, I've probably done more harm than good in their lives. I am proud of how well Eric has transitioned to public school and have realized he's done that because of the incredible young man that God has made him, not because of me.
9) love. The first few weeks of Eric being gone I thought I would go nuts. I'm so used to having my kids around... and I like being with them. They are often funny... witty... thought provoking. In fact, the very first day of school I found myself incredibly restlesss... missing my boy that much. It has been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I am seeing the truth in that statement. I know I feel that way and I think Eric does too. When he comes home from being gone for 8 hours, he's genuinely happy to see us. I think my love for him has deepened because of the time I am away from him.
10) letting go. Yep.. this is a hard one. This is the one most people have commented on and apparently, most people think that I should have let go a long time ago. Honestly, though, I'm not sure a mother's heart ever truly lets go. My own mom revealed to me that parenting never gets easy... it just gets different. I so think this is true. Parenting now is much harder than it was when Eric was 2... much harder but more rewarding. I don't ever want to truly let go of my kids. I want to raise them to move on and start their own lives... but I want them to always know they have a family where they belong and a mom with a mother's heart that loves them.