Monday, October 21, 2013

why we stopped homeschooling

July. It was July when I last posted here. 
July, then August, then September have passed. 
These days have passed methodically but have brought so. much. change. 

For one, we were submitted to IBESR
(Haitian social services) seeking approval to adopt. 
Things are evolving in Haiti in a healthy but tedious we await news everyday
about our adoption and where we stand, tangled in the red tape that adoption necessitates.

When people ask: "Why does it take so long?"
I tell them that "it takes a long time for two countries to be a part of God building a family."
That's the absolute nutshell version. 

The longer version involves recognizing international adoption as a very sticky place ~ 
one where child trafficking takes place every day and where American dollars
activate laws of supply and demand. 
Trying to wade past corruption to your child, whose story you wait to see validated
and whose hand you will ONLY grasp if their need is proven legitimate and they are truly in need of you, like you need them - without family, without options, without anyone else - 
is like trudging uphill through waist-deep slime.
While holding your breath. 
With an anvil tied to your leg.
And a bag of squirming kitty cats in your arms. 

It is laborious. 

Especially when your child's government is concurrently trying to update their international adoption laws from their last updated set from the 70's. 
And while they reform all social services and matching procedures to accompany the new laws.

All that to say: it takes time. 
These little lives, however, got nothin' but time. 
We believe it's meant to be - that she's meant to be a Floridian with 3 protective, big brothers and 1 beautiful Ugandan, big sister, meant to be ours - and we will chase her til it's proven otherwise. 
So. We wait. Everyday.

For another thing,  we stopped homeschooling. 
This came after so many "come-to-Jesus" talks between the husband and me. 
Many talks which involved him asking...
"Are we just homeschooling because you like your (homeschooling) friends? Why don't you give yourself permission to say you are not wired for it? Why do insist it's more righteous?"

...and me responding: 
"When did you change your mind about what we're doing here? Why are you on a different page than I am? Why aren't you validating what we have been focusing on like character?"

These? Are not so fun to have. 
But, I am being gut-level honest here.

It was humiliating (I won't say "humbling" because it was completely against 
my will to be humbled like this) 
to basically acquiesce. To submit. To allow myself to trust my husband. 
The truth is I have a problem with believing I am wiser than he is. 
I have this underlying belief that I am somehow closer to godliness because I am a good rule-follower much of the time. 
For me, homeschooling has been very comfortable because I like the rules:
no car line, no PTA, no sack lunches, focus on character sometimes to the fault of academics,
take them all to the vet with you and call it "school", eschew mainstream academia and find identity in family...these are such wholesome, Little House on the Prairie-esque rules, and the rules - my rules -
 suited me
I was Laura Ingalls Wilder! 
I was Anne of Green Gables!
I was Jane Eyre!
In other words: righteously contrary. 
Adventurously non-compliant.
 It suited me

It did not, however, suit my husband. 

I had to come to grips with the fact that we were just not on the same page
and it was arduous for me to pry apart my motives and trust him with what was about to come next...sending the boys to school. 
I had to change my stance, not insist verbally or otherwise that he change his. 
I had to trust I would survive, though I was about to be humbled to my core having the last 3 years of homeschooling evaluated by other "real" teachers 
 now finding my personal inadequacies conveyed in my kids' academic shortcomings.
I had to believe we would not lose the boys' hearts. 
I had to choose to believe that my husband was taking my hand and leading us out of the boat and onto 
a warm waiting beach... 
and die to the tempting thoughts that I knew better, that he was actually leading us 
to rapids downstream. 
I had to decide to be brave enough to believe God is the Redeemer, not me. 
That God is their Educator, not me.
That God is in control, not me. 
That God has a plan here.
That God doesn't need ALL their education about EVERYthing to come from my mouth
 in order to save them. 
That we don't have to be completely in charge of their little lives at all moments in order to know them deeply and shepherd their hearts. 
That we will not ruin them.
That their daddy is not wrong.
That this will continue to make sense more and more.
That this suits them.
That the right time to do this is now...not once I have a 3 or 4 year-old finally come home who speaks
 French Creole and I find myself telling all 4 of the bigger kids: 
"for the love of Pete, get out and go find yourself a school, I gotta attach to this kid here!

So far...they love it. 
It suits them.
It's been so simple.
The daddy was right. 
Maybe not for every kid, for every year ~ who knows?
But for now...this year....he was right.

It's made life very different. There are things that do not suit me as easily as being a homeschool mama. 
I have to wait in car line. 
I have to wash more clothes.
 I have to get up in the freaking 5 o'clock hour 5 times weekly. 
I have to make lunches. (UGH. THE LUNCHES.)
I have to make actual breakfasts. ( still fend for themselves with PopTarts, nevermind.)
I have to attend meetings and do fundraisers and stuff that requires being in closely dependant community with people you did not handpick for kicks and may not like me or get me (groan of pain).
This whole "school" thing is not for sissys. It's tiring, man. And requires conformity. 
(to some degree)
And submission. And alot of other crap I stink at. 

But,  it you can measure idols of the heart by how fast you list them off when you identify yourself
 to others,  
then "homeschool mama" was gaining scary, idolatrous ground in my heart.

October is here. 
Blessed, hot, green, birthday-laden, silent, waiting and watchful, schoolish and bookish and racing October. 
"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." 
-Job 1:21

He is making all things new.
I believe. 


  1. Love your heart more each time you reveal it!

  2. How did it take so long for our hearts to find one another, my sister? It's so hard to live in the tension.

  3. I at times suspect this is me and that my husband thinks this isn't the right fit, but never says anything. I am too afraid to open that up....I really don't know who I would be...

  4. love these words. i have never thought that homeschooling was an option for us until we got to 3rd grade and i began to struggle with a child who struggles with certain subjects and his straight A momma is dealing with the humiliating or humbling realization that my big boy isn't going to be a straight A kid. i want to pull him out. i want to teach him the way i think he should be taught. i hate to see him struggle (he doesn't even realize he is struggling)! i want to protect him from what i think is failure, but my husband turned to me and said you are not good for homeschooling! he's right! i am not, but in my mind i think i can do better when in reality it would be a miserable situation for all of our family! thanks for sharing these words!

  5. I've soo mulled homeschooling over and over in my head, but alas, I think it would turn out exactly as it did for you. I was homeschooled, so part of it is probably pride. If my mom could do it and was great at it, why can't I. but it really is NOT for me!!

  6. Amen, sister!! To all you wrote, and the parts you didn't write, but I can "read" your heart between the lines. ;)

  7. Hi! I've been the other side of the moon here. I was against homeschooling. My older 2 kids pretty much finished out school in public school. But my 4th grader was having some serious bullying problems and depression with going to traditional school. Even though he had no other problems, it was just the school setting was rather restrictive for him. Now that I homeschool him and his sister they both never want to go back. And I believe I appreciate it a lot more than other moms I've met that have done this since their kids were younger. Mainly because I see the flip side of this and feel as though going to public/private school isn't a bad thing - just a different approach to learning. So I say, go for it, send your kids to traditional school. You know homeschooling is available to you if they need it.

  8. So glad I found your post. I am a veteran homeschooling mom (18 years), and I have put 2 of my 5 in school and possibly am adding 2 more after Christmas. I have a whole blog dedicated to burned out homeschooling moms and moms considering (or who have) putting their children in school after homeschooling. It is a lonely, scary place to be.

  9. Esty! I don't know how I haven't checked your blog until today, but I needed to read these words! Not so much from the homeschooling standpoint (although that day is probably in my future), but from the "just-trusting-God" standpoint. And your husband. :) Thank you for being open and honest here. The words you wrote nearly two months ago, encouraged me TODAY! So glad to hear the boys are doing well. :)

    And I will be praying for your sweet family in the waiting. And for your little one to come to you soon! Much love!

  10. We are homeschoolers, but definitely know it is not for everyone. We would probably notice problems developing more as the children got older if we had sent them to public school. Be blessed - enjoy the journey!