The Black and White about School

black and white bus

Wouldn’t it be easier if life was simply black and white-especially in school situations?  In our family, I have experienced being a homeschooling mom, a public school teacher, and a supporting parent of Christian school education.  I have come to value both the strengths and weaknesses in all three of these schooling situations.  Which educational choice is the right answer, and is there only ONE answer?  Or better yet, should every child’s education be treated in the same way. . . every year?

jake back school

Year 1: My oldest son Jake was the catalyst for our homeschooling adventure.  He had been in a private school and was burnt out on both the school scene and monotonous curriculum.  Fortunately, I was teaching only half-time while working on my masters.  On the days I taught, he was homeschooled by a teacher friend.  What a blessed year we had!  I loved spending quality time with just him-reading, writing, and learning together.  Meanwhile, my youngest son and daughter were happily attending our local Christian school.  This was also the year our son watched God move and provide the needed $25,000 for our second adoption to China.  I would not change this year with him for anything and have many treasured memories.

jonah back to school

Year 2: Once Joelle came home from China, our lives changed once again.  My parents had moved closer, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and my youngest son was tested for dyslexia.  Needless to say, my life had taken a U-turn-imagine leaving your job, going from homeschooling one to three children, and acclimating a new child (age three) to her new culture?  Did I mention that my youngest son needed one-on-one help to complete ALL schoolwork?  How was I ever going to bond with the newest edition to our family? Setting academics aside, my son’s self-esteem was non-existent. Somehow, though, through many tears, a lot of laughing, and sadly, some yelling, we became a closer family who learned how to pray and work together while also learning how to value each one’s differences.

Year 3:  I quickly realized that each year comes with a new set of challenges: learning about my son’s dyslexia became my obsession. Juliese had requested to return back to the Christian school, and Joelle was in preschool three days a week.  This year, I was determined to help my youngest read, write, and spell.  Allowing him to choose his own books and taking turns reading (paragraph by paragraph) eventually worked. Soon, the tears were gone, and he was reading on his own!

Back to school juliese

Several weeks after Christmas, life took another spin: we had two deaths in our family-one week apart.  On top of this, I was doing some respite care for my dad three days a week.  And . . . my dancing scientist asked if she could spend the rest of the year home with her mommy.  Fortunately, she is a self-directed learner like her older brother-loves to read, write, DANCE, and enjoys learning.  Just this summer, she was trying to schedule a time with her dad, a math teacher, to learn how to divide.

Year 4: We are only into the first month of the year, but I am feeling a shift in our homeschooling adventure. For one thing, the Lord is asking me to give up my control in certain areas-one being our kids’ schooling. 

The Lord, “Jenni, you cannot control every area of your children’s lives.  They are mine.”  Ouch!

Our youngest daughter did get on that bus like you see above, and she LOVES school.  Surprisingly, it has not been a hard transition; I have to keep reminding myself that her life was different before she became our forever daughter.  I am homeschooling this year with the intent to mainstream the other three back into school next year.  Am I scared?  Yes!  But I also realize that life could take a few more spins before the new year rolls in.  For now, I will just take one step of faith at a time.   

Joelle school

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  II Corinthians 5:7



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