homeschooling, part 3 (doubts & second thoughts)

“You yelled at me,” Ava told me earlier tonight with tears streaming down her face, “and that makes me feel like you don’t love me.”

Break my heart. I walked her upstairs and cuddled with her on my bed, playing with her hair, scratching her back, and saying I’m sorry over and over again.

Today was a crappy day. Ava stayed home sick, and I lost my patience with her more than once. She had no real symptoms, and I was 75% convinced that I should’ve sent her to school. She wanted cuddled and loved, but I had “important” things to do.

I was a no better mother to my other two, and Gabe didn’t get home until after they were in bed, so he wasn’t there to shield them from my lash-outs o’ frustration. Sigh.

Moving on.

I can’t remember the last time I got so much support and encouragement from people as I have in the past couple days (thank you!). So, why am I feeling so sad and scared and depressed and incompetent?

A couple thoughts. Perhaps God’s closing doors. Or evil’s getting uncomfortable because I’m considering following God’s calling amidst lots of personal discomfort. Or maybe it’s because April’s showers brought May downpours. Who knows?

So that’s where I am tonight. Some specifics:

–In the 10 years since I quit teaching, guess how many times I’ve missed teaching. ZERO.

There are some amazing teachers out there all ready for me to send my children to for free. Remind me again why I’m considering not taking them up on this.

–I had to laugh at the irony tonight of Gabe sitting across our office from me and trying to talk me down off my ledge of “I can’t do this, I can’t do this.” He thinks it’s best for our girls. This is the same Gabe who 13 years ago stared at his new bride in horror when she casually mentioned she wanted to homeschool the children they would have someday.

–I mentioned this to a few people in the comments, but I can’t remember if I blogged about it. We’re 90% sure we’ll still send Nina to kindergarten next year. It’s just 2.5 hours in the afternoon, and her teacher is the most AMAZING teacher ever. She’s soooo looking forward to it (“but I want to be homeschooled for first grade, okay, Mommy?) and I think it would be a great opportunity for the older two to have time with just me in the afternoons.

–I’ve chatted with a couple of you about having to let go of some “good” things for a season since no one can do it all. As I think through all the things I’m passionate about and all the projects I’ve started and all the people I care about, I don’t know where to even begin letting some stuff go.

I am battling some honest-to-goodness heart-racing trepidation about this. I almost lost it tonight. Almost.

I need to pray about this. FOR REAL. Not just talk about praying about it. Not just toss up little prayers here and there. Not just make everyone else pray about it for me. As soon as I finish this post, God and I are going to talk. I should probably just let him talk.

Again, thanks for all the wisdom and advice and encouragement and prayers. Even if we don’t see eye to eye on things, you’ve been kind and supportive. I can feel the love, and I’m really grateful.

Have a wonderful weekend.

36 thoughts on “homeschooling, part 3 (doubts & second thoughts)

  1. Deborah

    Dear Marla…I am praying for you…and praying that you & God will have good prayer time. No words of wisdom…just gladness that you’re walking with our Father, and trusting Him to guide you though whichever route(s) He leads you. 🙂

  2. Matt

    Just found your blog from facebook. I thought I’d add that I really enjoyed your class when I was in 6th grade at Laketon Elementary School. You always had a really interesting and involved project and you put a lot of personal attention into all of us. Thanks for being a good teacher. In my humble opinion, it’s a rare find. I have tried my hand in the classroom and am impressed when I think of all the work you put into ours.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Matt!! Oh my word. Are you trying to make me cry?? I’m super touched that you took the time to leave me such a sweet comment. You always were my favorite. 😉 That year was amazing, and I’ll never forget it. You guys were the best. My girls like looking at my old pictures from Laketon. Remember Patrick A. Troll, God rest his soul? 😉

  3. Kathleen-NM

    Marla,

    I was uncertain whether or not to chime in and will not express too much, but my world is about 180 degrees from that which Ann V describes of her world, and yet we have seen God show up in mighty mighty ways. I taught public school for 9 years Biology/Chem/Math before I stayed home to raise kids. I have 2 boys 17 yr old and 14 yr old who are in public school. It’s so difficult. It’s a calling just like HS. There are days I wonder what I have done….BUT… because we have had to equip our boys while in the battle, we’ve had to broach topics which I never thought I’d have to. Public School has been the catalyst for working through heart issues, major issues, temptations of every sort, and how faith becomes the real deal. We have talked about so many things, worked through many challenges, I know that when they leave our house they will be equipped to walk in the world. My boys love the Lord, they have a passion for the lost, they have learned how to battle in a corrupt world with divine weapons. Though it is not how I thought it would look, God has shown himself faithful faithful in immeasurable ways. We have been able to minister to families and kids, and they have been drawn to Christ, and I feel that it is also important for Christians to have a presence in the world, but it is a calling, and a sacrifice. Available to answer questions about surviving Public School to anyone. It’s changed very much in the past decade. Will offer prayers as you discern what is best for your family, I think you will know. Your kiddos sure are cute!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you so much, Kathleen. I’m sooooo glad you chimed in! I love your heart so much, and I know from what you’ve shared with me already that God is using you and your family in HUGE ways in your community. So, so, so awesome!!

  4. Mindy May

    Marla,
    This has often been a topic that floats around in my head. I was in a private Catholic school this semester and while I am not Catholic I loved how the children were open and able to discuss God in every subject in school. It made my head wander even more so I decided to look into private Christian schools for my own son. The cost was outrageous and then again homeschooling entered the picture. I would love to homeschool my son and any future children I have but I am fearful of what others might say. I have made my own little jokes about homeschooled children in the past but now I see that homeschooling isn’t the easy way out but a wonderful way to connect with your family, children, and God. I can change things to teach my son in ways that work best for him. I am not sure I will ever go this route but I love that you are considering it for your children. I have loved your last few posts and it felt like you were reading my mind in them all. I love that you can be completely honest with your true feelings and how you are allowing God to work in your heart. The courage you are showing and your willingness to see the plans God has for you in uncertian things. I cannot wait to hear more about what God is doing in your heart and how He is changing your life.

  5. Gwen

    Marla,
    There are options to school at home that are FREE. Call or e-mail me. I’d love to chat with you about this.

    I’ve done it for the past two years (K & 1st). Going to do it again next year too.

    Gwen

  6. Jessica

    Okay, there’s a lot to your post but . . . 2.5 hours in the afternoon? What on earth? Where do I find a school like that? Our Kindergarten is all day, every day with homework! I’d be sending Ivy if our circumstances were like yours.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Morning kdg is 9-11:30, afternoon is 1-3:30. This might very well be the last year they do this. Everyone’s moving to full-day kdg, and we’re one of the last hold-outs because we (our school system) filed an extension or something. We’re very blessed that it worked out so perfectly.

      1. Jessica

        That’s awesome, Marla. I hope she really enjoys it! One one hand I’m hoping our district overrides Strickland (if they can?) before Vincent starts K. On the other hand I’m content with the decision becuase it’s what led us to HS.
        It’s so interesting how different people are. I LOVE teaching to read and all of the basics. It’s what I really wanted to do in the jungle too. The older grades intimidate me.
        Ivy loves her necklace!

  7. Jamie

    Marla,
    Wow! I have missed your last few posts and saw today’s…..
    When I started reading this I wanted to post that you should read Ann Voskamp’s post from the other day and then realized after reading a few days ago that was what got your mind swirling…..I just started laughing!!! We have homeschooled now for three years and let me tell you…it is such a personal decision! I still find myself defensive at times and feeling like I need to explain to people why we have chosen this. When they ask about my kids and that topic comes up before I even have a reason I start to try to describe how I am making sure my kids aren’t going to be social misfits! My husband and I are fully convinced and convicted that this is what God has for our family until someone gives me that “funny” look! I loved what Ann had to say in her blog…it was so encouraging and she always seems to be able to state things in such a clear, intelligent way! Something I seem to have a lot of trouble doing. I feel it…but can’t verbalize it. Throughout the last 6 months God has used our homeschooling to change ME-to enjoy my kids, enjoy living and learning with them. I am an achiever and have to have goals and see success. Before success in my mind was working and bringing in an income, ministering to other adults, etc. But He has changed my heart and shown me that each moment (inspired by the 1000 gifts book by Ann) is meaningful whether we acknowledge it or not…so we should acknowledge it and live the fullest life God has for us….in bad times, tired times, angry times (which hopefully become less and less – and they are) and good, fun times. Raising my kids to know ALL is sacred and our purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever is the most worthy calling I can have….even if I don’t get a weekly paycheck! 🙂 Praying for you as you are thinking through all of this!!!!!!!

  8. Angela Parlin

    Marla, This is sooooooo normal! I’m not saying the decision needs to be yes, but please know that probably EVERY person who made the plan to homeschool experienced major opposition, sometimes in the form of their own meltdowns!!! And I’m not gonna say it doesn’t happen periodically, b/c it does happen sometimes even once you’ve journeyed down the road a bit. I like your plan to really sit and pray and let God speak to you about it…Just want you to know your day yesterday sounds all too familiar. 🙂

  9. Joel McLaughlin

    I understand the trepidation and the wish to home school. I thought about them all and still do but I probably won’t do it.

    First, there probably won’t be much taught about God in public schools. That scared me a little until I realized I wouldn’t want just anyone teaching my son about God without him fully being aware of what I think about God. With that, you may think I would say that is a big BIG reason NOT to send your kids to public school, but I think it isn’t. I would rather have people way more qualified than I teach my son the things that I can’t. I CAN share God with my son and I CAN teach him things in the Bible. In fact, I don’t want ANYONE else doing that. That is MY job.

    Second, when my son really gets to know God, he can share him with those in the public school that really need him! We’re supposed to be the light of the world. Even in a public school, the school CAN’T stop him from sharing God. Students are ALLOWED to pray. The school isn’t allowed to lead it. If my son EVER wanted to share God AND got in trouble for it….I would fight the district with all my (and God’s) strength.

    Third…I have GREAT memories of public school. Ones I don’t want to deprive my son of. For example, on Facebook I am friends with my first High School Band Director and he can see MY son learn how to play his instrument and share the gift and love of music with him that I got because I was in HIS class! He’s beaming just as much as I am for my son. I want my son to have a band director he loves just as much as I did when I was in school.

    Lastly if I home schooled, my first thing would probably be looking at teaching him something ALL the time. At some point, I would be afraid that he would hate me because he’d eventually have school 24/7. I don’t want that to happen. Kids need breaks to be kids and the way I am, I would probably not let that happen.

    I already know: I am not called to home school. I AM called to tech my son all I can about God. That’s noone’s responsibility but mine.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Great thoughts, Joel. Thank you. I’ve been reeeeeally lazy this year when it comes to getting involved in what my girls are doing at school. I need a kick in the pants.

    2. valerie

      I love your comment, Joel. Thanks for the encouragement for those of us who don’t feel called to homeschool. I do think about it sometimes, but for now my kids are in public school, and I LOVE their school, love their teachers, love their friends (for the most part), love the activities they get to participate in that they wouldn’t otherwise, love that they get to sit by their friends at lunch, and so on. I agree with you that public schools need Christian kids – they are a light in the darkness.

      Marla, you were right when you said this can be a controversial subject. I always say God’s plan is different for everyone, but usually I’m actually just trying to defend myself and our decision. Very often feel like I’m in the minority by sending my kids to public school, and even feel like I’m “less than” at times – like I’m not doing it the “real Christian” way.

      1. Marla Taviano

        Oh, goodness. Please don’t EVER feel like that. I KNOW God had us put our girls in public school, and that’s a big part of the reason I hesitate to take them out. I don’t know for absolutely positive that he wants us to! And I sure as heck don’t want to if it’s not his will for our family.

  10. cyndee

    Marla, I could have written all three of these posts! Your reasons for wanting/not wanting to homeschool were exactly the same as mine 12 years ago! I homeschooled my youngest from 4th through 8th grade and yes, it was hard and sometimes I wondered why I was doing it, but I’d never, ever go back and change it if I could. (In fact, if I were to change anything, I would homeschool all my kids!)
    Also, wanted to let you know that your baby shower story was timely. We had my daughter’s shower Tuesday night and when I read your post, I just knew we had to play the name game! Hysterical! Everyone loved it! (Unfortunately, I was Nipple Shield. 🙁 )

  11. Susanna

    Wow. Hmmm. I was you, not so long ago. Or, at least, I was having a lot of your thoughts.

    Brielfy, I am an introvert. I married (slightly) late in life. Having people around all day was not my idea of a good time. Then God forced my hand — a story I would be happy to share, but I won’t clog the blog with it now. I am now finishing my second year of homeschooling, adding the third and (for now) final grade next year. Our kids are 11, 9, 7, and 2.

    I would never go back. Never. I don’t feel warm and fuzzy about it every day, but I would never go back.

    I will pray for clarity for you, because I completely agree that if you are not called, you shouldn’t attempt it. That would be attempting it “alone”, which one should never do!

  12. Mandy

    I’m praying for you, too, Marla! Some days I have to chant to myself “For nothing is impossible with God.” Another of my favorite prayers is, “God, help me!”

  13. Sharon

    Marla, I’ve been praying for clarity for you and your family as far as if home schooling is the right decision for you all. Will keep the prayers coming!

  14. Jeanine Meers

    Marla,
    I just wanted to tell you I’m praying for you. You have voiced some of the concerns that all homeschoolers have, believe me. I’ve been homeschooling for 15 years, and though it is one of the biggest blessings in my life, it still means daily leaning on God’s grace to do it all. I did want to mention that whether you homeschool or not, you would love reading A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp with your girls.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thanks SO much, Jeanine. I really appreciate your prayers. And I’m definitely going to look into Ann’s book. LOVE her and the way she writes. Maybe I can sweet-talk her into a book swap for it. 😉

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