thinking out loud

I started this post in my head earlier tonight but almost chickened out until I read this from Heather. She’s recently back in Texas after 10 months in Haiti and all the swirl is enough to send her to the fetal pose, rocking. She let some of it gush out and then promised some lighthearted posts in the coming weeks while she sorts through all this stuff.

I, for one, hope she keeps letting us peek inside the whole sticky, messy thought process.

Because then I won’t feel so bad when I do it.

If you happened to miss Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday‘s posts, then you would have basically no idea that we’re considering taking our older two girls out of their wonderful public schools and teaching them at home.

I know.

Chances are, you’re sick to death of hearing me waffle back and forth. Chances are, I’m nowhere near done.

I spent quite a bit of time today working on the Guys’ Sex Book (a thinking-out-loud post might be in order for this one too). And yet, in the back of my mind, niggle, niggle.

Something is keeping me from being completely 100% sold on this homeschooling idea.

It’s not the selfishness anymore. No, I haven’t morphed into complete selflessness, but I can honestly say I’m ready to give up my personal time. It’s not what anyone has said–the support has been wildly encouraging. It’s not my husband. It’s not the girls. It’s not, it’s not, it’s not…

Here’s what it is: I’m not ready to give up their schools. I know it’s where God has placed them the past few years, and I’m not convinced he’s done with them there yet.

Tonight we all ate a rushed, unhealthy supper, so we could jump in the van and head to Livi’s Music Concert at school. My initial thought was, “Now this is why I want to homeschool. No more mid-week 4th and 5th grade music concerts.”

But as I walked through the doors and into the cafeteria, a different feeling washed over me. I like this feeling of camaraderie, and I’m not ready for it to be over.

And then I sat by Livi’s friend Isabel’s mom, Youngra, and we started chatting about summer plans. She asked if we were going anywhere this summer, and I told her probably not, we were saving to go to Cambodia in December.

Youngra came to the U.S. from South Korea when she was 10, and when I had told her last summer about Gabe and me going to Cambodia she was all excited and wanted to help. She told me tonight that she and her family were so poor, and there were American missionaries at a church close to where she lived that would do a Bible study for kids in a beautiful meadow on Sunday afternoons. They would often give them small gifts like a new pencil or eraser. It left a lasting impression on her.

“I can still smell those new pencils,” Youngra told me, “and I would love to do something for those kids in Cambodia. It would make me feel so good.”

The concert started, and I was struck by the diversity of kiddos up on the risers. Different sizes and shapes and colors and nationalities. Some wearing dressy clothes, others not so much (guess which one mine was). I played peek-a-boo with an adorable little boy in front of me whose family is from Jordan. I watched kids from China and Ghana and Kenya and all kinds of other places all singing and playing five different notes on their recorders together.

And I didn’t want to give it up.

And then I thought about how much more awesome it would be for Livi and Ava to go to Cambodia while they were still in school, to be able to come back from their trip and share with their classmates what they saw and learned.

Then I thought about the Kids’ Zoo Book that’s hopefully going to be finished in the next few months and how exciting it would be to share it with their classes.

I asked the girls what they thought of going to school at least one more year. Livi said, “Yeah, I want to go one more year.” Ava said, “Nope, no way, not me.”

Their wise, wise father said, “How about if we don’t make a decision for a few more weeks? There are a lot of emotions right now, and why won’t we let them settle a little bit before we make it final?”

You’d think he’d been married to me for a while or something.

14 thoughts on “thinking out loud

  1. Anonymous

    You should follow your “women’s intuition”. We don’t give this sense enough credit, but deep down you know what is right for your family and you shouldn’t discredit your feelings. It is amazing how the mind can work.

  2. Kelli

    I haven’t told you yet how much I love your home school posts. You have hit all the highs and lows of both. The feelings I wrestle with ALL the time. The things I don’t know how I will figure out. Praying that I clearly know where to best educate our children, and that we all do! I love you friend!

  3. Rhonda

    I think that it is important to listen to our “nagging feelings”. Sometimes God speaks to us through them. You don’t have to make a final decision now so waiting definitely sounds wise to me.

  4. jess

    We’re kinda in the exact same boat. Only Matt doesn’t really care one way or the other…which leaves it entirely up to me. Which makes me scared & makes me not even want to try HS. In my brain, I Love the idea (for all the reasons you said.), and in reality, I don’t know if I’m cut out for it (for all the reasons you said. And then last week, when we went to E’s Kingergarten program…it was the SAME thing…the camraderie/community/togetherness/seeing E interact w/ all her buddies…I loved it.
    and i got your card. thank you so much. more on that later, but i wanted to at least acknowledge it. 🙂

  5. Emily M.

    PLEASE continue to think out loud. I think that the thought process is as interesting as the decision, and it’s one that many of us continue to struggle through, so it’s helpful to hear what others are thinking.

    I’ll pray for you, so many factors to consider, and like you said, maybe God has one answer in mind, and if He does, I pray that He’ll make it clear to you. But I do think there are times that there is more than one good decision, and his answer is “You decide.” (this is actually tougher at times, isn’t it?)

  6. Megan Bradford

    Thanks for this post. I couldn’t agree more, I love going to the boy’s school, talking with their teachers, seeing which kids they are hanging out with and hearing how they are learning. I love that they feel connected somewhere, besides home and church. I would have a really hard time giving all of that up too. But I know you would, and I would if that is what God called us to do.

    I think the other Megan makes a good suggestion. Maybe it would be interesting to just have Ava at home next year. You could get your feet wet with the whole homeschooling thing and see how it went.

  7. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    Every time – EVERY TIME – I am in Dacey’s classroom, I am reminded of why we know God has chosen public schools for us. (Well, for Dacey anyway. AJ is still a question mark.) I was on the verge of tears through her entire end-of-the-year party. I love those kids. I know their names, I know which parents work and where they work, I know if they have brothers and sisters.

    Her teacher (God bless her!) made little photo memory books of the kids with pictures from the year. I think Dacey and I will use it to pray for her friends over the summer – that they’ll be well-cared for, that they’ll have fun, that God’s Hand would rest on them, and for some, that they’ll have food to eat every day.

    Have you at all considered a mixed approach? Would it be too nuts on your schedule to have Livi in school, Ava at home, and Nina in half-day? It’s a thought.

    Continuing to pray with and for you as you work through this.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I have absolutely considered the mixed approach. Ava is all for it, and Livi says, “That’s not FAIR!!!” I know this–Ava craves quality time with me and just doesn’t get as much as she wants/needs. And being the middle child isn’t easy. So, yeah, definitely an option.

      Pleeeeeease pray that we’ll have wisdom to make the perfect decision for our family. I sometimes wonder whether God has a plan in mind or if he’s thinking, “They’re all good. You can pick.”

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