Wednesday, August 8, 2012

un-school

Many of you have asked how this week has gone for Jonah and Noah. 

I will be completely honest with you and tell that it's been very strange having two go off to school everyday and for the other two to stay home.  Even stranger than that is the fact that Monday we did not have school (un-school, I guess I should say). 

Tuesday we had a half day.  All it was, was a "meet the teacher" event.  Yes, I said "teacher".  They are not being home-schooled, in the traditional sense of the word.  They are enrolled in an online school...Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA).  In this program, they will have teachers assigned to them.   

(The difference between this program and tradition home-school programs is that this is a state-mandated curriculum.  They are doing the same things their friends are doing in their public school.  Should they re-enter a brick and mortar public school next year, they would just slip right back in.  Also, this program keeps track of attendance and grades so I don't have to.) 

Their "homeroom" teacher is a Christian lady, whose last name just so happens to be Bible.

Those of you who know me, know that I am always looking for and finding God-things.  This is one of them.  The fact that she is a Christian lady who went to a university where we know people.  Crazy!  Well, not really...not in the eyes of God.

Anyway, we attended that event online, which took about 45 minutes.  They spent an hour doing a reading assessment test, and they played outside.  We also went to see my Mom at her new job (the cutie-patootie little shop on The Ville's square, called Cottage on Main), and Jonah and Noah got to "help" her make a floral arrangement.  After our visit we grocery shopped, and they were in charge.  I let them push the basket and find the items we needed. 

Today we didn't have any assignments, as K12 is considering this a teacher training day.  So we hung out at home, they played outside, we met my Dad for lunch and we swam for a couple hours.  And yes, that is so considered P.E.  :-) 

What happens in their (un) school is this: they participate in an event and I log in their attendance.  I assume they will attend their online class (called Class Connects), be taught something, and get their assignments for the rest of the day.  I would love to explain more, but I honestly don't know what happens.  And all of the above is assumed, as that has not been done by any of us yet.

My job is not "teacher".  I am called "learning coach".  I'm here to help if they need me, but they're encouraged to do it on their own as much as possible.

I will be honest and tell you that I've had a couple of days of doing some pretty serious freaking out.  Because, what if they are bored?  What if they miss their friends so much they can't see straight?  What if I harm them by removing them from their public school?  What if I hate it?  What if they don't learn as well at home as they would at school? 

I pray that none of this happens, but I have had some serious self-doubt.

The bottom line is this: this was not a decision that I took lightly.  I prayed and prayed and prayed (and prayed some more) about pulling them out of school, and I know without a doubt that God Himself has led me to this point.  There were too many things that just happened to think otherwise.  Things started falling into place, and I knew that this was the answer I prayed God would make clear for me. 

I know that I love having them at home.  I only wish I had them all at home!  But Graham and Drew truly love middle school, and I for that I am thankful.  Jonah and Noah loved their school, too, but this idea of un-school appealed to them as much as it did me.  When I noticed things taking a different kind of turn at the school they were in, that was the prompt I needed to make my decision. 

And I say "my" decision, but it was all of our decision.  Todd was all for it, and he totally supports me in this.  Graham and Drew were given the opportunity, but they opted to stay at CMS.  Jonah and Noah were given the opportunity and they took it.

I keep on asking them if they wish they were at their old school.  They keep saying no, that they love being at home.  As of this moment, they don't miss their friends too much, because they see them at church and have them over.  I pray that I don't do them harm by removing them from the care of people that don't know them as well as I do, but even if their grades aren't as good, I seriously doubt that 4th grade ever broke the bank.  I don't think I'm going to hate it, I really don't.  I will need to remind myself that I need to be patient and kind and gentle and full of all the other fruits of the Spirit.  And I'm pretty sure they learn well at home.  At least they always did before they started school, so I don't know why now would be any different.

I need to rest in God's peace.  And yesterday's devotion with Jonah and Noah told me just that.  It was a good reminder. 

If I get overwhelmed, all I have to do is take a deep breath and pray. 

How's all this for honesty?  You got an eye full.  (Ear full?)

Love to all.

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