Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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29 August 2009

Back to School Frenzy

There's something about the good ol' "Back to School" environment that makes me uneasy. I must first preface my thoughts with the mention that I am in no way anti-public school. I believe public-schools serve a good purpose to many people and are the right option for others, even though it isn't right for our family dynamic. I think watching the movie "Freedom Writer's" reminds us all how powerful an education, and a teacher that really cares, can be.

What I'm talking about here is the craziness that seems to ensue on the brink of a new school year. I almost had to cancel my Facebook account because I couldn't handle all the complaints mom's were throwing left and right about "what was needed" to get their kids off. Personally, I've seen the tax bill on my home and the amazingly large percentage (like 97%) of which goes to public education. However, despite the amount of money that people pay in taxes (in many areas, I know there are some counties that don't have property taxes or the money doesn't go into education... mainly I've only encountered that in AL though), parents and even teachers provide a good deal of the in-class materials, activities, and field trips for their students. We'd end up paying about $100 per kid to send them to public school just on registration day alone! I have a problem with this.
In any case, I've been bombarded with the knowledge that school supply lists are not only large, but very specific. Instead of parents being able to buy cheaper crayons, or tissues they're asked to buy name brands like Crayola and Puff's Plus with lotion. They're also being asked for specific colors of folders and other things that would be cheaper found in bulk or random finds. I've spent two weeks reading and hearing of these complaints of how these items are totalling around $100 and they still haven't found everything on the list, and how school clothes for their kids are racking up, and I ask myself.... why?

I'm a homeschooler... it's no secret... and yes, we're the weird kind! :-) Even reading about the stresses of these other mom's stresses ME out. Once all of those supplies are found and "YAY" school starts, then everyone is getting up early, mom is making sure homework is finished and everyone has the right things to take with them, and getting everyone ready, and lunches made, and, and, and, and, and then getting everyone into the car and back and forth from school(s) at different times and with different kids, and, and, and.... how does this not create ulcer's for others? I don't know how people with more then one kid do it! I know you "just do," but seriously, if you have 3 or 4 kids, chances are you're back and forth to the school an average of 6 times a day. And when you get home you get to do what 3-4 other people (your kids teachers) want you to do... which sometimes means 3-4 hours of work when you've already spent the day "learning" and if you try to throw in extracurricular stuff on top of that?? I honestly think public school mom's are superhero's because there are literally not enough hours in the day to do all that plus be a wife/mother/housekeeper/etc.

So, my big pet peeve that I set out to write about is this... "the frenzy." I HATE this time of year for one specific reason... and normal people are kept from this because I do try and censor myself in public, but this is one place that I put all my "PC" abilities away for a moment so since you're reading this, here's what I REALLY think and want to say..... "I am so sick and tired of hearing people rejoicing about sending their kids away!" It's honestly the saddest thing that I can think of. It's one thing to talk up how much fun they'll have, or how great a teacher there is, or whatever, but to just talk nonstop about how much having your kid around is bugging you and they just need to go away? How do you think that makes them feel that their own mom doesn't want them around?

I get so many mixed feelings around this time of year that I just want to hide in my house until its over. I'm overfilled with mom's so excited to get rid of their kids, and yet so irritated about what they have to do, and then whining about how much they wish they could get done while their kids were done but can't (because they're running to and from the school), and how hard mornings are...

Anyway! Onto happier thoughts. I like a good clean house like most people, and like most people that's easier to achieve when no one is around. Now, minus the times that space alien's come and abduct my children, I don't usually get to have no one around while I'm cleaning, but I get a lot in return:

-the kids get up when they're ready.... everyone is happier for this, and they get the rest they need. We don't have to wake people up from naps to go sit in line to pick up kids, and I think when our kids are teenagers, they're really going to love the fact that mom isn't going to come and beat on their door in the morning.

-School and "learning" is a year round event, and everyday holds new opportunities in the most average of places... like doing household chores, exploring outside, going to the store. I see my kids wondering and exploring their world and really truly learning things that will stay with them for a lifetime. They don't think of learning as something that starts and stops because of specific dates, but of something that is continuous and worth their attention.

-I'm very selfish and LOVE to watch my kids learn new things. I don't want to share this with anyone else! I want to be there watching them grow every step of the way. There's a light in their eyes that is worth every moment of "hardship" that comes with having everyone at home all the time. And they get to share it with you too! Homeschooling allows us yet another tying bond that brings us closer together and the kids can feel that.

-We get to choose what we're going to do everyday! My personality conflicts with trying to keep other people's time schedules. I dread having to be somewhere at a specific time and that's especially dreadful when I have to actually DO something that someone else wants me to. I know, I'm a funny duck, but what can you do? Trying to figure out someone else's homework assignment for my kids (especially if I don't see the utility in it and therefore it's just taking away from family time by providing 'busy work') doesn't bode well with me.

-My kids always have something to say! When dad comes home and asks about their day there's always something to tell him... and yes, building houses and towers out of lego's or putting together puzzles, counts! Normal school days are LONG, so, if my kids were going to be gone at one I would demand that they have something to tell me everyday. The statement "we're not really doing anything right now" is ludicrous! This could probably be minimized by school's having flexibility with their mandatory class dates... let's face it, starting school midweek or later isn't doing much but meeting their "days of school" requirements... and close to no one starts new curriculum right before a holiday.

Anyway! I'd best go and tend to things around the house, but it's been nice to hash out some of my thoughts for a minute! I don't know that there's any real "solution" to my problem(s), although, hiding in my house does tend to help! :-)

Good luck with the school year, whatever form it may take in your life. Try to enjoy it, and remember that school is a place of learning and learning should be something that is loved and encouraged throughout a lifetime!


mindy said...

Hear hear! This is our second week of school, and while it is rather labor intensive as I adjust to my new setup, the kids and I are enjoying our time together and learning new things. I also would hate rushing the kids out the door by a certain time every day, and I agree it is sad that so many people rejoice in their "freedom" from their own kids. Though I have to admit to times when that same freedom sounds pretty darn appealing!

Natalie said...

I'm really glad I read that post. I am going to check out the book. I do not enjoy sending my kids to school all day and I also listen to talk radio and worry about all the things that I hear. You make some very valid points and I find myself again contemplating my decision to keep my kids in public school. A new book to read is a good start for me... and homework is insane even in 1st and 2nd grade. I would like some time with my kids after school without the pressure of homework assignments. Thanks for the food for thought Cherie you have a beautiful mind!