Even at church.

We ‘do school’ even at church. Sort of. This morning 3 of my home grown readers, Masters 10, 12 and 14 did a lovely job of the readings and held their own with not only school aged kids but also many adult readers. It’s just a shame I have to write this letter. Here safely on the blog where it will be lost in the ether but no longer running around my head.  🙂

Dear Teacher

(First point : I know you’re not my children’s teacher. True story! Read that again slowly… you’re….. not……………)

Last week when you asked my children what they had been learning about in school I was a little surprised about the directness of your questions putting them through their paces while I got myself a coffee. We’d had a pretty good week and I didn’t mind them telling you about it. They are happy talking to adults about their interests and passions so they didn’t mind. 

This week I turned my back for 5 minutes and you did it again. The service was about to start, you had duties during the service but you made a beeline for them to ask the same questions again. You also mis-remembered the study they told you about last week. I assume you know the difference between solar system and ocean currents. That part confused them a bit.  🙂

I am good at asserting positive intent but here’s the thing. 

We have been in this congregation for six months, a set placement. We met you right at the start. You haven’t spoken to the children (or me) since then. Until last week. It’s a little late to take an interest. You have seen their contributions, you have seen the congregation blessed by my husband’s ministry. You know we can only be here BECAUSE we homeschool. You have to take the rough with the smooth. 

In six months not a week has gone by without at least one or two people complimenting our children, or us, their parents, on our children’s learning, behaviour, friendliness and participation in church life. Today was no exception. At a point many are expressing their gratitude for our presence in the congregation for six months and sharing in our journey – you haven’t said a word to either of us but have questioned our children about their studies?

For those people (yes, many are teachers!) who have asked us more about what we do, or how we teach six children of different ages at the same time – we have had some really great discussions and have been only too happy to talk about how our lifestyle works for us – and our family’s mission. For those who have talked to our children over dinner (rather than sit the children ‘over there on the children’s table’ as happened at your home 6 months ago) conversation has been edifying, interesting and also I think surprising. 

As for how this week went? 

I think many parents are relieved to simply arrive in one piece at church on Sunday mornings. If you ask me on Sunday morning what I did this weekend, let alone what I taught the children this week, I might be blank for a few minutes while I try to remember. I’m at church to worship, ‘in the Moment’, fully present concentrating on the fellowship and people I connect with. I haven’t revised my diary so that I can tell you exactly what we did this week. I think the kids might be similar!

It took me an hour after we got home, and I reflected on all of this, to even remember we had a family funeral at the beginning of the week. A pretty major event but a lot has happened since then! Sick kids, bingeing on new maths curriculum (not related), map work, science, written work and even a forest outing. You would probably call that socialisation. We call it doing life outside with friends, occasionally. Took me a while this morning to even remember the forest thing.

 A lot of what we do the kids don’t recognise as school. So I doubt you would either. Not to mention inventions that you would probably prefer we called STEM and forced the kids to journal to prove what they learned. Instead they may present on them to a group we attend fortnightly.  I’m happier calling it an ‘Oral  presentations group’ when talking about it to those questioning us about ‘school’. But actually it’s just called ‘Show and Tell’.

My quietest moment this week was the morning all the big kids did maths for 2 hours straight, then gradually asked if it was ok to stop.

The best example I’ve set my kids this week was working hard, for free, on legal papers for a friend, till all hours. I fitted in an 18 hour working week on that in my own time. Using my gifts and talents, missing sleep and STILL getting on happily with the business of running my family, supporting my husband’s ministry, organising and managing our finances, ‘doing school’ and preparing the readers for this morning’s service.

I’m happy with how things look from this end. We are doing the best we can for our children, serving God, putting him first as a family, and preparing for our family’s future ministry as well as our children’s future careers and lives. You might have had a better conversation with my kids if you asked them about how they are going with that stuff.

Sometimes I am concerned about the social skills of some of the people responsible for the shaping of other people’s children. 

I will happily share how our family learns together. With those who are truly interested. I’m not interested in the ‘backward maths’ of those who are asking questions to prove their own, badly thought out, hypothesis. 

Thank the Lord we are not all the same – and perhaps ask more openly about the decisions other people make. You might learn something.

I hope that helps. 

Yours sincerely 

Home educating parent trying to do their best.

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