I have been struggling for about a year now, with the decision to send Jocelyn to public school or to home school her. I have long lists for and against each option that I will spare you, but they mainly have to do with wanting to keep her in a bubble, but not being nearly organized enough to keep the bubble running on schedule . However, all these pros and cons keep swimming around in my head, driving me crazy. I am very indecisive about things that don't have a clear RIGHT answer. I have prayed for an answer, and hoped to feel conviction from the Holy Spirit leading me toward one option or the other.
While waiting for the answer to be made clear to me, I often ask Jocelyn which she would prefer. Depending on her mood, she could really go either way. Some days she says stuff like, "Mom, I love you, I want to stay home with you and do school in the house. I want to live here forever!" And, on other days she will say, "I want to go to school and have a teacher and friends like I did at my school in Hawaii."
She went to a very affordable church preschool in Hawaii. I would love to send her to our church's private school for kindergarten and on, but it is not a financial possibility for us, especially because we would eventually be paying for more children to attend.
Anyway, as I was tucking her into bed a couple nights ago, she said her prayer. In her prayer she said that she was thankful for her school book (a Pre-K workbook that we are working through). After she was done, I asked her again about school. She said she wasn't sure, and asked me to decide (she shares my indecisiveness, I guess). This time I shared some of my reasoning for being undecided. I told her that I enjoyed school when I was a kid, and that it is fun to learn with friends. I also mentioned that spending some time away from me during the day would help her be more independent and allow me to spend special time with Carolyn and Sam. Then I told her that I was scared there would be mean kids there, and that some days would be hard for her (she is sensitive). I also expressed my fears that some of the 'mean' kids might talk about things that they are not old enough to be talking about and that I wanted to protect her from being exposed to that kind of talk so that she could remain innocent and not grow up too fast, or turn into a mean kid herself.
Her response totally blew me away! What she said went something like this:
"Mom? Remember Jonah? Well, you know God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, and he didn't want to go because there were bad people there. But God wanted the people there to hear His message! He was scared of them instead of trusting God to protect him!"
At this point, I don't even have words, but I am totally tearing up and just in shock at how she tied this story to our situation (because in my paranoid head some of the children that she will be exposed to will resemble Ninevites). She goes on:
"I think a lot of people are bad just because they don't know how to be good like I do! 'Cause you taught me. I can go to school and tell them, 'No more lying! No more cheating! No more slapping people with fishes!' Then maybe they will know God loves them, and then they won't do bad things."
I can't believe that she has turned out the way she has despite my parenting failures. Anyway, I am thinking that this conversation was just the answer I needed to be comfortable with sending her to public school. The idea still scares me, but I know that God is in control, and that I will remain the biggest influence in her life.
My sister recommended the book Going Public to me, and I plan to read it as soon as I have a break from my school. Hopefully it will offer some more practical reassurances, but overall my reassurance comes from God. I have again been reminded of what a brave and loving little girl He has gifted to me. She will be a blessing to her teacher and her classmates when she goes to kindergarten in August.
Holy moly. I can't believe she is going to start kindergarten this year!