Monday, May 25, 2009

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool - THAT is the question! ;)

Since we learned that we didn't qualify for any financial assistance for Christopher to continue his education at FBA, we've been exploring our options. Actually, we've had our options on the back burner of our minds since we enrolled him in PK4 at FBA. However, we were always hopeful that we would qualify for some financial assistance, especially with the loss of my teaching job this time last year. But, that was not to be.

I have also thought off and on about home-schooling Christopher since we brought him home from the hospital. But, it's always been a distant though - something I didn't think I'd do until he was closer to Middle School age. But, this turn of events has brought it to the forefront of our decision making.

As with almost any decision making, there are pros and cons to consider. The pros are that I have taught every grade from PK4-5th Grade, so I have some idea of where he should be academically. I can also take him at his own pace, which can be a very good thing for him - he tends to get in trouble at school when he gets board. His one year at FBA has proved that he also tends to gravitate toward those children who get in trouble (thankfully, trouble at FBA is nowhere near what it takes to get in trouble in the public school)! So, home school also has the added benefit of keeping him from too many temptations that would get him in trouble.

The cons to consider are that he is an only child and would not have as much socialization as kids in the public school - this could also be considered a pro, as he'd be better able to focus on his studies. He most likely would not have a Kindergarten graduation, which led me to pick the picture above. ;) This is something I personally am grieving about him not attending FBA for Kindergarten. The only other con I can think of now is that he would be with me all the time, which would make it a little more challenging to set up appointments with new recruits. Again, a selfish issue. ;)

Christoher is excited about the prospect of me teaching him at home. He's a bit of a home-body, likes to sleep in, and enjoys doing "school-work" - so this is right up his alley, so to speak. When I asked him today what he most wanted to learn when I taught him at home, he very quickly told me, "To read and to write!"

Now, some have asked me about putting him in public school. While that is certainly an option, it is NOT high on our priority list. While I never thought I'd feel this way, having received all my education through public schools and having taught in them myself, I just can't bring myself to place my precious gift from God in such a morally bankrupt environment! Over the years that I've taught in public school, I've learned that stealing is to be rewarded and profanity is not a discipline issue. Yes, you read that right. At the very school where my child is zoned to attend, I had a 3rd grader who repeatedly stole from teachers and students - when I wrote a referral, he received a jackpot of school supplies. I was also informed that I was writing too many office referrals (mind you, the only time I wrote one was when the child stole something). The following year, I had 3 first grade students using profanity so foul that if used in a movie would automatically qualify it for an R rating. When a parent complained about the minor infraction (a form sent home to the parents to alert them of the incident) I'd written (by the way, this was the very same parent who was unmoved by the incident when I'd called the day it happened), I was infomed by my principal (in front of said child and parent) that it was not a discipline issue! Now, if I'm not going to allow my child to watch an R-rated movie, why would I allow him the opportunity to experience the same kind of language in his classroom? I just can't bring myself to do it.

Having said that, I don't want to imply that all public schools are bad - they are not. It really has a lot to do with the administration, not only at the very top, but also at each school level. For those who feel led to send their children o public school, I think no less of them. I just don't think it's right for my child at this point in time.

So...what are we going to do? I really can't tell you for sure. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to voice them in the comments section. I'm always willing to listen to others ideas! :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two Steps Forward, Four Back!

With Christopher's newfound love of the water, we decided that it was time for swimming lessons. Three weeks ago, Chistopher was very excited about this new adventure! Unfortunately, not so much now.
This was the first day of swimming lessons - we were at the gate, waiting to go in. Christopher was mostly excited, but nervousness was starting to set in.

This is the one and only time he went out with the instructor. He did pretty well, but he just revealed a few days ago that he'd swallowed some water then & didn't like it.

This is Christopher at the edge of the pool begging for me to let him out. I thought if I made him stay in, he'd gain confidence...but instead, it caused him to no longer want to get IN the water in the first place. Bad decision on my part! :(

Last week, my parents were in town and they went with us to swimming lessons before heading back to Montgomery, AL. Unfortunately, there was no swimming for them to see. Christopher absolutely refused to even get in the pool. We did manage to get him to put his feet in - but that was it.

On a side note, we've been working on his thumb-sucking habit. He was so pround yesterday to realize that he'd made it two whole days without the thumb (we're working towards a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's when he's thumb-free)! Today, however, he was so anxious about swimming lessons, that the thumb was an all-too-convenient comforter and was firmly planted in his mouth all morning long. I don't think I'm going to hold that one against him, though. :)

Today, despite our bribes of Spongebob movie rentals and a playdate with his buddy Jack, Christopher just could not bring himself to enter the pool. We got as far as his feet in, but only for a brief time & only at the very end of the lessons. When the lessons were over, Christopher was heartbroken to realize that he couldn't have Jack over to play. Daddy caved a bit and said if he'd get in the water & stand on the platform right then, Jack could still come over to play. Christopher decided to take the deal - and the boys spent a good part of their time together out in our backyard squirting each other with water guns! :)

Then they decided to team up and come after me...but don't worry...I had the water hose with finger posed over the nozzle so as to create quite an effective spray! Christopher got more wet from the water hose & water gun play than he did from swimming! Baby steps, I guess! :)

David got special permission from the teacher to get in the pool with them next week and stand next to the platform that the kids stand on while waiting for their turn to go out with the teacher. Hopefully, this will give Christopher the courage to at least get in the water the whole time. My friend Lori (a.k.a. Jack's mommy) also offered to let us come over after she gets done with school and let us go swimming with them at the community pool where they live. That's where Christopher first got over his fear, so maybe it will re-connect him with that courage he found there last summer! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sky is Falling!

I'm feeling discouraged today - so if you only like reading happy posts, then you should stop reading right now. I usually don't post when I'm feeling like this, but it's the only kind of therapy I can please excuse me if I seem a little down...I'm just going through a rough spot. When I come out on the other side, I'm sure I'll understand the purpose for all of this - but for now, I just need to release my feelings.

First of all, I'd like to say that I very much love my family, enjoy my AVON business - and know that God is completely in charge and works EVERYTHING together for our good. I'm reminding myself that it doesn't mean everything is going to BE good...just that it will all WORK TOGETHER for our good. ;)

That being said, I'm right smack dab in the middle of a pity party here! While my AVON business is steadily growing, it has not yet replaced my teaching salary & we are suffering financially as a result. I've tried not to talk too much about our financial struggles because 1) no one really wants to hear them, 2) it makes it sound like my AVON business isn't doing well and/or isn't a good way to make money. While #1 is pretty much completely true, #2 is so not! Let's just say, if it wasn't for AVON, we would be in a LOT worse shape financially than we are right now. It is helping to keep us somewhat afloat. We just need it to grow more (and quickly) so that we'll be back where we need to be.

The biggest problem with the financial issues is Christopher's schooling. From the time I moved down here 10 years ago and began teaching at First Baptist Academy (FBA), I dreamed of the day my future child(ren) would attend. When I taught Kindergarten my second year here, I dreamed of the day I'd watch my own child standing up wih his class & reciting the 23rd Psalm at Kinder graduation. But, all that threatens to remain just a dream. Tuition for Kindergarten at FBA is around $8,000 - or about $800/month if we pay monthly. We don't qualify for financial aid of any kind. And unless something miraculous happens to allow him to stay at FBA, then we'll have to move on to Plan B (Homeschooling)...or worse case scenario, Plan C (Public School). I don't mean to sound so negative about public fact, until a year or so ago, it was something we were considering after he graduated from FBA Kindergarten (remember, I was holding true to the dream of his Kindergarten graduation). But, when I got told as a 1st grade teacher last year that it was NOT a discipline issue for a child to use serious profanity (Mother F) in the classroom, I just could not imagine subjecting my child to such lack of values at this tender age! If this word had been used ONCE in a movie, it would qualify the movie for an R rating (even if the rest of the movie was relatively mild) - but apparently it's fine and dandy for it to be used in a 1st grade classroom! WHAT?!? I don't think so - at least not for my child!

I guess what I really need to focus on right now is that 23rd Psalm that I'm so looking forward to Christopher learning:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Just as a shepherd guides the dumb sheep of the field, God is guiding my dumb thoughts. I do not need to worry about how my child will be educated - God loved him long before I ever had the chance to love him! While this may seem like the valley of the shadow of death, it is not. The evil one would have me believe this is the end of my rope - and I must not give in to his persuasive talks that would lead me astray from my Shepherd, Who is bringing me comfort and reassurance even as I type these words. ;) Funny, when I started this, I had planned a rant about how frustrated I am with life right now - and yet, God used it to calm my anxious heart. I just love when He does stuff like that! What an amazing God we serve! :)