Thursday, August 28, 2008

Public School: Demasking of the Monster That Was

This week has been fun, exhausting, stimulating, and HOT! I thought it was hot a few days ago, but it wasn't. Today, it's hot. The streets are silent. Lilo and Superkid are sound asleep taking that much needed nap, and Princess is playing Mario. Rick is all ready home, and I'm glad cause not even the mailman should have to endure this.
BTW, it's 107 at 4pm! is it going?
It's going very well! Great actually. The girls first day Lilo came out with a big grin on her face and lots to tell. Princess was tired but she was tired on Sunday from a week of camp and she never really got to catch up from vacation, to camp, to school, then add the heat.

(we made peanut butter cookies on Monday, the girls first little helping chef)

(Superkid did something amazing, something you could never do if you tried. He managed to crack the egg over the bowl but only get the shell in the all ready going butter and sugar, and the yolk all complete on the counter! Mommy had to spend the next five minutes picking out shell pieces after she quickly tried to turn the mixer off before it was all worked in!)

Superkid had his first day of kindergarten on Tuesday. If you have been following the blog, you know that his teacher is the wife of an old favorite teacher of mine. He did not talk about going to school much all summer. He was neither excited nor apparently apprehensive. Then, on Monday, while the girls were in their first day, he began making some revealing statements like "Mommy, I don't know how to learn". I could tell that he somehow thought he had to know what the girls knew to be up at the school, and was nervous he would be the only one who didn't understand or couldn't do....whatever. I tried to assure him with my words and he listened but I was a little worried all of a sudden what the next day was going to be like. Then, at 2pm, we had to be up at the school for his little kindergarten assessment. It was a short test with one of the kindergarten teachers to get an idea of what each child is coming in to the year all ready knowing, or not knowing at all. (doing the pointy-finger-happy-dance while jumping out of the van for the first day of kindergarten)

(Showing Lilo where the Library is, since he found it the day before walking around with mommy)

(caught mid-air in a happy skip down the halls....yes, my son skips sometimes:*)

Superkid went right over across the room to the teacher and sat down, he seemed confident to be starting. That right there made me feel better. Then, when he was done taking the test, the teacher gave me a big hearty thumbs up so I knew he had done well. I came on over and she let us know together that he was really above where he needed to be all ready. That made him smile, and he was eager to go to school after that. He even went home and asked me to pull out worksheets so he could do them.
Each day I'm asking the kids what their favorite part of the day is (this is our cookies and milk time at the table, when they also had me any papers and let me know what they need to do) and what the hardest part was.

(name changed for blog:)

The first day Lilo said that nothing was hard, and there was nothing she didn't like. I am absolutely thrilled with her teacher who blessed me by thanking us for letting Lilo be in her class. Lilo loves school now....that is something! I knew when we met this teacher, that they would hit it off well, and they have. (Superkid and Mrs.E)

I knew Superkid was adjusting well when on the second day of school he saw his teacher in the distance and said excitedly "Hello Mrs. E....!" He does not usually greet openly anyone he does not feel real comfortable with. He has been enjoying that he knows a lot of the stuff so far, but feeling stretched to learn his name in lowercase letters since he is so comfortable writing in

(getting his intro picture taken)

capitols. I don't remember ever using lower case in kindergarten but they move faster now days on some things. They have play time too and he loves the big playhouse in the classroom where he can play cook pizza between lessons. I was blessed that on a board introducing herself with pics of her and her family Mrs. E had for her favorite book: The Bible, and on her other picture "God made me special". Nice to see boldness in the public school.
Princess has had the biggest adjustment I would say. She told me she loves it and would not go back, but she has had different challenges. A little boy who likes her and tried to pinch her cheek like a mommy would a cute baby's...not cool. The teacher reminded the kids that they need to all keep their hands to themselves and respect other peoples space, but the next day he tried to poke her. So, this little guy is getting in trouble very early on. He is not being mean to her, just trying to get her attention (like boys use to pull ponytails way back in our day, I guess). I told her that under no circumstance is anyone to lay a hand on her personage whether to be funny or else. She was bold enough to let the teacher know the second time and I told her I was proud of her for handling it. She was put as a barrier between two chatty girls as well, because she was the one quiet and paying attention. I warned her to look out for the chatty one trying to talk to her instead, but we have not had a problem. So, when she gets her turn to share what was great and what was hard, the certain little boy is always the subject of the annoyance of the day.

For homeschooling kids, they have made the transition miraculously so far and I am so thankful.
I thank God for the way they are excited and doing well.

For me there have been other adjustments. Though my schedule is not fully kid free during school hours as Superkid is only in school right now from 8:25-11:20, the few hours at home have been a very focused time and they go fast. I do feel in my element and reassured for this time that this is where we are supposed to be.
Socially it has had it's challenges. It is strange to take off a hat that use to match others and now does not. Some of my friends have proven to be deep sisters and moved along with me, if not further in our journey as friends as they have prayed for us and encouraged us to follow the Lord's lead no matter where he takes us. Others seem to not know what to talk to me about anymore and avoid the subject of school. I try to battle out in my head...."don't read in to it Alicia, trust in God, he has lead you, and He is faithful". Yet, I feel like some Christian's think this a very nonspiritual thing (and that's again, me worried about what man thinks, not God....."but it's a Christian man God...isn't that more important!?"). When someone turns to homeschooling there is usually silent applause for being so self-sacrificing, and doing the "best". When you are called out it sometimes feels like only God and few friends and family are cheering you on. Sorry for venting, but I have to remind myself, I'm allowed, it's my blog.
I just feel the change brutally at times, and more than that, I feel like the decision does not make logical "spiritual" sense.
Yet, the Lord has encouraged me greatly the last few days. I have been reminded of how important it is for Christians to not seclude and hide away, therefore removing all salt from the earth. I use to think that our family being salt and light in the public school was actually more like sacrificing my children to wolves. That they should be coddled and protected from all non-christian thinking and worldview until they were old enough to be sent off and then enter that world. I still stand by my former mention that I don't believe in entering the public school for the motivation of being salt and light alone. What do I mean by that then, and why does it sound like I'm contradicting myself? Well, I'll explain.

You could spin your globe and finger point to any place on the planet inhabited by humanity and say that you should go there because there are people who need the gospel. You would be right, and your reasons would be right, but does at mean you should go there? No, definitely not. Why should you go then? Only if you are called by God to go. Does he call people into the public school? Yes. Does he call people to Africa? Yes. Does he call people to homeschool? Yes. In all cases, he calls us all to look for every opportunity to be salt and light in this dark world when we are within the situation he has all ready called us to. That is how I speak of it, after the fact of the calling to be here. Now that we have been called to the public school, our conversation to our kids is very thick with the subject of being salt and light, and it is exhilarating and fulfilling to anticipate what God will do now that He has us here. That is where he spirit of fear is abolished just like those called to the dangers of India and Africa go boldly. If God is for us, who can be against us!

The fact is, I don't think there is one formula for all families, well, there's called pray, and follow God's leading, and be bold. I do think, after entering the public arena and feeling the change after being so secluded after so many years, that families who do homeschool may want to make an effort to be in some arenas where they and their children have the chance to be light and practice standing up for their faith, and sharing it. Seasoning the world with the good news is after all our great commission from Jesus and he said to "go out" not to "hide and wait till it's over". I know that sounds like a stark statement but I don't mean it as a slam to homeschoolers, just as an encouragement to us all look for those opportunities either way. You could be in the public school and still hide out, but it would eventually lead to compromise since you are out there, and visable.
Princess was asked by another classmate if she was a Christian on the first day of school. I was surprised that someone else beat her to the subject. She was glad to make a Christian friend. The next day Princess came home and asked me what I thought of her setting up an accountability with her new friend for them to read a chapter in their bibles every day. I said I thought that sounded great! What amazed me was, that as a ten year old, she followed through and she and this friend are doing that very plan.
Myself, I found little baby steps today of how I can look for those opportunities to build relationships. I was in line at a check out in town and one of Superkid's fellow kindergarten kids spotted him and said hi. They stood their chatting and I got to say a few words to the little one's mom. Then the lady behind her asked me if he went to (blank) school. I said yes, and that I had two others up there too. She went on to tell me she had two up there and was very talkative from there. In an few moments in line, I was able to make a connection with her I would not have been able to make before. Being around the school every day you tend to see some of the adults on a regular basis. I knew I would probably see her again, and now we have had an ice breaking conversation. I don't know who she is, but God does. I don't know if I'll talk to her more, but He does. I do know that we are out there and I can feel it! I can feel the boldness to grasp every opportunity to greet and show love to people in the every day of life. To be a friend. To reach out. It comes naturally to me to do that and I have been pondering if that is why the Lord has put this change in our lives, because He knows we will speak boldly and joyfully of Him whenever we get the opportunities. Each one of my children tend to be sociably outgoing in this way as well and I all ready see the blossoming in this new journey. Leading them through this won't be easy, but it will make us strong if we go to the Lord about all of it and ask Him to guide. I like this verse shared by an author on the Sojourners Journal listed on my blog roll.

John 17: 15-17 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
(taken from this post on public school)
This song on christian radio has spoken to my heart lately:
"Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasnt it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
Theres a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
Hes out of work
Hes buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?


Ive Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all aloneChorus (x2)


Kristen Borland said...

i'm so excited for you to embark on this adventure. i can't say that public school, private school, or homeschooling is any better than the others. i agree that God has didn't plans for different families. what i'm excited about is you and rick following God's leading and acting upon it. that's a beautiful thing.

that video was so touching. i'm a bit emotional these days (of course!). things like that always make me yearn for the day when we can (finally) adopt.

Karen said...

I'm so glad that the adjustment is going well so far for the kids, Alicia!! The pics of the school sure make me miss "home" and Mrs. E and Mrs. M. And I pray your adjustment contiunes to be positive too!

I am Katy, said...

I'm glad to hear the first week of school went well. I've been praying for your family a lot the last couple of weeks and am excited to see God answering prayers both for a smooth transition and for Him to show Himself through your family.

Zimms Zoo said...

It was nice to see how well everything went.

Boys can be a tough subject. My son has a tendency to pick on girls just to annoy them. (he gets in trouble a lot for that). Then my girls get bothered by them.

It does seem that these days parents think it is so cute for elementary kids to have "boyfriends". I say that is an extremely. slippery slope.

Anyway the pics were fun. Glad kindergarten went well for him!

Alicia said...

i'm right there with you on that one. our belief is that romance is for one purposeful end...marriage. if you are not ready to marry, you are not ready to be romantically labled. that's just out take on it. thankfully, there is still a lot of awkward inhibition at this age. we encourage Princess to be a friend to everyone. more on that tomorrow.:)

Alicia said...

Oh, and thank you all for your notes. thank you katy for praying for our that was such a blessing to know!