Saturday, May 21, 2016

What My Son Taught Me At His Homeschool Evaluation

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Hi, friends! It is getting to that time of year where summer is in the very near future, and the kids will be home for the summer. I know many homeschool families are getting ready to pack it up for the year, and enjoy the summer months. One of the women at my church is graduating her last homechool child. Someone compared it to her of sending your last child to Kindergarten. It is a bittersweet moment as you realize your babies are growing up, even if they are 18 year old babies.

I think the day my sons graduate from homeschool, I will be a mess. There is so much that goes into homeschooling, and it becomes so much more than an education choice. It becomes a lifestyle choice. I went to a homeschool conference a few years ago, and the speaker said the quote, "The days are long, but the years are short." My oldest and I had his homeschool evaluation this week, and it went horrible. For those who don't know what this is, I have to pack up everything we have done in our homeschool year, (projects, papers, worksheets, artwork, curriculum) and bring it to a Certified Evaluator and they pretty much evaluate my son and me. The only problem is, they don't see the online material we cover, the field trips we go on, the recipes or experiments we do, the outdoor activities or the hands-on learning.   

I had this same person evaluate us last year, and she had such good things to say about my son's learning. I'm not sure if she was having a bad day, but it really turned into a comparison and a battle of how she and I homeschool. We couldn't homeschool more differently. She doesn't have cable TV and her children have not seen any movies; they play outside and do worksheets all day. (To anyone who homeschools this way, I am not judging. It's just not how I homeschool. I embrace the technology that is available and really give my sons a more eclectic learning style) My son was wearing his favorite Captain America shirt, and she asked if he had seen the new movie. He began to tell her about the scenes in the movie and how he was my son's hero. She asked me then if it was appropriate for her 17 year old to see. My son is six. She looked at me like I was crazy, and I left there with my head down and tears running down my face. 

Ultimately, her and I did agree that he had learned enough material for the year and that he was on par with his peers. I just didn't understand why my son and I were put on the defensive like that. We homeschool for about 2 hours a day, whether it is in a curriculum or an online based learning site. He also does his chores, plays outside, and is able to be a child for the rest of the day. We then went onto the grocery store where my sociable homeschool son, became automatic friends with another child while this other child's Mom and I shopped and kept a close eye on our children. The cashier even made a comment at how amazing his personality was, that he could just pick up a conversation with someone and become friends just like that. This lifted my spirits a bit, and we headed home.

I still went to bed that night, feeling sick and like someone had knocked the wind out of me. All the ugly lies starting coming in that I was doing him a disservice, and how I should just send him and my youngest son to school. I prayed on it and fell asleep. It wasn't until the very early morning, that I felt God press upon my heart. I felt like He said, "You both (meaning me and the Homeschool Evaluator) are on homeschool journeys, but that doesn't mean you both are on the same path." 

How these words gave me such a peace! It can literally be applied to us all. How many of us judge another Mom for being a Career Mom instead of Stay at Home Mom, or vice versa? How many people judge a Christian or a homeschool parent, because it's something they don't understand? Many people make the decision to send their children to public or private school, or homeschool them. As I have always stated, education is a personal decision and one that is different for every family. What if we all respected others ways of doing things, and didn't judge? I think worse than the judgements, is the assumptions people make about others. Especially, when you are judged by someone who is in the same inner circle as you such as another homeschool Mom.

What if we got to know others, especially the ones we don't understand? What if we prayed for each other, instead of judging? I think people would be surprised at how very normal my family and I are. People hear the words Homeschool and Christian, and automatically we are put on a pedestal with halos above our heads or put on the "Weirdo" list. Growing up and being a part of the public school system in the north, my upbringing taught me this: Homeschoolers are weird. Christians are hypocrites.


Only God  could take this Jersey girl, and turn her into a southern homeschool Mom, and a Christian. I come from the other side of the tracks, and I know God used this to glorify Him and for me to educate others because I understand where they are coming from. Not only has God used me, but has given me sons who love Him and love others the way He does. 

The funny thing about homeschooling, is you think you are teaching your children, but God is ultimately teaching you and switches it around to have you learn through seeing your children teach you. My son was like a duck that day in his homeschool evaluation, and let it all roll off his back. He was uncomfortable in the situation, but went on from this encounter to be friendly to a stranger. I could not be more proud of him, and you know what? There is not a curriculum out there that could have taught him that.

Blessings,

Kelly

#homeschool 


30 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you had such an awful experience over your sons review. I know from reading your blog that you all do so much! I guess it is just something in our human nature to judge and compare and I find that, yes, even in the homeschooling community (and sadly sometimes I say especially in the homeschooling community) there is a lot of judgement. Often I find it's not always the curriculum debate either I feel judged on what technology my kids use and how often, I feel judged on what I feed my kids, and even judged on our beliefs. I'm glad you found peace though and hope you know how wonderful a job you are doing.

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    1. Hi, Mother of 3! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comment! It was so weird running into judgment from another homeschool Mom. I'm sorry that you have run into this as well in the homeschool community. We should all be encouraging and helping each other, and the best place I have found this in fellow homeschool Mom bloggers such as yourself. Thanks again for such a wonderful comment! You are doing amazing also! I love reading your posts and seeing what you all are learning. Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

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  2. What an awful experience! It sounds like you and I homeschool much the same way. I wish you lived in PA- my evaluator is awesome. We either send her just a few samples (she doesn't care how many) or email them to her, and she conducts the interview over the phone because she lives about 45 minutes away. She asks them what their favorite book was, their favorite subject, what field trips we took, etc. She is so easygoing because she recognizes that learning happens in everyday living. I hope you can find a better evaluator for next year. You're doing a great job!

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    1. Hi, Shelly! It does sound like we homeschool the same way. Your evaluator sounds amazing! It's so hard to wrap up a homeschool year in one sitting because like you said, learning is always happening in everyday living. I appreciate your comment so much and thank you for your kindness. I will definitely be finding a new evaluator for next year after this experience, lol! Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

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  3. Kelly, You are giving your son a gift by homeschooling. It is true that every family and their choice of education is personal and unique to their situation. I am so glad that both you and your son are learning and growing.

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    1. Thank you, Carol! Homeschooling has truly been a blessing to our family. It is amazing how we all are learning and growing through this adventure. Thanks so much for commenting and hope you have a wonderful week :)

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  4. Wow, how stressful. I'm sorry it was such a bothersome evaluation - wish I could have done it for you, because I already know you're doing a great job!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! That means a lot to me! Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks so much for your kind comment :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing! More people need to hear that story. And your closing was dead-on.... "no curriculum could have taught him that". I don't know your family's goals, but academics without character are meaningless if you study many of methods of "old". And its part of the reason our current system in America continues to fall behind... we've lost character and discipline. And without those, education is meaningless!

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    1. Hi, Trena! I 100% agree with you! My husband and I want our sons to be smart and be on par with their peers, but knowing respect, manners, and the love of Christ is so much more important to us. Thanks so much for commenting and hope you have a wonderful week :)

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  6. That sounds like a terrible experience, but I'm glad you got the lesson/blessing you needed out of it! I love hearing stories from other homeschool moms so I know what to expect. My son is only a year old so I have some time before evaluations, etc come into play!

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    1. Hi, Leah! It is good that you are already researching and knowing stories of other homeschool experiences. Homeschooling is such a blessing. Wishing you all the best for when you and your son start your homeschool adventures! It is so worth it, even on the hard days and when you run into people like I unfortunately did in this case. Thanks for commenting and hope you have a wonderful week :)

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  7. Awe, I'm so sorry that your experience wasn't more positive and that you doubted yourself for even a moment. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks, Erin! I appreciate your kind comment! I am hopeful next year's evaluation will go much better! Thanks for commenting and hope you have an amazing week :)

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  8. Wow, it sounds like your evaluator let her personal parenting choices get in the way of giving you an objective review. I wonder if there is a way to appeal her review or ask for a different evaluator. I don't homeschool, but if I did I would definitely want the person reviewing my child to put aside their teaching and parenting style when they looked at our work. Hang in there, I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

    Thanks for joining the Family Joy link party! :)

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    1. Hi, Samantha and thanks for visiting from Family Joy Link party! I am thankful that she signed the paperwork to allow him to go onto the next grade level, but it was really a hurtful process she put both my son and I through. We are definitely getting a different evaluator next year! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. Hope you have a wonderful week :)

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  9. Sorry you had to have such an unpleasant person do your homeschool review. I am blessed to live in a county where our homeschool reviewers tend to be very friendly and affirming. I have friends who live in counties where they have bigger hassles. Thanks for sharing your story at the #LMMLinkup.

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    1. Hi, The Forever Joyful Homeschool and thanks for stopping by from #LMMLinkup! It was really a weird situation. I am hoping she just had a bad day, and didn't put anyone else through what my son and I had to endure that day. Your county sounds awesome! We all need encouragement and affirmation as homeschoolers. I've been so thankful for all the kind comments and reactions to his evaluation. Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for your kind comment as well :)

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  10. Beautiful, raw post. LOVE it. Sorry you had to go through that experience, but thanks for sharing it. <3

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    1. Hi, Dalynn! Experiences like this are hard to through, but I am glad to be able to share some blessings and encouragement from what I learned from it. Thanks so much for commenting and hope you have an amazing week :)

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  11. Your experience and others like it are why I was never part of a homeschool group for long. "What if we got to know others, especially the ones we don't understand? What if we prayed for each other, instead of judging?" I think this would solve many of the problems. There are so many different ways to homeschool and we all need to do what is best for our families. From your blog, it seems to me you are doing a great job! Blessings to you and thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup!

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    1. Hi, Gayl and thanks for stopping by from #LMMLinkup! There are really so many different ways to homeschool, and I have found such encouragement online and from fellow bloggers. I haven't had the best of luck with homeschool groups either. Thanks for leaving such a kind comment and I hope you have an amazing weekend! Blessings :)

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  12. keep the faith and stand for what you believe. I have some friends who have decided to have homeschooling and they are doing fine, amidst the harsh judgement from others. You are doing a fantastic job, dear and they can say whatever they want..

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    1. Hi, Indah! Thanks so much for your awesome and kind comment! I truly appreciate it. Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks again for commenting :)

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  13. When I was a catechist (Sunday School teacher) I often found I was the one doing the learning too. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFrivolity

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    1. Hi, Audrey and thanks for visiting from #FridayFrivolity! It truly is amazing the knowledge that we adults can learn from children. Thanks for commenting and hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

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  14. I would be so stressed at this kind of evaluation! I'm sorry you had such a rough experience, but I love how the Lord met you so powerfully with His comfort! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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    1. Amen, Tina! I have found that sometimes when we encounter situations like this one, the Lord has a way of turning a bad situation into something good. Thanks for hosting Booknificent Thursday and for commenting! Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

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  15. I'm glad you received peace regarding your homeschool evaluation. God is aware of each of us at all times. #OMHGWW

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    1. Amen, Donna! It is hard to go through circumstances like this one, but I am truly thankful He is there for us all. Thanks for visiting from #OMHGWW and for commenting! Hope you have a wonderful week :)

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