27 August 2008

Paging Pascal...what are the odds?

Empirical evidence that God has a wicked sense of humor.

Long story short, my husband and I knew twenty years ago that if we ever had kids, we would homeschool them. We also had names picked out for our kids before we even tied the knot.

After 15 years of marriage, we finally were blessed with kids and we did stick with the names we had picked way back when. Just yesterday, I posted about having my homeschool all ready to go. Today I went to the library and picked up the last few items I had placed on hold. The school books are on the shelf, I'm (sort of) mentally prepared, chairs are at the table, crayons in their container, and we're good to go.

But, it's always somethin'. My grandfather had a German saying for this kind of irony or chaos or kick in the head, "Da gegen kannst du nicht machen." Which I interpret to mean, "There's nothing you can do about it." I don't even know if this was his exact saying because my grandfather passed away before my parents married and this phrase was handed down through the family...and they don't speak German, so I suspect it might have some translation problems. But the gist of the saying is that life is beyond anyone's control, only God, with His wicked sense of humor, can see (or orchestrate) what's coming.

Today is a perfect example of this. Ha ha, very funny, is what I'm thinking.

There was a message on the answering machine when I got home from the library. Had dropped hubby off at the airport, so he wasn't around, which may be lucky for him because I think I almost burst.

The message: Nova now has an opening in their program for Mark for Kindergarten.

Back at the beginning of the year, I posted about trying to get Mark into this school, but he was placed on the waiting list. Despite our overwhelming desires to homeschool, this program was really close to what I would teach at home, minus any religion, of course, so it was very tempting. We threw our hat in the ring and Mark came up 17 on the waiting list (which totalled over 100 prospective students). Figured being placed on the wait list was God's way of affirming our plans, solidifying and clarifying our decisions. Everyone was on the same page.

Not too long ago, I had hubby call the school to see how the wait list was doing. The lady said that Mark, surprisingly, was now at 14, but hubby got the impression from talking to her that very few kids ever escaped from the netherworld of the wait list. Having the wait list move three was unheard of. So, even though I thought another call to the school just a week ago might be worthwhile to find out our status, I chalked it up to my momentary Type A personality relapse and fought the urge to call.

Then look what happens! Just days before public school starts and days before I planned to start homeschooling!

The spin I'm putting on this (instead of thinking God is messing with my already precarious mental state) is that God wants me be the one to make this decision so that I'm completely comfortable with keeping Mark home. True blue, cut and dried, period at the end of the sentence. Instead of the school leaving us sitting indefinitely in the anteroom on the wait list, I get to tell the school that I sincerely and genuinely want to keep Mark home -- we are homeschooling. 100% sure I'm doing the right thing, 100% my (our) decision, 100% no regrets.

Ha, ha, I'm so not laughing!!


Ray from MN said...

God Bless You, Swissie!

You're going to make a great teacher! And your son will love you all the more for it.

Sanctus Belle said...

Well, I'm not a home schooler - never was, never wanted to be. My kids somehow survived public schools and are teenagers now and have somehow managed to not become pagans (read sarcasm :)

Anyway - the reason for my comment is this: There's nothing wrong with home schooling, nothing wrong with sending kids to school, public, private, magnet or charter! Keep in mind, that when your kids are in the very early grades, it really DOES NOT MATTER. This I do believe.

I remember when my older kids were in K through oh...4th and at the conferences I'd actually feel stress over how well my kids were keeping up, reading and math and all that. The fact is in those early grades they all learn at different speeds and levels and are mostly learning their social skills and how to sit still. Fancy curriculums are just that - fancy. In the end they won't make one wit of a difference for your kid, they won't become a genious because of X school, nor will Y school or homeschooling make them idiots.

If I've learned anything from being a mom for over 16 years now its this - teach your kids self discipline, to gradually take ownership and control of themselves, their behavior and their school work. This with a strong sense of responsibility and completion of duties before play and they will do fine. No fancy school can replace these essentials of life. For instance, I found by instilling these values, by 2nd grade my kids would come home, sit down with homework and do it without being reminded. I was there only to help if they needed it. Now as teenagers they would not even consider not doing their homework - my hope is that this discipline will serve them throughout life.

Ok, I'll stop now. Swiss Miss, follow your heart and homeschool if you want. Either way your kids will turn out beautifully.

swissmiss said...

Hi Sanctus:
We are homeschooling for a variety of reasons, but I know other families who just don't have the desire and other families who just cannot afford to have a parent at home. We are blessed in that respect. I try not to bash public schooling too much, except for my own poor education and along those lines, my very poor catechesis!

When I finally talked to my husband last night and told him about Nova, he was glad we were homeschooling because we just don't feel our son is ready for school, plus we have some speech issues we are addressing too.

Nothing fancy in my homeschool. Most of it is a smattering of things that have been pulled together, trying to work from a Catholic core that teaches morals and virtues and such.

Aside from handing down the Faith, I think the thing my parents did, like you mentioned, is teach me to be responsible for myself, stand on my own two feet, and to think for myself and not go along with the crowd. If I can somehow pass the Faith and those ideas along to my kids, even more than a book education, then I'll have achieved my main goal. I do want them to have a challenging and broad based education, but like I heard Father Corapi say just this morning...if you help to get your children to Heaven, your glory will be great. I stress more about that than how my kids might do on a test or report card. Serious stuff this parenting!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Whoa...maybe God is trying to tell you, "SEND HIM TO THAT SCHOOL!"

heehe, just messin with ya (jumpin on the hogpile with God).

Sanctus is right. It doesn't really matter in the low grades anyway BUT it was helpful to start at home so the kids didn't have to transition from outside school to homeschool once there was a "problem" (and there are ALWAYS problems...with EVERY kind of school!).

My family had some good, German phrases too-but I can't repeat them here!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Whoopsie, I didn't mean to imply that any problems encountered in "regular school" would be impossible to overcome. I know a lot of people who didn't end up demented that went to public schools.

I do see, however, the difference in attitudes of my neighbor kids (good, Catholic families included) and my own children (along with others in our HS group) once the teenage years hit. There is just SO MUCH pressure in public school to "fit in" that learning seems to be VERY secondary and they seem to be consumed by the things of the world. There should be more of a balance (one that I hope to provide by teaching my kids at home!).

swissmiss said...

Dear Laura the EVIL Mama:
LA LA LA - I'm not listening!!!!

You'll have to tell me the German phrases...our German heritage is being lost, right? Plus, I need to know then in case my kids should ever say them...wouldn't want to be ignorant :)

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Oh, and the BUS? The bus is another matter all together!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

LOL! God does that!!! You will make the right choice for your son. Pray, have confidence and do what you believe. Don't forget you keep a choice. Maybe one day you might think school is better for some reason-take it as it comes.

I had the chance to send my son to school and took the chance and SOOO REGRETTED it. Pulled him out and all is well.

I wish I had always homeschooled. I wish my oldest had been homeschooled and I wish the others had never set foot in secondary school. Nevertheless God is seeing us through.

Happy belated feast day btw.

Anonymous said...

Dear Swiss Miss,

Too bad you are not coming to Nova. My son will be in the kindergarden class there. Good Luck with home schooling! Becareful not to judge those who do not home school. As a fomer home schooling Mom I know did it. Ah, the sin of pride.


swissmiss said...

Best wishes to you and your son at Nova. It was a hard decision, but even if we weren't planning to homeschool, there are things we need to deal with (speech problems and maturity) that make Nova just not the right choice for us now. We'll see how my son does this year and are keeping our options open for first grade at Nova.

And, good advice to not judge no matter what school your child attends!

Are you attending the bible study at St. Augustine's this year?