Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's A God Thing

My mom was the most wonderful, devoted mom a girl could ever want. One of the main ways she showed her love was through homeschooling my sister and me. She was amazing. You can read my memories of my homeschooling experiences in this post. When God called me to homeschool Snapper for 1st grade, I was full of grand plans of how I would be just like my mom in homeschooling. I would work hard to mold a child who has an above average understanding of grade level concepts, and who is a lover of learning. It hasn't worked out quite the way I wanted it to, and back in November I accepted that. I decided I would do homeschooling my way, to the best of my ability, and utilizing the resources available to me. I feel I've done a good job. I've got a little girl who is reading well above grade level, who can compose an organized, 7-sentence writing assignment, who spells really well, and who is fantastic with math. So I've accomplished that goal.

What I wasn't counting on was the personality of my child and the effects that personality would have on our homeschooling experience. My Snapper is a girl who feeds off other people, and thrives in a highly social environment with lots of stimulation. The one-on-one attention is not as important to her as being with a group. It is the mold she is cut out of. It has taken me a long time to figure this out. Homeschooling may actually not be a good fit for her! As the school year has progressed, schoolwork has become more and more of a struggle for Snapper--not because it is difficult, but because of other factors. Work that should take 1 1/2 hours takes 3-4 hours...of my undivided attention. I know I just said she doesn't need one-on-one. She doesn' a traditional classroom environment. The other day, Snapper told me in complete frustration that when she's at home trying to do school, all she can think about are the other things she would rather be doing. And Pepper’s frequent interruptions drive her nuts. She told me she misses being in school, and had a much easier time staying focused last year at her old school. I know this is true because I watched her in action. I don’t fully understand how a classroom full of kids can be less distracting than one small brother and 3 cats, but it is a proven fact in our case. I have not met the goal of helping her become a lover of learning. Instead, school has become a time of frustration for her. This is not what Matt and I want for her.

So we went back to the drawing board and began looking at other options. We fall just outside the income bracket that would qualify us for significant financial aid for a private school, so that option is void. The public school we’re zoned for is overcrowded, is low performing, and has some other major issues. Out of the question. The other awesome public elementary close to our house is only accepting transfers from ethnic minorities, which rules us out. So we did some research on the other schools in our area. We found a few other schools that met our standards for Snapper and her needs. We filled out applications and submitted them to the school district.

One conversation with the district shot our hopes. All the schools had open enrollment while we were in California in January and February. We had missed the deadlines, and found ourselves way down the waiting lists. They told us not to expect to get into any of the schools, and if by some miracle we did, it likely would not be until the week before school starts, or possibly even part way into the school year. At that point we left it with the Lord. We would leave our applications in, but not pursue other schools. We want an excellent school for Snapper, and we won’t settle for less. If God wanted us to stop homeschooling, He would open the door at one of the few schools we had chosen. We made this decision last week.

Day before yesterday Matt called the district office to check in and find out where Snapper was on the waiting lists. The answer was what we expected: WAY, WAY DOWN THERE! But oh, wait! Let’s look at this school (our #2 choice) again. What do you know…they have an opening! Would Snapper like to attend this school?

Wow…Hi God!

Less than a week after our paperwork was turned in, less than a week after being told we would not get in, there “happened” to be an opening. And guess what? One of my closest friends' son was accepted at the same school too!!!

The school is 20 minutes from our house with no traffic. BUT…it is a fantastic school that will be a perfect fit for Snapper. The class sizes are small, and there are lots of enrichment opportunities. We’ve heard rave reviews about the principal, and about the school as a whole, from several people--including teachers who send their own kids there!

We feel this is a huge, and very direct, answer to our prayers. An impossible door has swung open. The school meets our requirements. And God gave us a close friend to walk into this with.

Isn’t God good?

Snapper is SO excited! She is counting down the days until school starts in the fall. If you want more info about the school, email me and I’ll tell you more. I don’t want to post any identifying info on the school here in cyberspace.


Stef said...

Em, I love that you stop and take the time to really study your child. You're not making decisions that are based on "what makes mom's life easy" but decisions based on what's best for your specific child. Your kids will greatly appreciate this as they get older.

I'm very happy for you guys and will pray that the transition back to school goes well!

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing this story and for being honest about the challenges of homeschooling Snapper - I've heard how it can vary from child to child. She is so outgoing and I can understand the difficulty. The fact that your goal is to make her love learning is really awesome! Keep up the good work, Mom - and thanks for sharing how God made your path clear. :)

ErinL said...

What wonderful news of God's provision! It is a true testimony to your job as a homeschooler that you recognized that it WASN'T the best thing for your daughter. Good for you!