So, apparently I have located bits and pieces of the Book of Kim that I was looking for a while ago. You know, the one where I was hoping God would just lay it all out there for me, as in, what path I was to follow in certain areas of life (one area in particular that I have been questioning Him on for months). Well, after several months of listening for the Holy Spirit's leading, and then recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in another person's life, some of the fog has been lifted and I now have more freedom to share about what's been going on around here the past few months and how certain change is shaping the lives of those who live under the same roof as me.
It is no secret to most people who have actually been able to have a live, face-to-face conversation with me about my change in job location this past year, that I was not enjoying the new job experience like I thought I would. About 8 weeks ago I was this close to throwing in the towel and looking for alternate work. My expectations of what my new position would be like were shattered the day I arrived at my new school, and it wasn't until a couple of weeks before Christmas that I truly began to appreciate and like my work again.
This Fall was a despondent time for me and I often found myself lamenting over my new job and almost resenting the fact that I had to work at all. I was also doing a lot of unhealthy and unfair comparisons between my current and former work placements, but as events in the past month have evolved, the reason I am where I am has been made more clear to me. I am very grateful that God allowed me to see a tiny glimpse of the "Big Picture" regarding my life. I think it was when I finally gave my job over to Him completely and accepted the fact that I was there for a purpose (whether or not it made sense to me or not), I began to appreciate my job and actually began to feel gratitude for the opportunity to have the experience I am having working where I am. I think I'll leave it at that, since I want to respect the boundaries of what would and would not be acceptable to share on my blog about work; however, I would really like to write a book someday, possibly entitled, "Tales from the Colony". In retrospect, some things that have happened were hilarious, even though at the time they weren't so pleasant to be a part of.
So that takes care of one chapter from The Book of Kim.
Another chapter surrounds the education that my children have received while attending a brick and mortar school. I am pretty sure I have eluded to the fact that my older son, Mitchell, has not had an easy time fitting in with his peers since we moved to our current location four years ago. He was part-way through grade 2 when we moved here, and based on his previous 2.5 years in the public education system at his first school, I had limited concern over his acceptance and ability to make and keep friends at the new location. In our former town he was a popular, well-liked kid with many friends. But that is not the case here. It has been very sad, frustrating and heartbreaking to watch the emotional demise of my child at the expense of another child's gain.
Here again, I want to be sensitive to my son as well as to others who are involved in the public education system. I still work in public education and as one friend of mine put it (she happens to be a teacher), "The school organization is a wonderful thing, as long as everything works." That is true. And there are many, many wonderful schools and teachers and I do not want to discredit their work. But for my son, the school organization has not been working for four years, and as a result, we are now homeschooling Mitchell for the remainder of his grade 6 year and plan to continue until God directs us otherwise.
Of course, living in a small town comes with the challenge that everyone thinks our business is their business, and our decision to do this has raised many eyebrows and fortunately for me, I really don't care what any of the inhabitants of our community have to say about our decision or what they think about it. I know there are those who don't believe the bullying was that bad and there are those who do actually see where we are coming from because it's happened to one of their children as well. We have no intention of creating a debate on the subject of homeschooling, bullying, teacher competence at our school or anything of that sort. Our main objective is to provide emotional safety for our son which he was not receiving at school or on the bus. He experienced emotional, social and at times, physical bullying. As parents it is our responsibility to keep our children safe and that is why we have chosen to do this. I know some people think we did this in haste, but we didn't. I honestly cannot remember when I've spent so much time in prayer deliberating over a decision, listening for God's guidance and direction.
Since we decided to teach Mitchell at home, his demeanor has changed. The anger and frustration he formerly directed towards us as parents and his younger brother has decreased dramatically. I can't say that Mitchell and Ty no longer argue or fight. They do. They're brothers, and I think that's just part of being brothers. However, Mitchell's spirit seems lighter--like a heavy load has been lifted off him because he doesn't have to face the bullies anymore. He doesn't have to constantly be defending his side of the story. He doesn't have to walk on eggshells every time he steps onto the bus to get to school. A part of him is now free and it is so refreshing to see.
Due to the nature of our removal of Mitchell from the public school system, we have opted to continue with counselling provided to us by our local school division. His former teacher has been great with making herself available to us to answer any questions we may have and has offered materials for us to use as well. A large part of my Christmas break was spent putting together the final details regarding curriculum, filling out legal paperwork, coming up with our philosophy and determining educational goals for the remainder of the year. It has felt overwhelming at times, but I am very grateful for my sister and some other friends who are home-based educators. They have provided me with a wealth of knowledge and have been very supportive to us throughout the process.
For now I will continue working at my job until the end of June, which averages 15 hours per week. With my flexibility in scheduling and the fact that my husband is a shift-worker, we have been able to establish a routine for Mitchell in which one of us is available to him as he is homeschooled. Once July comes we'll need to evaluate where things are at and whether or not my current job will come available in September again or not. My position has suffered cuts to hours every year since I began my job and I'm not sure if I want to continue in a setting where job security is so volatile. The exciting thing for me is that I'm not too stressed about this and I know that God has all the details worked out already.
So yes, change is upon us. So far we are managing quite well. Mitchell is very dedicated to his work and is excited to be doing this. I am excited too. I never thought it would come to this, but I believe that God has been preparing me to become a homeschooling parent for the last four years. He has given me the opportunity to work in an educational environment where I have gained many skills that I wouldn't otherwise have. He has given me a position in which I have flexibility to accommodate the needs of my family for which I am grateful. He has given me a child who is smart and easy to teach. He has given me a husband who, five months ago, was opposed to the idea of homeschooling--but God changed His heart and Wayne is in full support of homeschooling Mitchell.
I am truly in awe over God's love for me and especially His love for my children. They are a gift from God and as I follow Him in obedience, God will bless us for trusting Him to know what's best for our kids.
That's all I can write for now. I'm sure I'll have many adventures to share along the way. If any of you are homeschooling parents, and have some sage advice for me, please, by all means, send it my way:)