On Monday, August 17th, our family began a new journey. As public schools were starting in this area our family choose to homeschool. Wes and I had considered the option of homeschool before when Katherine was beginning kindergarten, but I wasn't sure I could handle teaching Katherine to read. I felt I would be alone in the journey and kept using the excuse that there wasn't a homeschool group for us to be part of like in more metro areas. Deep down I knew homeschooling was what God was leading Wes and I to do, but I wasn't ready to trust the Lord in that decision.
Two years ago we enrolled Katherine in Swink Public School. Swink is a very small community about five miles west of our house. When Wes and I visited there and met with the Superintendent and Teachers we were very impressed. Almost of all the teachers were Christians and were active in church. It felt more like a small Christian school than a regular public school. Katherine did very well in kindergarten, and we were pleased with the school. The following year Katherine had a wonderful teacher and excelled in the academics, but the school atmosphere had changed quite a bit from the previous year. Grades that had been separated the year before were now combined in the same class. Several of the wonderful Christian teachers moved to another school system, and Swink lost what we loved most about it.
We briefly considered enrolling her in the Valliant schools in second grade, but we were concerned that in a large class of second graders, she would quickly become bored, and the teacher in Valliant, because the class is larger, might not be able to give her the attention she would need.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I was against homeschooling two years ago was because I felt Wes and I would be essentially on our own. That has changed in the intervening time. There is a homeschooling group in Valliant and another one in Antlers. The Valliant group has at least seven families with about 24 kids. This group meets once a week, and this year has began a physical education class. Each month there will also be a field trip, and this group partners with other homeschooling groups around our area and in Oklahoma City. Wes and I will not be in this alone!
Ultimately, we chose to homeschool because we recognize that Katherine's and Sebastian's education is our responsibility. We are not against public schools; they are one tool available to be used in carrying out our responsibility, but for now they're not the best option for us. Homeschooling will allow us to ensure that the things they learn will be taught from a Christian worldview perspective. They won't learn "real" history in a classroom, and "Bible" history at home & church; they'll learn it in a integrated way. It is valuable to us to see that their education is Christ-centered, and so that, in combination with everything else, is why we're doing what we're doing.
We are in week five and loving it. We've had a few not so good days where our schedule has been messed up, the the good out weighs those days! We've enjoyed a back to school swimming party and our first physical education class with our homeschooling group. Last week was a scheduled field trip to the McCurtain County Fair. We did not go as a group, but allowed each family to go on their own. The kids and I went on Thursday and enjoyed seeing all the animals while taking time to enjoy some food as well. We were able to watch some new friends from our group show their animals, and Katherine thought it was cool to see one of her new friends win a first place ribbon for her pig.
Life is different around our house; however, it is a good different!
Two of us enjoyed a funnel cake. Some little boy wasn't interested. Not sure what's wrong with him!
To celebrate making it to the end of our first week of school we went to the donut shop for breakfast.
Katherine jumped off the diving board. She's under the splash of water. I was so proud of her! This was at our homeshool swimming party.
(Some of the paragraphs written in this post were copied from previous emails from Wes & I to family and friends.)