It’s time again for a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop. This month’s theme is ” Where and How to Begin.”
I was all set to draft a post myself when my friend Inga shared this story with me about her family’s transition out of a public elementary school to homeschooling. The moment that I read Inga’s words, I knew that I wanted it as a guest post here at RW&G during the hop. (Plus, since she’s a working homeschool parent, I felt a special responsibility to encourage her on her journey by sharing her story.)
Our house has a long, narrow side yard paved with concrete and fenced with cedar. It was sort of baking and grim until we set up rows of pots with roses, herbs, an orange tree, etc. Now there’s a mini basketball hoop, a sandbox, a barbecue. The kids draw with sidewalk chalk, spray water from the hoses, blow bubbles, and build forts in the sand with popsicle sticks.
This summer, I noticed that my parsley plants were being munched by several big, fat caterpillars. Well, live and let live. I have plenty of herbs, so I can afford to share some with the caterpillars. I dislike pesticides.
One morning in early August, my son (age 6) and daughter (age 3) piled out of kitchen door to play with bubbles, water, leaves, etcetera, while I watered my pots of roses and herbs. My daughter borrowed one of the hoses and watered the stubble of parsley. I saw movement on the ground—not splashing water, but a new butterfly shaking out its wings. Ah! Good thing I let those caterpillars eat the parsley. The butterfly stretched out its wings and hopped onto the fence. Beautiful black and iridescent blue with yellow and orange spots: a female black swallowtail.
Later, looking at the photo of the cropped parsley and the fledgling butterfly, I was thinking about my choices. I let nature take its course, and got a beautiful reward.
This applies to how I raise my kids, too.
My son (let’s call him F.T., after the ancestor who is his doppelgänger) had a traumatic second semester of kindergarten. It seemed like the teachers kept asking me to change my son to make him fit the school. In April, my son begged me, with tears running down his cheeks, not to make him go to school. I woke up one morning—I remember the day, April 22—realizing that I had no more energy to fight the school; I wanted to put my efforts towards taking care of my son and helping him to reach his potential. After a few days of keeping him with me, I noticed a dramatic change in his behavior. No more power struggles at getting dressed, taking a bath, or going to bed. Less fighting with his younger sister. On playdates, he wasn’t dragging; rather, he was excited to see his friends. F.T. had greater confidence and poise when speaking with adults, and better concentration when following verbal directions.
Over the summer, I have watched F.T. spread his wings and fly. We have decided to homeschool F.T. for first grade. After that, some new options (namely, charter schools) will be available in our community, and we will have a look at those.
This is the lesson of the caterpillars and the parsley: Choose to let nature take its course, and see what grows.
Inga Munsinger Cotton uses her lawyer skills and mom instincts to research high quality education options in San Antonio and spread the word to other parents via San Antonio Charter Moms Facebook.com:SACharterMoms, and @SACharterMoms.
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