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Friday, August 10, 2007

A brand new teacher's desk, and shiny new school supplies

Our new school year is upon us. I am getting really excited! (And scared, of course. It's quite a job, schooling my children.) I will soon go on the thrilling school supply shopping trip, and I can't wait!
Brand new sharp crayons...all in a box...not one missing. That should last at least 15 minutes, but they are 15 glorious minutes.
New school boxes...they get to pick theirs out. That's fun.
Sharp new pencils...and exciting for me, a new electric pencil sharpener (such a necessity) and a new stapler.
We have new exciting material to cover in 1st grade this year! We're starting Spelling (which Emma hates but I adore!) and Jax will learn to read!
Also, we just bought me a teacher's desk, pictured above! Wow! It's awesome. It's crazy functional for me, and it looks just like my teacher's desk in my old classroom, but way prettier. (Rusty antique white painted it for me to match our house.) As soon as I got it set-up, and was squealing with delight, Emma did the sweetest thing ever...she went and got an apple and set it on my desk! Is she precious or what? It only took 2 minutes for Jax to nab it and eat it, but it was a lovely gesture.
So exciting!
But as you may recall, our journey towards homeschooling was a scary, bumpy ride for me about a year ago. I wanted to remind some of you why we homeschool, because I am asked about it often, but also to remind everyone that we DO NOT think this is "God's Way" for education...that we have not signed a 12 year contract committing ourselves to homeschool forever. We just know what God is telling us to do right now. But our kids could easily go another route if the Lord so directed. I have copied the text of one of those e-mails where someone asked me why I homeschool. Here is my explanation, in a nutshell.

As far as the homeschooling decision, that has been a journey!
Prior to this school year, Rusty and I were totally anti-homeschooling.
I thought it was mostly for freaks who wear prairie dresses, grow their own vegetables, and make their own soap.
(Man I wish I could grow my own vegetables!!! I am fine with buying my own soap though.)
That wasn't me.
I thought those women were crazy, to be honest, to take on their child's eduation all alone!
But God has a sense of humor.
Most of the time, if I mock something, he's going to make me eat my words.
Emma went to Pre-K at a great Montessori school with wonderful teachers. I chose it because it was very creative and independent, as she is. She is a uniqe learner. But come March, she still hadn't learned anything. She didn't know any of her letters. She didn't know anything she really needed to know. I started panicking. I was a teacher, so I was thinking, "my child has a learning disability!" So we started working one-on-one at home doing "school" with some alphabet lessons. Magically, anything I taught her one-on-one she learned. I came to realize she desperately needed that one-on-one. But I still enrolled she and Jax for school the next year. As the summer was coming to an end, every time I thought about school starting, I had a sick feeling in my stomach. When I enrolled them the previous Spring, I knew Emma needed something more, but I was basically praying "God, please don't tell me to homeschool." But it was August, and I couldn't sleep at night. I had absolutely NO PEACE about her going to Kindergarten. I thought at first I was just being a freak-out Mom about her going to school, but I realized it was something more. I seriously couldn't stop the feeling. (When you have that feeling PAY ATTENTION. I have made a few brilliant choices based off of paying attention to that feeling in the past, even though they seemed illogical at the time. That's the Holy Spirit!) So I started praying and praying. And I asked Rusty to pray. (Rusty, still totally anti-homeschooling.) I knew the kids would be going to school all morning, and then we were still going to have to work at home, because that was the only way she was really learning. What a waste of time and money! So, basically the Lord DRUG me toward homeschooling, and made it clear to Rusty as we prayed about it that it was the best thing for Emma. PRAISE GOD that we listened!!!!! Emma is a totally, totally different child because of it. She's kind of a nerd now! She is so smart, we just didn't know it. We hadn't tapped into her ability to learn. She had to LEARN how to learn. I have no doubt, I would have gotten that call saying "We think Emma needs ritalin!" She couldn't focus. But I had to teach her to do so. I also learned my child well, so that I could teach her in ways that are creative and interesting to her. She has devoured everything I've ever taught this year. She loves it!!!! She can't wait to see what we're learning next! We do lots of field trips and hands-on learning. It is a challenge to challenge her enough now! I learned a LOT in Kindergarten!!!
Besides the educational benefits that I've seen in her, it's been awesome for about 100 other reasons. I've enjoyed it so much! We're doing it again next year, but if at any time the Lord says to do something different, public school, private school, we will do that. We are not locked into this. We just simply had to follow the Lord's lead when it came to our child's education. I have seen more immediate fruit from this one act of obedience than I can possibly measure!

That's basically how we arrived here. It's been another one of those situations where I wasn't even asking God the right questions, because my own desires or hang-ups were getting in the way. I'm so glad that He knows what's best for us, and cares about every detail of our lives. I'm glad He also showed me that even though I felt totally overwhelmed at the prospect of this (and still do sometimes), He has equipped me to do all that He asks of me.
Emma is so excited about our new school year starting! She loves learning so much now! (Miracle!) She asked me recently for an alarm clock so she could wake-up in time for school to start. How cute is she?
However you are schooling your kids this year, I know God will bless your obedience to be just where He has you. Happy Schooling and enjoy your own shiny new school supplies!


Amanda said...

Yay for new school supplies AND a new teacher desk!!! I am so excited for you!!! So much fun! It makes me giddy too!!

Stephanee said...

Hi Jennifer,

I found your blog from the book study blog and read this post today. I identified so much because your story of how you got into homeschooling is similar to ours. It is amazing how the Lord will slowly lead you into something you never thought you would do! I'm so glad it has been such a blessing for you and your children.
I just wanted to tell you that in the chance that you (or anyone you know) ever feel led to go back to "school" for your kids, there is an AWESOME school in College Station. It is kind of small so not many people know about it. It is wonderful because it is a half-day school Mon.-Thurs.(8:00-12:30) It was the best of both worlds for us - wonderful teachers who love the Lord and are so gifted in teaching, a great deal of parental involvement in the education of our children, and TIME to spend and disciple our children. It is a christian school and is an excellent education - the kids learn so much, are held to a high standard, and best of all, LOVE to learn. And our daughter had the sweetest friends from there. Anyways, we were so blessed by it and it was a stepping stone into homeschooling for us after we left College Station. It was such a blessing and left us with a high expectation of what we want for our childrens' education! There were many homeschooling families who came into the school for a season. Anyways, I just felt led to leave the information about it here for whoever might be reading and is not feeling at peace about their choices for school.
It is called KOR Education School and the curriculum is guided by the Core Knowledge Series. Gena and Mattias Richter founded it about five years ago and it currently serves K-6. They will continue to add grades each year, probably evolving into a university model school in high school. The classes are currently held at Parkway Baptist and the website is koreducation.org

Just FYI!
Stephanee Potts

The Roberts said...

to be quite honest, i get pretty scared that God will call us to homeschool! ahh! but we'll just pray He works on my heart toward whatever He wants. :-)

i think that we & ryan & melissa should visit CS one weekend in the fall & have dinner with yall. sounds like a great idea to me!

Kinnard Family said...

Can Sam, Rylee, and I come observe a school morning of yours when the fall starts? I would NOT want to be a distraction, so please say no if you have to. We're thinking about homeschooling, but aren't quite sure which road God will have us go on yet. So, I'd like to check out the Bacak Nation School.

Jennifer Bacak said...

Yes, I remember you from Central! It's so funny you said that because I use the Core Knowledge Series books as my guideline for my lesson plans. I love them! And if my kids ever go to school, that is the first place I'm checking into!!! I've heard amazing things, and even met one of the teachers. So cool! Thanks for sharing!

Of course, you guys jump into the car one weekend and visit us! That would be awesome. And have no fear, if God calls you to do this, he will change your heart as he changed mine.

Y'all are more than welcome to join us for school! We officially start our new school year August 27, and Sam could join the Bacak Nation school for a day, whenever. We will count on that!

Thanks for your comments!

Rusty Bacak said...

In the words of the immortal David Lee Roth of Van Halen (well actually I think he is still alive... whatever) "I've got it bad, I've got it bad, I've got it so bad, I am hot for teacher!"

The Mosiers said...

I'm so excited about your new school year as well! I can't wait to go buy those new school supplies! I'm looking forward to helping you plan some exciting lessons.

Cindy Seay said...

It is so cool to see God at work. Since we have never really been a homeschool family, and I knew your feelings about it - we know it could only be God - and since it's God it can only be good.
I'm proud of you for listening and obeying even when it's scary - well, I'm really just proud of you period.
i love you,

Liz said...

oh how i love school supplies!
i remember well picking out new stuff as a kid...fun, fun, fun.
i think i loved the cute supplies more than i did school itself!
i hope your year goes wonderful with the kids at home!
we are still undecided with Ethan as to what we will do or where he will go...but he is definitely starting K.
i found a school nearby that uses the Core knowledge curriculum...so we'll see if that works out!

LD said...

Ok so I started to post a comment about homeschooling and it got so long that I just posted a blog about it. So now you have to read my blog to find out what I was going to say :)

brickmomma said...

I was planning on 'homeschool preschooling' this year, however the Lord has shown us a different route just at this last minute. Each time I would tell someone my mother in law's reaction I said she looked at me like a freak who "grew my own vegetables or quit shaving under my arms"

Emma is amazing.......She was great today, and knew the Last Supper picture. Jax was way into the books. You have some great ones, and your arms full!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I am offended at the statement you made about people who grow their own vegetables. We had a good harvest this year of squash, green beans, peppers, and tomatoes. I guess I'll just put my prairie dress in the closet until it is the "cool" thing to wear again. Good luck with school this year! We'll be thinking of you.
Amy (your sister in law who is looking forward to the return of praire fashion)

Jennifer Bacak said...

Oh, Amy, I have nothing but admiration for people who can grow their own vegetables.
We've tried several years in a row, and we are improving a little, but we are still buying all our vegetables at HEB, so not too much.
You crack me up- I miss y'all too much!!!