Wednesday, March 11, 2015

...but homeschool kids are bully-free, right?

Lately, I've been hearing and seeing a lot of people comment about how they wished they could homeschool their kids to avoid the bullies and bullying that plagues the public schools.

As a public school teacher turned homeschool mom, I will admit, on a day to day basis, bullying is usually not at the top of the list of things homeschoolers worry about. However, this notion that it doesn't exist in homeschool or that homeschool kids don't experience bullying is complete nonsense!

This idea that many public school parents have that we can totally protect our kids from bullying or bullies by homeschooling them is wildly fictitious.  

I'm not sure if people think we live in bubbles or under rocks or if all homeschoolers are somehow immune to being bullies or to being bullied, but I assure you, this is not the case. If your kids are involved in sports, dance, extracurricular activities, church activities, or even *gasp* homeschool groups, they WILL experience bullying from time to time.

This has been the toughest year so far for my kids in dealing with bullies and being bullied. Entering the dreaded middle school years also has something to do with it. Hormones are running crazy and kids are trying to cope with them as well as greater independence and less parental dependence. Sadly, I also see many parents start to take a backseat at this age. Kids still need our guidance! To me, this is when they need us the most. We don't need to micromanage their lives, but when we see our kids developing habits contrary to what they have been taught, we need to step in and redirect and remind our kids of those values.

 Just my thoughts on this dreary morning about bullying that others apparently think does not exist in homeschool :/

Saturday, November 1, 2014

There's a First Time for Everything...

Last night was the very first night my kids had actually ever gone trick or treating...door to a neighborhood.

We live on a tiny little dead end street and the other 2 kids who live on our street go trick or treating elsewhere, so we've always just gone to Fall Fests and Carnivals at either our church or other churches.

This year, our church tried something different. And it was awesome! We and several other church members went to a friends house. She lives in a very popular trick or treating neighborhood. We passed out hot dogs, water, balloons, glow sticks, and candy....can't forget the candy ;)

Before the night was over, we were completely out of glow sticks and balloons. Those 2 items were a hit!

The jar with the glow sticks had a Bible verse on it about Jesus being the light of the world. How cool is that?!? Many parents actually read it and commented about it. And, along with the candy in the bags, we also added a small card inviting the kids to come to Awana. Awana is a super fun activity our church offers on Wednesday nights. You can come for a free meal, play games, hear Bible stories, learn Bible verses, and earn awards. The kids love it!

Sometime during the evening, my kids got to go trick or treating...and they had a blast! This was also a great time to talk to our kids about safety ;) We knew several other people in the neighborhood so it was nice visiting with everyone. At one house we went to, my kids just started playing a game of basketball with the other kids at that house while the parents chatted. 

Back at our friend's house, her yard was so full of kids running around, playing football, or just having fun, we couldn't tell the neighborhood kids apart from the church kids. Some kids didn't have anyone walking around with them and others were just dropped off at the neighborhood entrance, so it was great to have a safe place for those kids to go and hang out, eat some food, get a drink, or just rest.

Some people might frown on participating in anything "halloween" related or anything taking place 'outside' of a church carnival or festival. With this being our very first time in a neighborhood trick or treating, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant myself. 

A friend told me several days before tho...."Satan doesn't own Halloween. He doesn't own any day." We have to search our own hearts and convictions and question why we are doing what we are doing. 

Some people might say Satan is getting glorified when others participate in ANY Halloween activities. But is this really true? I personally do not think so. At least not for the people who don't put the focus on evil and dark things. Sure, there will always be those people who choose to put the focus on evil or Satan or witchcraft. They are going to do that regardless of what day it is. We need to be aware those things are going on and we need to pray for the people involved in those things, but should we let those people stop those of us who want to glorify God on this day? (I also took the time yesterday morning to talk about Reformation Day and Martin Luther. This was a pivotal point in church history that is so often overlooked and overshadowed by everything else going on.) I don't want to hide away, lock up my doors and turn out my lights, I do NOT believe the day belongs to Satan and it CAN be redeemed by God. 

What an awesome time to be a witness of God's love and light to others! I so wish I lived in a big neighborhood (at least on Halloween I mean, what other time are people willingly going to come to your door looking for a handout?....well, mainly candy, but what a perfect time to give them something more :) Not in an 'in your face', 'shove it down your throat' kind of way either ;)

Last night was about food and drink for tired and hungry kids and parents, a safe place to sit and rest, an invitation to church, bright yellow balloons, and glow sticks with a simple reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. Last night was about getting to chat with old friends, meet new people, and share life with others. 

We loved it and we look forward to doing it again next year!

**Each Christian must search his/her own heart and convictions. It's a matter of conscience before God. Regardless of our levels of participation, we must remember to honor God in all that we do. **