Friday, September 04, 2009

children set apart

45 children. 15 moms. 5 classrooms. 12 subjects. 4 hours. 4 giant bags of pretzel sticks. 6 jugs of apple juice.

put it all together on one rainy Friday morning, and you get today. our first day of the homeschool co-op. i taught 2 classes, Big Girl was enrolled in 3, and Bubba was in the nursery.

our co-op is made up of Christian homeschool families, formed on Matthew 22:36-40 and John 13:34-35. the children are offered classes with fun activities and social interaction, lead and taught by the moms, all the while instilling a love of Christ and servanthood.

for being the first day of the first semester of this newly established co-op, i have to say it went well. the children were eager to learn in an environment with other children. before classes started, the kids were jumping around, meeting new friends, saying hi to old friends, showing off new backpacks, being shy at first, then playing tag.

and while this group of homeschooled kids didn't appear to be any different from any another group of kids their ages at first, the more i looked, the more clear it became that something set these kids apart. i can't quite put my finger on it, but these kids were special. they had happy demeanors, they were obedient, they had self-control, they used their manners, they are smart little kids. they were listening, waiting for instructions and happy to demonstrate what they knew. they wanted to learn. they wanted to teach. they wanted to be there.

something else i noticed: in between classes, the 3 year olds were playing with the 7 year olds, the 14 year olds were mingling with the 11 year olds. 4 year olds were holding the doors open for moms pushing strollers. 9 year olds were helping carry diaper bags and put shoes back on toddlers. i didn't see any fussing, teasing or rivalry. no ugly behavior, bragging, or name calling. i saw sharing. i heard "may i, please?" and "yes ma'am." it was more like a big family. even though most of these kids were meeting one another for the 1st time today, it was almost as if we were having a reunion of cousins.

45 children ages 6 weeks up to 16 years could have been chaotic.

but you know what? it wasn't.

(loud, yes. chaotic, no.)

was what i saw today typical of homeschooled children? is the 'something special' that i saw plainly that these kids are homeschooled? as much as i don't want to check any boxes or stereotype homeschoolers, i am going to say YES.

i've been out and about with other non-homeschooled children and i've seen chaos and questionable behavior (from both the parents and the children). i'm not saying that all schooled children are crazy bad or anything, please don't accuse me of that. i'm simply saying that this group of homeschool children - because they are homeschooled in loving, Christian homes - had really awesome behavior. curious, i did some research and found dozens of behavioral studies that found homeschooled children have superior socialization skills and are more mature.

all that aside, what i witnessed today was peaceful. it was children being children, but also being loving, respectful, helpful, and quietly intelligent. they were good and gentle and kind. their mamas, and their heavenly Father, should be proud of them today. this group of children had the fruit of the Spirit!

being able to homeschool my children gives me such joy, because i know that, like the kids at the co-op today, even when they are out in the world, they are not of the world.