Friday, June 12, 2009

Tender Mercies

One of my biggest concerns moving to California was Homeschooling. New laws and regulations to contend with. Searching for resources and learning opportunities in a new place. Finding ways for the kids to make friends without established connections. It was all getting a little overwhelming.

Then I decided to "lean not on my own understanding" but "trust in the Lord". Something I usually come around to after a lot of worry and then realize I should have just done that in the first place. I made it a matter of fasting and prayer.

It began with a Stake Relief Society Enrichment. It was last Saturday and the whole week before I was talking myself out of going: "It's ALL DAY--I've got so much to do" "I should be planting my garden--not going to a class on gardening" "Andy's working so hard, I need to stay home and help with things around the house" and on and on.

But the underlying feeling was "I don't know anyone--I don't know which classes to take because I don't know any of the instructors, I'll be by myself." Bringing back memories of being the NEW GIRL so many times when I was growing up and my hesitation and shyness were kicking in.

Then, I got a phone call: "Could you be the monitor in one of the classes? We just need to you to take a count and help the instructor if they need anything." It was for the gardening class and I figured I really need to learn about our new climate and I have that whole sense of responsibility and compulsion to be helpful...so I said yes. That sealed the deal and I was committed to go.
So I went.
I sat by myself in the gardening class and learned lots of helpful information. Then I thought, I'll just grab one of those delicious looking sack lunches and get home in time to get something done. But I got in line for lunch and would you believe I was standing next to one of the FEW people I know outside my immediate ward?! And I met her at the dentist office when I took Spencer in to get his wisdom teeth yanked. Her daughter was getting hers out too and we sat in the waiting room (she was reading an Ensign magazine, giving me an opportunity to venture forth with conversation) and talked for a good hour--as any self-respecting Mormon Mother of Many can do (she has NINE kids!) Well, that meant I wasn't alone.
So I stayed.

The next class I decided on was taught by a woman who turned out to be Shayla's seminary teacher. And she just happens to adore Shayla and we talked afterwards for quite some time and I found out her daughter is in my ward and we are both grandmas and I had another new friend.

The class after hers was called "Alternatives to Public School". There were dozens of choices for classes (the Enrichment classes were spread between two buildings with a shuttle bus going back and forth!) and I thought "I already home school, I don't really need this." but the Spirit said,"Stay"
So I stayed.

The women who taught the class started down the list of options--all stuff I had heard before: Charter Schools, tutors, Independent Study etc. But then they explained that they did something called "Thomas Jefferson Education". My heart jumped and I was all ears. I had read the book and studied the mentor training material. This was something I had been trying to incorporate into our homeschool all along (reading classics, studying the constitution, using Shakespeare to teach language arts). Here was an organized school: "Millennial Scholar Academy". They spoke passionately about how this had helped their children and they explained how they complied with the California rules and regulations and I was holding back tears listening to them.
So glad I stayed.
In the ensuing days, I found out they have openings and they want the parents to take the training so they can be an active part of the group. I looked up the next training and it would be a 4 hour round trip from here--for 3 days in a row! That's a lot of gas and possibly a hotel on top of that. And it would cost a lot of money for the tuition. My heart sank. It just didn't look like I could pull that off. I am committed to homeschooling on a budget to help us through the change in cost of living here and continue the frugality we started during unemployment. But I was so sure this was the right thing for us.

This morning I spoke with the Director of the Millennial Scholar Academy. She said, "Oh, you know, they moved the training to our area--it's just a 20 minute drive for you. And by the way, the school pays the tuition for the parents who do the training."
So I'm going.

4 comments:

Scott said...

That is awesome!

marilyn said...

Cool, JoAnna! Thanks for the link to your blog!

Shanna said...

I'm so excited about this. I want to do the training now so I can be ready to teach my kids!!

grandmother said...

I still think you should write a book. Love catching up on what you're doing.