Isaac is such a beard-o!!As you know, Isaac decided to attend a local charter school this year as he began his high school years. We got plenty of feedback from others about this decision. One strong opinion (from a devout anti-public school friend) was that this was going to b e a disaster for Isaac. Her kids (homeschooled, of course) tried to convince Isaac that this was a bad decision. It will change you, they said. People will think you're weird since you were homeschooled, they argued. You won't like it, they challenged.
They were right and wrong at the same time. This experience has changed Isaac - for the better! He has grown up so much in the past 6 months, and not in a bad way. He has had to learn to interact with others on a whole new level. He has learned to work in groups - sometimes taking the leadership role and other times a more passive one. He has learned to take instruction from someone other than me - a lesson that was harder than he thought.
There were people who had opinions about his being homeschooled. However, his teachers thought it was great! They could see that he knew how to learn. They could see that he was a hard worker, and helped him make a smooth transition into this new school setting.
His biggest lesson so far has been interacting with children who have far different beliefs than we do. But, it has been an overall wonderful experience for him. There are children in his classes who have differing religious beliefs, and he loves to discuss their beliefs with them. He wants to know what defines their religion. He is able to have real conversations with these kiddos without judgement or debate. It's been a real eye-opener. He also has some children who strongly profess that they are atheist. These children have been his biggest challenge as he seeks to know more about what makes up their belief system. The difference here is that often times these discussions do become debates, and not all of them are productive. These kids in particular seem to enjoy challenging Isaac and want him to "prove" his beliefs. The good thing about these debates is that they have really helped Isaac define his beliefs. He has had to stop and think about WHY he believes what he believes. He has chosen to write about his Christian faith several times in his English class. Sometimes, he gets ridiculed for his Christian faith, but I see him becoming more grounded in his beliefs. I'm so proud as I watch him stand up for his faith, profess his love of Jesus Christ, and become the Godly man we have trained him to be.
I do want to note that if the decision was totally up to me, he would still be homeschooled. It is not my desire to have my kids in situations where they are forced to defend their faith in an ongoing manner. Not that this is a bad lesson to learn, but in school they should be able to focus on their academics first and foremost. However, the decision to allow him to attend this school was one that involved lots of prayer and discussion between Isaac, Daddy, and me. And, I do feel peace that we have made the right decision for this child at this time. That doesn't mean it will be the right decision through graduation (especially as we look ahead to our upcoming cross-country move which will move him to another school environment). Nor does it mean it will be the right decision for Emma Grace when she reaches high school age. But, for now, it is the right decision, and we are all learning from it.