As a Boy Thinketh: Homeschooling, Again
I withdrew our two young sons, Sam and Charlie from public school on Thursday to homeschool, again.
And I have no horror story to report. To all the teachers and administrators, I know your work is impossible. This is not about any one shortcoming or failure, this is about an opportunity. Some of you know me, but if you don’t we have six children. The oldest is 24, the youngest is six. And we graduated our three oldest from home. The fourth, Sophie is about to graduate from public high school… and then she is moving to New York.
My husband and I have always told our children to go and do and be, we would support them, emotionally, financially to a degree. When Sophie asked if she could apply to an out of state school, I responded, “You can have, do, or be anything. Apply wherever you like. We will trust God with the rest.” And she responded, “Great! I am applying to a school in New York!”
New York Y’all.
We are in Texas. New York is a whole world away.
I tried to undo the damage, “Wait, I didn’t mean you could do anything. You are dumber than a bag of hammers. You can hardly navigate a microwavable chicken pot pie. You are not allowed to move to Manhattan. Go to your room.”
But, that is not true. She is capable and competent, and as a girl thinketh… so she is.
And our oldest daughter is funny and talented. Maggie runs a handmade business, she makes beautiful embroidered hoops and subscription patterns. She is also a royalty artist, like me.
Maggie never caused a moment of grief. Well, once she ran out of money in Spain. But I think that was the extent of her “troubles.” And Maggie’s life’s mantra is, “I always get what I want.” This is in part to the fact that she is the oldest grandchild in the family, and literally always gets what she wants, simply by batting her brown doe eyes at her nana and papa.
However spoiled that may make her sound, it is her absolute belief about herself. So when she started her embroidery pattern subscription with a goal of X number of subscribers, she met and exceeded that goal in weeks rather than months.
As a young woman thinketh… so she is.
And, when our son, John joined the Marines, I lost my ever-loving mind. But I regrouped, he joined, and he is what they call a “good Devil Dog.”
Also, and this was inevitable, all his fellow Marines call him “Dad.”
And that is John in a nutshell, ever compassionate and wise, level headed and always protective of the little guy, a “dad” kind of Marine.
Luke, our third oldest, well, he gave me my parenting wings.
To make up for it Luke wrote the afterword to my second book, Sacred Ground Sticky Floors.
Luke is the epitome of the scripture, Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh, so he is.”
He teaches yoga and philosophy at an Ashram in Boulder, Colorado. And this is the truth, the man-child has never met with a negative circumstance he hasn’t turned into a positive. ;
Recently, his car broke down. He pushed it, most likely uphill, to a mechanic. He sat in the waiting room chatting with others, just being, Luke; dashingly handsome, magnetic, and personable. After a while the mechanic called him over and said, “It is going to be $800.” Luke, said, “Man, I just don’t have $800. Can I leave it here until I figure something out?”
And another customer waved her wallet in the air and said, “I got him!”
This total stranger paid for his car repairs.
This is my baby. He makes friends, even just in passing. From luxury cruises to car repairs, he is always in the right place at the right time and leaves the onlookers wanting more and his family scratching our heads in wonder. Luke would tell you, “It always works out just fine.”
I have always believed in the power of words, obviously, as I have made a career of it. And John would tell you that we told him, he was afflicted with learning disabilities, but he wasn’t learning disabilities. Justin and I explained to him, on the regular, he could have, do or be anything.
And when he joined the Marines, that is what he said, “this is who I am, this is who you raised me to be..” To be honest, even though it was hard, especially boot camp… the longest thirteen weeks of a mom’s life, I knew it was true. It was who he was. Always up for the greatest challenge, John expects excellence and will not settle for halfway. For his senior homeschool project, he wrote “his” scripture, the one that motivates and moves him.
Again, in all honesty, I was physically tormented when I read it.
Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
As a Marine thinketh, so he is.
And a much as a mom may thinketh her “boo” should work at a feather pillow company, in quality control, safely laying his sweet head on pillows all day to make sure they are perfectly soft and proportional, John thinks he wants to save women and children from sex trafficking. Also, he blows things up, for a living.
Here I am Lord… do you even listen to my prayers?
Yeah, I know, He does.
And I also know, who you are is determined by what you believe about yourself. So when Luke was a teenager and lost his everloving mind, taking us with him for the ride, I always told him, “This is not who you are.” If I said it once I said it a million times. “You are pastor Luke. You are not a delinquent. You are a leader, a counselor, a precious friend.”
While the road was long and scary, it is one thing I believe we did right, because, that is who Luke is. For his vacation this year he is using his time to go and love and care for his best friend. Luke and Parker lost their other best friend on New Year’s Eve to gun violence. And Luke’s need to minister and care for those left in the wake of that tragedy is all-consuming. It is who he is. (read 20 truths for my children in 2020)
And as a Hippie thinketh… so he is.
And I guess this sounds like a bragging post, but it is my blog and my kids, so I can do what I want. But all this brings me to the re-opening of the Amerine’s Bread of Life Academy, originally established in 2002. I said I wouldn’t homeschool again, still, here we go, again.
Sam is in the second grade. Charlie is in kindergarten. And Sam takes after Maggie, he is quiet, but confident. He prides himself on being, “good.” Charlie, well, he is not like any child I have raised before. Of course, we have no blood relation to these two little boys, but their significance in our family is unaffected by DNA.
Sam and Charlie, added a dimension to this family that should be bottled and sold as pure magic.
But since school started in the fall, I was hearing the little boys speak in adjectives that I couldn’t accept. “Good kids” or “bad kids” and “dumb kids” and “smart kids,” are statements a mom can’t control in kid speak. But when Charlie started saying he was “bad,” and Sam said, “Yeah, I heard ‘bout dat, you is bad like Tyson,” I started thinking, it is time to come home. Sorry, I can’t be responsible for Tyson.
Certainly, I would tell Charlie, “This is not who you are. You are self-control. Charlie, you are a leader and a good boy.” But day after day he would come home with “trouble” in his folder. Furthermore, the trouble wasn’t anything we were witnessing at home. He doesn’t hit, punch, or push. He and Sam rarely, if ever have physical altercations. And, if they do, Sam is the instigator.
So about a week ago, Charlie had more trouble. That evening he was playing alone in his room with a nerf gun and as I walked by I heard him say, “I can’t get this nerf bullet in.” Followed by, “Yes youm can Charlie. You can do anyfing. EBERyfing is easy for you… EBERyfing is easy for you.”
As a boy thinketh…
This is what we tell the boys anytime they struggle, “Everything is easy for you. You can do anything.”
I know that not everyone has the luxury of homeschooling. But for Justin and I, this seemed most obvious. We have an opportunity to pour into these two little boys the truth of who they are, how much they are loved, and all that they are capable of. We have seen the fruits of speaking life and positivity into our older children.
There will be a time when these boys, just like their siblings before them, will have to face the realities of a world that will tell them no, that they aren’t enough, or that it is too hard. But we figure, until then, we will spend every moment we can telling them the opposite.
For a while now we have done this, and we added to the routine when I created the “I am cards,” in my Etsy shop. These cards have “I am” declarations, scripture, affirmations, and my artwork on them.
Last night before bed Sam and Charlie asked me to do the “I am” cards with them. To Sam I said, “I am wisdom…” and we repeated a bible verse together. For Charlie, I said, “I am peace… and we did the same. I tucked them in and ended with, “I am … homeschooled.”
They both repeated me… “I am HOMESCHOOLED!”
I didn’t have the heart to tell them it won’t always be rosy, they’ll figure it out soon enough.
But I start this week with great enthusiasm. I am encouraged and honored to be able to do this. No, it won’t be easy, but I have already decided, it will be successful.
And you know, as a mom thinketh…
Jesus be all over you. Love, Jami
Check out my I AM Cards on Etsy! And don’t forget I give away copies to foster families and organizations for every set I sell!
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