Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just Thinking About School Days

Schools in our county will be starting next week.  For the past couple of weeks the first sight that meets my eyes when I walk into Wal-Mart or any store similar is all the menagerie of school supplies. There are lists of supplies needed for every grade. Just the smell of all the paper goods and the pencils, etc. takes my mind back to my own school days.

I started to school in 1959 as a first grader. (In those days kindergarten was not required and only a few children went.) I entered first grade not knowing much of anything. My teacher, Miss Jackson, printed each child's name on a piece of yellow cardboard marked with two solid lines separated by a dotted line.  Then she taped that cardboard to the top of our desks so that we could learn to write our names.  Amazing now that I did not even know how to write my name at age six! I also learned to count and memorize the alphabet. We read from learning words by sight. No phonics back then that I remember. Thankfully I was a quick learner. Nothing to my was just the way I was born.

The school had no A/C in the summer but I don't remember being unbearably hot. I guess because none of us were used to A/C even in our homes. The floors were some kind of wood with little tiny ridges in the grain.  The sort of wood that would leave a splinter it you rubbed your hand across it. It was kept oiled and ever so often Mrs. Windham...our janitoress....would clean them with some kind of pink colored granules that she spread over the floor in sections and they swept up.  The ceilings were high and the halls wide. It was quiet and orderly. The principal Mrs. Nabors made SURE of that!  At lunchtime we drank our milk out of little milk bottles that had a cardboard cap on top that we had to remove.  And then for an extra three cents a day one could have a little bottle of chocolate milk for a snack in the afternoon.  I remember sitting mine on my slanted desk for just a minute one day and the whole bottle spilling in my lap! I had on a red and white checked gingham dress with a gathered skirt.  Brrr.  That made me chilly having a wet dress for the rest of the afternoon!

During recess we played outside if the weather was good. On rainy days there were toys and games on shelves on one side of the room. One day while out on the playground I was trying to go across the monkey bars but my grip was not so good and I fell, landing on my back and sort of knocking the breath out of me. A bigger boy...probably in third grade or so...came and very nicely helped me up and took me to the teacher who was the playground monitor that day.

Strange the memories I have of those days.  I loved learning.  I still do.

Maybe that's one reason that this time of year is always exciting to me.  For sixteen years I taught our three children their school here at home.  For sixteen years I reveled in buying new school supplies for them each fall.  The crisp new paper and notebooks.  The yet unsharpened No.2 pencils. The crayons. The construction paper. The workbooks. The textbooks. It was always an exciting time for me.

As we started our homeschool journey, I oftentimes...wondered how long it would last. You see, although I dearly loved the new school supplies and the beginning of the school year, usually around January or February both myself and the kids would be getting weary of the reality of school. Every day. Day in and day out.

But thankfully we were able to stick it out through the good and the bad. The tiring and the invigorating. The exciting and the boring.  Each of our three children graduated from our home school. Each of them received a full academic scholarship to Northeast Mississippi Community College. Each of them are responsible adults holding down good jobs.  Was it because I was a great teacher? No. I don't think so. Was it because they were all just smart and would have done well no matter where they went to school? No. I don't think so entirely.  The Lord did bless them with good minds for sure. But I think that God just blessed our longing to give them a Christian education. I give Him all the glory for any good that came from our home school.

It's been over fourteen years now since our last child graduated from high school.  I've grown accustomed to not having the school supplies in the house new ever fall.  But I hope I never grow accustomed to seeing and recognizing the blessings of God in my life.  Homeschooling was one of the biggest jobs I ever undertook. It was a commitment . At times I felt like it was just too big a job.  Not only one of the biggest but one of the hardest jobs I've ever done.  But no question that it was the most fulfilling job I ever started and finished! I will never regret the time and energy I spent teaching our three children how to read and write and think for themselves!  I consider it a privilege that God let us be able to do that.

"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry:" 1 Timothy 1:12 

I, too, want to thank Christ Jesus my Lord , who enabled me and counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry of teaching our children...not only how to read and write and think but teaching them about Him.

May God bless you!



GoldWest said...

I loved reading your blog. I was right there with you in school, that brought back memories, some not so good. When I started homeschooling and we did phonics, I thought, wow, this is great, I wish they had used phonics when I was learning how to read. I still a slow reader. I remember taking turns going and getting the chocolate milk, like it was a real treat.

Rebecca said...

I was a few years "ahead" of you, but share many of your memories of school days....

How good to look back w/o regret about your decision to homeschool your children!

We were able to send our children to Christian school for most of their education. (I homeschooled our youngest daughter for a couple of years.) I don't regret those decisions either.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I have some similar memories, Marilyn. I didn't have to go to K either, but my parents sent me to one at our church. Miss Aaron was my teacher and she called me "Chuckina" because I was so much like my father.

As you know, we're embarking on homeschool this year and bought our supplies yesterday. I have two desks and chairs; the kids will be in separate rooms with dvd players, watching their lessons. I'll be the go-between, shuffling papers and monitoring the grades. Pray for us! I really am getting excited for us to begin. We're also attending some special classes at the homeschool store in our area.

Love taking this trip down memory lane with you. I have many fond memories of my grade school years.


Anonymous said...

Marilyn, you and Benny were part of the true pioneers of home education. What you did solo still amazes me. The path you cleared made the way for us, sod-busters, later. I can truly appreciate all your comments-it was hard and a death to self but I cherish always the privilege He gave me with my family.

Ruth Young said...

Marilyn This brought tears to my eyes as I remembered our home school days! miss them and as memory would have it, remember mostly the good, fun times. all those multitude of boring, regular are forgotten. Loved "Discovery day" and getting to know you and your wonderful beautiful children. You are still such a blessing!

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

I've learned something from this post. I did not know you home schooled your children. How remarkable!! Way to go!! I love school supplies..always have. Great post!!

Rebecca said...

I had to come back to say that our house isn't really all that big...and probably would be too crowded for some peoples' taste...but I'm thankful for OUR home, too :) Thanks for your kind comments, Marilyn.

Karin said...

Thankful that your beautifully written story is a trigger for my own - don't want to forget. Giving God the glory and thanks! Blessings!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

FYI... Day 3 and I'm still alive! Only a couple of meltdowns thus far.
Just wanted you to know.