Friday, June 01, 2007

The Girl in the Masthead

Sophia Grace is eight years old today. She's beautiful. And, as always, I can't believe it. I don't know why I continue to say, "I can't believe it." But I can't. Time and the growth of your children are difficult concepts to grasp hold of.

She is boisterous and loud. Her feet are nearly the size of her mother's and her heart is twice the size of mine.

Sophie is the embodiment of innocence, of childhood. Her heart is like a flower, beautiful and fragile - and it needs a gentle and good gardener.

Pray for me, that I can be gentle and good for her.

In a few weeks, as school ends, I'll be spending far more time with this growing girl, who I'm in love with. June 21 is her last day of school. Her last day. Laura and I have made the decision to educate Sophie at home. Personally, I'm terrified and excited all at the same time. Her education is going to demand more of me. But nothing I'm not willing to give.

Let me explain why we've made our decision to keep Sophie out since Laura is a teacher at her school. Sophie is entering third grade next year - a big testing year with a lot of meaningless and useless teaching to test. (Don't deny it, it's the truth.) Sophie will never shine with that kind of impersonal rigor. She's simply not made for it. (Are any of us?) Her first year at school, in first grade, she had a wonderful teacher who nurtured her, who came alongside her and encouraged her. Sophie blossomed and learned a great amount - she had a great deal of catching up to do. This year her teacher is far more task-oriented, education- rather than child-centered. (Don't confuse the two.) Sophie has withdrawn and her education has suffered because of it. She struggles to get up in the morning. She becomes physically ill on Sunday nights. She is made fun of at school.

Sophie loves people - the concept of "stranger" does not exist in her brain. She believes the teller at the bank or the girl in the drive-through window wants nothing more than to know about her exciting news, whatever it might be. She has no concept of the darkness of the human heart - or the natural cruelty of children. That's not to say she is perfect and angelic, or that she never hits or yells or manipulates. She does. All the time. But she understands reaction. What is difficult for her to comprehend is cruelty without provocation.

I want her to be more fully who she is again. So we've decided to make the step. I ask for your prayers both for her and me. This undertaking is new for us, but I'm convinced it's the right decision.


Dan said...

This decision: proof that you are being gentle and good for her. I respect you for it.

onionboy said...

Happy birthday to the lovely child with the beautiful name and God bless her wonderful dad.


Hope said...

So interesting that you should post about her today. Yesterday when i was reading your blog I took some extra time just to gaze at her photo. Appreciating the beauty of the photo from a technical point and searching her face because her look just draws me to do that. She looks like an 'old soul'. Beautiful.

God bless you as you journey - I was a homeschooler for 15 years. There is nothing like having children mirroring ourselves to make one look deep within. It was the source of my greatest frustration and of my greatest growth opportunity.

I used to say, when people exclaimed how did I do it and handle it etc. that it hadn't driven me crazy yet and then I had a nervous breakdown and had to find another line. :)

I look forward to hearing about your journey as you explore this new time in your life.

truevyne said...

Dear Scott,
I know many people who have homeschooled a while for the same reasons you mention. If you or your wife need anything, advice or an ear to listen- I've got a few years o' homeschoolin' under the old belt.

MMajor Fan said...

Happy continuing birthday week to Sophie!

Home schooling is 100 percent the right decision and she will flourish!