A Changing of the Guard

 I have a confession to make.

Over the last few months, I have been harboring a secret. A secret that has had my stomach churning, has kept me up late at night, and even haunted my dreams.

You see, for almost a year, Paul and I have been coming to the conclusion that something we have been doing is no longer working. We needed to find a solution, and the solution meant change, and the change of which I am speaking is a change that neither of us anticipated in our wildest dreams. I mean sure: we said we would consider all options, that everything was on the table when it came to making the right choice for our family, but that was all but a rhetorical flourish, a nodding of the head to the idea that God, in His sovereignty, can work through absolutely any means to accomplish his will in our lives. In truth, I considered this the nuclear option. The absolute, bottom line last resort.

Yet here I sit today, in stunned disbelief, my head swirling with every possible and impossible scenario as I peer with trepidation down the vast pipeline of potential futures. Because today, we did it. We pushed the nuclear button.

Today, our oldest son Jacob registered as a student at Independence High School in Glendale.

This home-schooling family of almost 18 years is sending one of their kids to public school!!!

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How did it come to this? 

Well, as I said, this has been coming for quite a while. Over the years, we have worked with so many different styles of curriculum, everything from workbooks (the Alpha Omega Publications Lifepac series worked well when our children were smaller, but less well as they grew older and we became Catholic) to online school (back in the early days of K-12) to classical homeschooling (a-la Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Trained Mind), to, most recently, creating our own curriculum and supplementing with the excellent Angelicum Academy Great Books courses.

All these changes were my attempt at evolving with my children’s learning capabilities and styles, as well as accommodating my own strengths and weaknesses. Our methods have seemed to work fairly well for the three girls, who all graduated from my home-school to attending college at 16-17, and have acclimated well to the academic and social challenges there.

But Jacob, on the other hand… well he’s always been his own man, as it were. Long before we had him tested at the age of 10, we knew he was unique, and recently, in having him re-evaluated, the results were nearly identical to his first tests: The gifts and challenges of this extraordinary young man cover the whole spectrum from borderline to genius. And with that objective analysis to reinforce my own very colored perspective as a dual-role mom and teacher, I recognized that I am no longer enough. I have done everything I can, and now, to help him reach his full potential, we need to bring a new team on board.

The only question that remained at that point was how to build that team, and we were very fortunate (could God have anything to do with it, I wonder?) to have the beginnings of that team already in place when we sat down to go over the tests with the school district psychologist and some other members of the faculty of Independence High School. At every point along the way I felt confident in their very clear understanding of twice exceptional students, and was surprised to find that I could, with relief, rather than regret, acknowledge their superior expertise.

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What comes next?

Well, that’s the sixty-four-million-dollar-question, now isn’t it? If I allow myself, I can set my head a-spinning for the next week upon the imponderables with which the future may be fraught.  And so I am prone, believe you me! Yet, that’s exactly when I must “turn my eyes upon Jesus”, as the old song goes. How else does anyone grapple with what may happen tomorrow?

Certainly, it’s a whole new world for my son, and it’s a whole new role in life for me. But it’s quite possibly the beginning of a fantastic chapter in his life that will lead to opportunities I could never foresee. I pray that it is a chapter in which he will be strengthened in his Catholic faith, which is already strong. I pray it is a chapter that will prepare him for fulfilling God’s plan for his life, whatever that vocation may be! I pray that his eyes will be opened to all the ways that he can serve Christ through serving others; that he will grow in compassion and maturity, as well as in acquisition of the knowledge and skills needed to live in this daunting, challenging, exciting world. What I know for sure, is that I can trust my son to his Heavenly Father’s care, whether he is in my house or on a campus with 2,000 other students.

This is indeed a changing of the guard, as I am being relieved of duty by a new batch of sentries. But make no mistake, no one on this planet is better equipped to be my son’s number-one prayer warrior. That’s one job that no one can wrest from my grasp.

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Jacob, with his first bit of Independence Patriots swag… and many silly faces. I love my boy.


3 thoughts on “A Changing of the Guard

  1. Sue

    Wow! That’s a decision that sounds like it took quite a while to make, but with parents such as you guys, you will watch him flourish differently than his sisters. Praise God for his infinite love for Jacob and his Heidmann family!!! We love you all!!!

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