Saturday, September 17, 2011

School days

Ok, ok, I know what you are thinking...she has given up on her blog already....NOT SO!!! Can we talk?? These have been a crazy few weeks. The beginning of school always is - for oh, so many reasons... This year has been no exception. The last month has been emotionally difficult, financially difficult, and logistically difficult.

We are a homeschooling family. We stumbled upon it due to lots of reasons - some practical, some spiritual. I had never planned to do it, and really never thought it would be for many years. But as each year passed, it felt right and how it should be.

Hard and exhausting, exasperating and became our identity, our focus, our friendships, and our way of life. Hours of reading and snuggling on the couch, delving into whatever topics we found interesting, eating lunch together everyday, sleeping late sometimes, taking off days when we want, carschooling, etc. - what a blessing it has been -  and such wonderful memories! We have raised our kids with the knowledge that God is the center of it all and hopefully with the knowledge of the most important thing of all - beyond writing skills and perfect handwriting and mathematic ability and high test scores - is our relationship with Christ and that our lives are to be a gift back to him for all He has given us. I have loved it and would never change a thing. We have grown together and spent so much time together as a family. It was the best decision I could have ever made.
Fast forward to this summer. Twelve homeschooling years have passed us by. It has truly become our way of doing things. But this year is very different. We have three children in school this year. I can hardly believe it and struggled all throughout the last year, mostly the summer, thinking about, praying and stressing over the decision to send our two little girls to public elementary school. My hope had always been to give them what I have given the other kids - would they feel they got less of me or less love or a "raw deal" to not have been homeschooled like the others?
The Lord has given me a peace. I still don't like that they aren't at home, in fact many times I feel heart-broken, but the reality is that it was no longer working - for anyone. I was constantly stressed and feeling like I couldn't do it all - and frankly, last year I wasn't. There was too much attention given to the girls, their behavior, their interrupting, their constant needs. My others have suffered. There is healing that needs to go on here and this is the time to do it.

The girls do well with constant stimulation and movement so school is going great for them. They love all the activity, activity stations, specials (they are getting special reading and ESL help). They are flourishing and we are enjoying them more.

My boys are more relaxed. Let's be honest here - they have struggled the most these last two years. They are getting quiet time to do their work, my undivided attention during the school hours, and it is all good!

My oldest son is an eleventh grader and he is blowing me away!!! He is taking 3 classes at the local community college - three days a week. He is riding the city bus (even has to change buses) and is handling everything like a real grown up. He is doing well in his classes and makes me so very proud. He and Kate (14) both still attend our homeschool co-op all day on Tuesdays. The younger boys and I are at a new co-op (Classical Conversations) on another's a pretty crazy schedule...don't even get me started on the extra curriculars!

I am most thankful to my God for giving me peace with these difficult decisions. The most important thing (as described above - our relationship with Christ and living our life for him) is still the most important thing - whether the kids are at home, co-op, community college or public school. Happy fall!

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

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