I have this new thing...I am waking up EARLY every morning around 2am and laying there wide awake. Occasionally, after being called in the middle of the night for a birth it is hard for me to get back on track. I am also pretty sure that I have Restless Leg Syndrome. It is super cool feeling like you must run a marathon at 2:21am while you are supposed to be lying there motionless in bed. Good thing my husband is a heavy sleeper. I would probably drive anyone else nuts.
So, here I am. It is 3:06am. I have already eaten a peanut-butter english muffin and now am ready to chat. I thought this might be a good time to talk about my decision to homeschool. Before reading on please hear my disclaimer. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything here. This is simply about a decision we made for the betterment of our family. Homeschooling may not be for everyone. I have a lot of friends who are teachers and who's children remain in both private and public school. In no way is this meant to offend anyone. Okay, here I go...ps: all the pictures are left over from our vacation. I just thought I would throw them in to break up all the words.
My girls attended a pre-k through 12th grade classical christian school last year (and the year before). In terms of academics, you can't really get much better than that. Nearly all of the graduating seniors score in the top 5% nationally on college entrance exams. The school's population is somewhere around 160 students and the culture of the school is very sweet. The upper grade students are so gentle and caring for the younger students- reading to them, holding doors for them, playing with them at recess. The average class size is probably around 13 kids or less per grade so the kids are extremely close with their teachers (who all have an aide working with them as well) and their classmates. In general, it is a splendid little place if you ask me.
Obviously, tuition at the school is not cheap. Carl was teaching art there one afternoon a week and instead of being paid- we were given a full tuition waver for one child. This helped a lot but still the expense was great. Whenever we thought about expanding our family the question was always asked, "how could we afford tuition for more children?" It was definitely a limiting factor but money was not the main issue. So, if the school is great (generally speaking- no school is perfect) and we could afford the tuition....why am I bringing my kids home?
For me, the issue was time. For the kids, the issue was time. It seemed to happen so suddenly. One minute you are basking in the long unscheduled days of playing with and enjoying your toddler and then the next minute they are off to school (and piano lessons and sports and every other activity) and you hardly see them in a day. I am not into suffocating my children and I have tried not to make this about me resisting the process of letting go, but our relationships were breaking down. You can't build strong family relationships in the carpool line. At least we couldn't. I was sometimes making 3 trips a day down to the school (each trip was 40 minutes round-trip) for picking up and dropping them off. Poor Laurel was beginning to think that all eating/drinking/sleeping was to be done in the car. I missed having the best part of their day. Instead, they would come home tired, grumpy and strung out. Each morning I would crumble a little as we all went our different directions. It felt so disjointed and separate- not at all holistic. We needed to simplify. I wanted them to come home.
At first mention my husband was reluctant to homeschool. "All the homeschooled kids I knew were weird." he said. He is such a great balance to me. Just when I was ready to sell the house, move to the mountains, buy some chickens and hunker down with the kids, he provided a helpful debate. I set out to research some of those homeschooling myths for myself. Are homeschooled kids sheltered? Do they develop in a normal way socially? Are they smarter? What will they miss out on? What will they gain? Are they generally happy and successful in life? After a ton of reading (a very small amount of it represented on my sidebar) and meeting with several homeschooling families I felt at ease with the answers I received. As I passed along what I had learned on to Carl and as he saw me really thinking this thing out (vs my frequent tendency to make rash emotional decisions :) he became increasingly more supportive. I am thankful for his willingness make this decision with me.
So, here we are a homeschooling family- for this year at least. We are committed to one year, and after that we will re-assess. I am so enjoying our summer and don't feel sad at all when I think about it coming to an end. For the first time in long time there is no sense of dread when fall approaches. I think I understand the huge undertaking that this is...but I have perfect peace. I am so thankful that my girls are coming home.
**Come back tomorrow for Part Two which includes blather about curriculum and the making of our "classroom".