Thursday, June 9, 2011

Things I'll Miss

 After months of studying, considering, and praying, Jared and I have decided to send Henry and Ian to a new charter school in our area next year. I don't know if this means the beginning of a new era for us or if it will just be what school looks like for one school year, but it means saying good-bye to some of the things that I cherish about home schooling the entire family together. I know that we want to do the right thing for them, and to help them gain the experiences that they will need in life, so we will keep an open mind through this school year and prayerfully consider what comes next, but deep down in my heart I am hopeful that the answer comes to return to homeschooling. Here are some of the things I will miss:
  • Moving at our own pace in the mornings. Even though we stick to a routine, it only roughly matches the clock. I do not look forward to having everyone ready to go in the morning and out the door before 8:00 am, especially since we need to have family devotional, breakfast, chores, and piano practice done by then! I will need to pray for a zen attitude, as rushing children who do not want to be rushed is a quick way to push my stress levels into the next stratosphere!
  • Studying world history together. This is one of our absolute favorite things to learn about together, and is a part of daily conversations in our home. Their new school is classics based and will include the study of world history, but I love doing it together.
  • Having so much time as a family. We learn together, work together, go to the park and the library and the store together, watch TV together, read books together . . . you get the picture. This family will be going separate directions each day. This makes me really sad and is probably the biggest reason that I hope we go back to home schooling after a year or two in school. I will be very protective of our afternoons and evenings when they are going to school each day. Family time is vital.
  • Having them do so much work around our home! This year they have really made a big difference in the day to day housework, and I know that if they are gone for a big chunk of the day, the morning chores will be rushed and rarely teaching moments. Hopefully, since this school is promising minimal homework, I'll be able to get plenty of work out of them in the afternoons!;)
  • Being able to take a day once in a while to just cozy up by the fire and read, or spend the whole day doing science experiments, or to give in to spring fever and go on a nature walk and look at birds instead of sitting around the table looking at math facts.
  • No homework! Do I need to say more? Beyond just not wanting to deal with homework and other teachers' deadlines, I love that our afternoons are free to participate in other activities, run and play with the neighborhood kids, or curl up with a book. 

I believe that lots of good will come from this experience. My girls will get more of my attention. I will be able to help Kimball focus on some fabulous things he has been wanting to do more of. Henry will have more opportunities to gain some independence and make some friends. Ian will get to be in an environment where he is not the middle child, where he can see his own strengths instead of always comparing himself to his older (and thus, more advanced) brothers. 

I hope that fellow home schoolers  will not feel defensive or judgmental about our decision. It has not been done lightly, nor without a certain amount of anguish. I know that it is possible to teach your children everything they need without ever sending them to school, but we really feel that this is the right thing, right now, for these two boys. We are not "giving up" on homeschooling. What will come the following year? Only time and inspiration will tell. But I promise that I will shed real tears on August 22nd when they start school and the rest of us return home without them for the day. And perhaps for a few days after that. I have really treasured these years with my children all around me, learning together.

(Photos all courtesy of Bronwen, who swiped my camera at the park.)


Misfit Foodie said...

This is so sweet and I know that this is difficult for your family. I think the kids will all receive the things that thy need because they have such wonderful parents and Heavenly Father is guiding you. Love you guys!!

J and M said...

I think that you are wise! It takes constant considering of each child's needs year in and year out, to actually be the best parent. Homeschooling or charter schooling, 2nd and 3rd boys or whomever. I hope it goes well!

kelly amparan said...

others who homeschool that judge you harshly are missing the entire point of homeschooling as well as parenting as a whole in my opinions... I'm so excited for your family to have this new adventure... change is hard, but that's all it is... the homework thing is not all that horrible as it sounds, especially for a mom who's used to teaching her own, and a good teacher will always be willing to work with you and your kiddos on time lines when possible or needed.

The MacGregors said...

Good luck- hope things turn out well for you & your boys this next year!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Good luck in your new adventure. A word of unsolicited caution-- last year we put our son in a new charter school and that first year up-and-running was... difficult... to say the least. Be prepared for a lot of chaos and trial and error as they figure stuff out. I still believe they'll eventually get it all organized and worked out, but that first year for a new school can definitely be dicey. Good luck!!

angelj44 said...

What a great experience homeschooling has been for your family. I have been so impressed over the year that you have been able to do it. I hope that this next year is great for the family as you start a new adventure.

Angela said...

I haven't read your blog for two years- because I switched computer and lost my links...stumbled upon it again in web land today. So happy-

When I read this I just had to respond.

First of all, I did the same thing- homeschooled and then we moved, I put my daughter back in..3 years later in 6th grade, it was like brick hit me and I yanked her out and the next year my son, and now this year my second son will come out who has been in public school 5 years. I will keep a second grader in. I don't know why I am telling you all of this- except they survived, and when they came out again I was a better homeschooler and when they were gone I was a better mom somedays. Now that oldest girl is 17 and has one year left and will leave homeschool with an associates degree before she heads off to college.

I guess the thing is- if you feel guided it will be will know if it is time to take it back over. There are so many pros and cons. I have sent my younger kids to school and my older kids stay home...quite the opposite of most people. I love my kids at home, and I hear ya with the list of things you would miss. Now you will just have to take advantage of the hours that you have without them and with them.

I agree with the other posters- You have to consider the needs each year of every family member and the needs of the younger children at home!

Best of luck!

Ice Cream said...

Amen! I still miss all those things.