Well. It's been quite some time since I last posted. I've meant to a thousand times -- I have had some great happenings to share about my kids and their never ending antics. Some deep thoughts I wanted to discuss about depression, the after effects and advice - giving. But in the end I kept silent. Not because I didn't want to share or talk about it. But because I've had another, huge, crazy, life and life style changing decision on my mind.
Around January 5 I turned to my husband and said,
Listen to me, don't give me a knee-jerk answer. Hear me out, then let's talk, think and pray about this: What would you say if I said I think I want to home school?
He looked at me very calmly and said,
I think we should talk about it more. Research it and then research it some more. Talk to everybody we know who home schools. Then see how we feel.
After some more deep breaths, I called Diana and probed her brain about it, why they have decided to home school Bella, how her mom home schooled some of her siblings for a time. Then I made a list of every family we know who home schools. I talked with nine families who actively home school or have graduated children from home school and are now in college. As I was talking with them I discovered numerous other families in our church who had graduated children from home school years ago. I talked to our friends, I asked a bagillion questions. I asked about how their days are scheduled - are they scheduled? How do you get chores done? How does dinner get made? Errands? Appointments? Alone time? How do the siblings get along after being together so much? What about subjects that you, as the mom, have 'aged out' of? As in, I cannot teach high school chemistry. I found a home school 'school' that offers higher level science, math, Spanish, history and geography as well as art and gym. I was pointed in the direction of numerous co-ops, Internet support groups, field trip clubs, choirs, book sales, conventions. I was given more catalogs for curriculum's, supplies and activities than I can remember. I found on-line friends that home school and pointed me in the direction of more groups/blogs/books than I could read. Some of what I read was incredibly positive and happy and unicorns. Some it was depressing. And most of it was real.
So I talked with our friends again. And prayed more.
And then we said the words:
Let's home school.
We talked to the kids about it at the end of April - that's how long it took us to decide. This decision to home school was harder and took more thought and planning than deciding to have children. No joke.
So we talked with the kids and they all, without exception, screamed and cheered and laughed when we told them. That was such a relief!
Since then we have been talking about what their biggest fear is about home school and what they are looking forward to the most. Sarah doesn't have any fears and is excited about field trips- every day. We've had to talk about that misconception quite a bit. John was only concerned that he wouldn't get gym, music or snack. I reassured him that we'd play outside, I'd let him eat and we'd figure something out for music. Violet is looking forward to getting school done in a few hours versus an entire day, and is most disappointed in missing the fifth grade dance next year. Those are all easy things to deal with.
We've had many, many questions about our decision, why we're choosing to do this now, to not continue with public school. The most common, and honestly, most insulting question has been, "What about socialization?"
We socialize our dogs. Our children? We do fun things with. We take on field trips. We do every day, normal things in public. Plus, my children are in multiple different activities - Sarah and Violet dance, swim and play softball. John swims and plays soccer. He'll start cub scouts in the fall. The girls will sing in a choir. Violet will attend the home school 'school' for art. We're not removing our children and ourselves from society and moving to some remote island in the middle of nowhere to live solitary lives.
It comes down to the fact that this decision is the best for our family at this point in time. We want to spend more time with the kids - I realized that I get five hours a day with them. Five. And those hours are spent yelling at them to hurry up and get out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, get out the door, get home, get changed for dance/swim/softball/soccer/whatever, eat a snack/dinner, do homework, get in the car, come home, take a shower, stop talking, get in bed, stop talking, sleep, be quiet!
Which all adds up to us not enjoying our children on a daily basis. For us, we decided we wanted to change this. This is not a judgement on families who do not choose to make this change. It is simply the right decision for us, for right now. We'll do this year and then evaluate where we are at the end of the year.
So. Here we go. The 'school' room is being painted this week. We have a large table. Maps. A white board. A great book case. And an incredible curriculum that all of us are excited to dig into.
And yes, we're also a little scared. But I found that as soon as we verbalized our decision my major fears and doubts disappeared.