I was not home schooled and I have zero issues with the thought of sending my kids to school, and I'm going to be real honest here (shocker!): most days my mouth waters at the idea of me not being the only one in charge of their education and care all day, every day, here in the home. I have gotten online and perused various school tuition costs and had lots of conversations with Mike about whether we should send them to school or continue to home school for these early grades.
When I actually think about the details: separating the girls from each other for such long days, the insanely early start times of schools and needing to get all of us out the door so early, how long the days are for such little kids, the exposure that they would have to so much stuff that would be out of my control-- not educationally but socially-- then I start to have issues with the idea of sending them to school.
It has not seemed like the right move for our family yet and so we are going to keep the girls home again next year, but please be sure that you read that right-- it isn't the right move YET. I cannot actually imagine a world where I home school these kids all the way through middle school, junior high and high school.
Perhaps I will look back on this post in 10 years and recline in my matriarchal swivel chair that overlooks the giant school-room table laden with papers filled with perfect handwriting and strewn with great books that my genius kids have just finished reading and give a hearty laugh at myself, but I doubt it.
However, I am fairly convinced that I am just not specific breed of mother who can deal with that level of crazy.
This is year has been one of the hardest years of mothering for me and I was only attempting to finish kindergarten and start first grade. I taught ONE-- count them, ONE-- child to read and we did math (and some history and religion occasionally) and most days, by the time "lessons" were done I felt like I needed a stiff drink and a nap.
The hardest part is-- even more than feeling like I am not of the "home schooling mom breed"-- that I don't feel like I am wholeheartedly devoted enough to the various principles and convictions that keep home schooling moms home schooling even through the nitty gritty of the days.
And maybe I will be some day. Maybe by the end of next year I will be on board the well-trained-mind express in the front row and buckled in for the long haul, but maybe I won't and either way, it is OK. I have tried to strike up as many conversations as I can with mothers who have BOTH home schooled and sent their kids to school and so far I have gleaned one thing from all of my conversations with them: there is no perfect way and there is no way that doesn't come with its share of challenges and difficulties. That said, there is also no one way that makes you a good mother or a bad one.
I am a good mother regardless of what decision we make with regards to our kids' education after next year (she repeats to herself again and again in the mirror). I have seen first hand the wonderful fruits of home schooling in my own husband and all of his home schooled siblings, and I have also seen wonderful fruits of children being sent to school in my own family and my own siblings and now in their children.
I am grateful to have the kids home with me and to get to be present for so much (SOOO much + winking emoji) of their lives. I am happy that they get to learn about life with each other, holding each others' little hands. I know God is doing good work in all of us through this time, and I am praying daily for the grace to make it through that day. But I am also very open to God leading us in another direction in the future, and I am excited to see what that is when we get there.
Whether or not our kids are educated exclusively here in the home, they will always be loved here, and I am pretty sure that is all that matters.
There are so many options and I am so happy to know that they are there for me and for my children in the future. One that is especially worth mentioning- and one that I am absolutely filing away now that we have a boy- is Gregory the Great Academy near Scranton Pennsylvania. This is not a sponsored post and no one is paying me for this, but when Gregory the Great contacted me to promote their current fundraising campaign, I was happy to do so for such a great school.
I would never have heard of this school if it weren't for my brother-in-law, David (Mike's youngest brother) who started attending the school last fall. I have never seen a school have such a positive impact on a person as I have seen in David. Gregory the Great offers a liberal arts education in the Catholic tradition through which young men can cultivate virtue, deepen their faith, and sharpen their intellects (grades 9-12). In the year that David has been attending the Academy I have seen him grow in amazing ways, he has learned to play a new instrument (in addition to his mad piano skills) and even learned to juggle clubs and flaming torches!!
I am including them in this post because I have truly been blown away by the fruits of the education that I have seen and I hope and pray that the school continues to grow so that our own family could one day benefit from it as well. They are running a campaign called "Happy as Kings" to raise funds for student tuition discounts and to increase awareness of the unique education that their school offers, and it is so beautiful and unique.
Please consider donating to their campaign or at the very least check out their school's website and tell your friends about this treasure of a school.