Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to school time...

My kids are attending a private christian school this year. There, I've said it. I've been a bit nervous about telling people, because I know there are wonderful lovely folks who I love and respect who will be unhappy about this.

Some have deep convictions that they should ONLY homeschool their children and that no-one outside of their family should teach them. Some just can't afford a good christian school, but are OK with using them.

Even if you are in the latter category, it can feel very strange to have a friend not homeschooling. I was in that place myself a few times. I couldn't imagine sending my sweet kiddos away, to a place of strangers. I remember crying because a very good friend who had kids close in age wasn't going to homeschool, as I had assumed. I had visions of co-oping with them, and joint field trips to the zoo, farms, etc.

Then I had 2 in school and a very busy toddler, combined with an increasing need to have a welcoming environment for my husband to come home to. (He had become a small business owner and was SUPER busy) I wasn't pulling it off. We were swimming in a sea of stress, chaos, and unhappiness daily, or just not getting the schoolwork done. I was having to choose, keeping on track with teaching, or keeping on track with my wifely duties.

Can a homeschooling Mom do all the school and house managing well? YES!
Can everyone do this in all seasons? Maybe not.
For our family, it became best for all parties for the kids to be in a classroom setting for at least a year. And of course, for me to focus more of my time on the other duties that had pretty much slid away in the chaos of trying to teach 2 grade levels simultaneously and clean up the baby's 3rd giant mess of the day. I want to able to do well, not just stay afloat.

So, having identified the issue, we brainstormed. We looked into help from both angles. Housecleaning, Christian school, laundry help, etc. We live in a fairly support group poor community... our church family has a few people who co-op together privately, but no formal homeschooling support group. I know of a single christian family that homeschools in our town. Beside, we live 30 minutes or more from most of the people at church with school age children. Merry maids was pretty expensive, and not all that we needed. A "Mother's helper" would have been useful, but I don't know anyone close by who could do that. We don't even have a local babysitter. (THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM!)

We had been talking about it a little bit, and were leaning toward school, and then we had an unexpected tax refund. It was the perfect timing of need and provision of funds.

So, here I am, rising early, packing lunch, driving, cleaning, driving, cooking and sleeping. It has been a whirlwind of a week, but I think after we adjust to the schedule, it should work quite well. The kids are doing very well, and their teachers are great.

Does this mean we will never homeschool again? Probably not.

Does this mean we will no longer be involved in the church homeschool community? NO WAY! I would love to get a group going to support other moms in the same position. Crashing and burning is no fun, and we should be involved in "one another-ing" one another. Maybe we don't all have to be the does-it-all-by-herself-super-mom all the time. :-)