Last August, after a summer of feeling very worried about homeschooling, I did the unexpected and took a sabbatical. I couldn’t explain to Russ, or even to myself, why I couldn’t do it. After 23 years of continuous homeschooling, it wasn’t even logical. Just a month earlier I had published one of my most popular posts, Homeschooling: Six Truths I Wish I’d Known in the Beginning; what was wrong with me?
As I reflect on this, I am struck by the kindness of God. He knew that I wouldn’t be able to homeschool the kids last year. He knew we would be in the accident, lose Kalkidan, and I would be badly injured. Had I homeschooled, our academic year would have ended at Christmas break. I would not have put the kids in school at that point; our lives had been turned upside down and it would have been very traumatic.
As it was, Eby and Little Man were safely in the cocoon of their classrooms with teachers who already loved them. I cannot say enough about how good their schools were to them, and to us. Each day they had a break from seeing me bruised and broken. They could think about math, reading, and best of all, recess, lunch, and friends.
Likewise, the girls were able to come and go from school with support from their teachers. In spite of everything, all of the kids had successful academic years and I am deeply thankful.
That brings me to this fall. Annarose will be a freshman at the University of Idaho; my homeschooling days with her are complete. Beza is doing amazingly well at the high school, so she’ll stay right where she is. The current plan is that Claire will take three morning classes at the charter school and come home at 11:45. We’ll do literature, history, art, piano, and all kinds of other interesting things in the afternoons.
Eby and Little Man will attend the charter school as well, which is no small thing. Following the lottery, they were waitlisted, but spaced opened up in their grades. All three of my youngest will be at the same school, which really appeals to me. Last fall I had six kids in five schools and I could barely keep up with the information about events, schedules, etc, much less be of any help in any of their schools.
My problem is this, I really love homeschooling; at least most of the time I love it.
There are days when I can hardly stand homeschooling because it’s hard and takes a huge commitment, but the benefits to our family have been huge. The best long-term benefit is the close relationships of my oldest kids, likely due to spending their days together and not being separated by age and grade. Other perks are flexibility in our schedule, pursuing our unique interests, and more time playing outdoors.
I’m praying and asking God to give me a willing heart to do whatever is best for my youngest three. Last year I knew I needed to put them in school; God put it so heavily on my heart. I wrestled with it, questioned it, and even felt ashamed and weak, yet in the end, it was the very best decision for our family. This year I want to listen well and follow the path God sets before me.
What are your plans for this school year? Are you wrestling with any decisions? I would love to hear from you.
encourage one another,
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