A week ago today, I stood at the bottom of the driveway and watched my children get on the yellow bus. I didn’t write about it right away because I needed time to sit with the decision. I have lots to share, but the end of this story is that I’m taking a sabbatical from homeschooling.
You might remember that last spring I had a crisis with my health, and it got my attention. Russ was in Kenya and I was in the hospital hooked up to machines and wondering where this was all leading. A few weeks later we got away to spend time seriously evaluating our lives and laid it all on the table. We made some good decisions and have acted on them, but it wasn’t quite enough.
I love homeschooling, really love it, which is why through all of the ups and downs of life, I’ve stuck with it for 23 consecutive years. I even wrote a popular post about homeschooling two months ago. Yet all summer I laid awake in the wee hours of the morning wondering how I was going to manage this year. The weight felt so heavy that my chest ached. For weeks we tried to figure out ways to lighten my load, but nothing seemed to be enough.
The week before school started Russ and I drove to the schools our kids might attend. We talked with principals and teachers, toured buildings, and looked at playgrounds. I shed a few tears in the second grade classroom, which was embarrassing. We picked up stacks of paperwork, all the while thinking that this was so foreign for us and that we couldn’t quite imagine putting everyone in school. We prayed and talked with one another, but otherwise kept fairly quiet.
I began filling out paperwork “just in case” and made copies of birth certificates and immunization records. One of the local charter schools looked especially good to us, but they only had room for Sunshine and not the boys. By putting her in, they both moved up the wait list, but not high enough to get in this fall.
By Thursday all paperwork was in and we told the kids our plan; they were all excited and just a little nervous. We began attending one “Back to School” night after another. Each school felt welcoming; the teachers were kind, principals friendly, and school secretaries, the best ever. I’m convinced that school secretaries set the tone for the entire school.
This is what our year looks like: Annarose (12th) is half time at the high school and half time homeschooled, Beza (9th) is at the high school, Dimples (7th) is at the middle school, Sunshine (7th) is half time at a charter school and half time homeschooled, Eby (3rd) is at a 3rd-5th elementary school, and Little Man (2nd) is at the K-2 elementary school.
That’s right, I have six kids in five schools; I’m pretty sure I’m trading one kind of crazy for another.
This is a brand new experience and it’s messing with my idealism, but I’m rolling with it and praying that the Lord will help me use each day wisely. I’ll have lots more to say soon.
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