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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Decision Time

Come January in Atlanta, everyone starts making their plans for the next school year. Public school? Private school? Homeschool? Decision time is upon us.

If you’d asked me back in October about our plan for the 2011-2012 school year, I would have told you that we'd almost certainly not be homeschooling again next year. It’s not that I dislike having my kids home all day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy teaching. It’s not even that I mind the constant disarray of books, papers, pencils, rulers and other school supplies that is my (rather small) home.

It’s just that homeschooling a second grader, a kindergartner, two Ugandan preschoolers and a baby is kind of… hard. And I’m not a huge fan of hard. Hard is time consuming. Hard is character shaping in a painful way. Hard makes me feel inadequate.

So I determined around mid-October that our homeschooling adventure was over. At least it would be, come May 2012.

But fortunately/unfortunately, I have a husband who is not nearly as impulsive as me. In fact, people who know Dan would likely describe him as the polar opposite of impulsive. He’s thoughtful, calculated and never, ever makes decisions in the heat of battle.

Dan pointed out that the very first semester of homeschooling five children is probably not the best time for us to decide if we should do it for the long haul. That’s akin to deciding whether or not you want to have a large family when you’re in the throes of newborn-hood and sleeplessness and utter exhaustion with your first baby. Heat of battle = bad decision making.

So Christmas break came and Dan committed to talk it over and pray it through with me. We took the entire month of December off from school and it was just enough down-time and prayer time for us to see and sense God’s clear leading in this matter: we’re called to give homeschool another good year. Or two. Or maybe more.

So homeschool again we will. Because the truth is that anything worth doing is going to be hard at some point. And when something is so painfully difficult that it shapes your character, that’s a good thing. But when something makes you feel completely inadequate and causes you to turn to Jesus, that’s fantastic.

Often, "inadequate" is a great place to be. I should know -- I'm there quite a lot.

In case you're interested, I've (finally) posted two new links on my homeschool page:

Why I Love Homeschooling My Children

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum


Nona said...

I made the decision one year at a time, also, for 21 years...and every year chose homeschooling. What an adventure it was. You're in for the ride of your life. So hard, and so unbelievably rewarding. Now that it is over for me, I can't tell you how much I miss it. Blessings! (Kristen Linduff)

afm said...

Good for you! There are so many reasons to not stop, all of them you already know. What you don't know is how much you will regret losing all of the benefits of homeschooling once a child is in school. The reasons: (1) you will never know your children if they are in school as well as you do homeschooling ... their temperaments, their gifts, their learning styles, their strengths and weaknesses (2) flexibility ... you dictate your schedule for holidays, vacations, random late evenings, illnesses ... and not school officials, which is even more important with so many children since one child's schedule affects the other children (3) children are more exposed to real life at home than they are at school (4) more time, LOTS more time, for the extracurriculars such as art, music, sports, (way better) field trips (5) socialization is much better with adults than with their peers, although you already have enough peers in your own home alone :-). The point is that I regret almost every day having to give up homeschooling. It is not the only choice, and it's not always the best choice given all the circumstances. But there is nothing else like it for knowing your child and for giving them an interesting and well-balanced childhood and instilling in them a love of learning and a love of the world. And by the way, you already know that each child who begins to really read becomes a much easier, or at least less time-consuming, student :-)

Allie said...

Glad you're still going to be able to do crazy playdates! :)

the_blissful_mommy said...

(grinning) Love you so much, S. Xoxo E

Kimberly Calhoun said...

OK you've said it, THE answer to every time I struggle and get uncomfortable when someone asks me "How/why do you homeschool?":
"But when something makes you feel completely inadequate and causes you to turn to Jesus, that’s fantastic. "
LOVE it! So true. Totally stealing it from you sister.
Thank you!

Janet Eason said...

When anyone asks me how long I plan to home school, I tell them "At least through the end of this week." ;-) And if it makes you feel any better (or at least more normal) I only have 2 kids and I still feel inadequate after doing this for 5 years!
Hang in there!

Ashlee said...

This is so encouraging to hear. We're facing decision time around here and "inadequate" is the perfect way to describe how I feel in regards to homeschooling. We have a Ugandan-born 11 year old, homegrown 4 year old and 2 year old and recently home Ugandan 23 month old. Good to hear it's possible (albeit not easy) with little kids running around and various ages.