January 14, 2015

deconstructing our decision to homeschool.

I wanted to take some time today to chat a little bit about our decision to homeschool. I wish I had time to hack it all out at once, but I'll probably just have to cut the big picture up into a series of smaller posts, all things considered.

Now, when I say "our decision", I really mean God and me. Moreso, God- and then he's been working on fixing me so I could more readily accept the changes in our lifestyle. As for Eric and the kids- well, they're still a little more on the fence.

Eric trusts my judgement, I think, but he has total faith in the educational system at large and is afraid homeschooling will equal unnecessary disorder in our home. Hawk could care less right now, for sure- but Seth goes back and forth. He loves his preschool and the chance to interact with the other children. But he also craves more freedom to come and go as we choose (i.e., not be rushed for time in the mornings, or go to the zoo on a Wednesday)- who can blame him?

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I'm not opposed to public school, but a quick check on the status of our local schools finds abysmal ratings and few options. We could fudge our way into another school system- though questionable in practice, my sister and her husband offered to allow us to use their address to register Seth in the school closest their home. That option, however, will saddle us with a two hour commute each day.

The school Seth currently attends is an excellent private option, with relatively low tuition and small classroom sizes. It's only five minutes away, and the teachers are nothing short of wonderful! Still, they only offer classes up to sixth grade- which means we'd be hunting other options at some point down the road. Additionally: two years from now, when Hawk enters preschool, we'd be paying tuition for two kids, and the issue of continued affordability will be compounded.

When Seth was a toddler, I was gung-ho about homeschooling and I was sure that would be the route we'd eventually take, but as he grew older it became apparent that my boy and I were at odds with one another on the issue of his education. He's a strong-willed kid, and I'm a strong-willed woman, and I decided homeschooling would be a recipe for disaster.

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I still am so afraid of what my new role as his teacher might mean for our relationship with one another, but I'm learning to get over myself and get off my high horse more often to see things from his perspective. Humble pie, indeed.

Recently, a woman from our church (who's been educating her kids at home for the past eighteen years) was very candid with me about the internal struggles she dealt with when she began the homeschooling journey. Now, you'd think that this line of conversation would confirm our decision to send Seth to private school in my mind, but God can do surprising things with words between believers!

In this case, he used the seeds from that conversation to sprout in me a desire to reconsider homeschooling. It's as if he was using her to tell me, "It's OK if you feel out of control in this. As a matter of fact, you need to be out of control a little bit so you can remember that I've got this."

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I'm pretty sure this line of thinking, and the prayers I've offered in response, are the cause of the recent deconstruction of my comfortable life. Really, this changes everything. All my carefully laid plans? Naught. My dreams? Deferred.

Am I okay with that?

Yes.

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I am no less scared, but I'm at peace with the decision. And Seth is starting to catch the fever, too! Only a week ago, he announced to our family dinner table, "I do not want to homeschool!" I was so discouraged, but a few days later- and after a few cuddled-up heart-to-hearts- he confessed to me, "Mommy, I really do want you to homeschool me."

So, here we go! It's a new adventure, and a different direction that I had imagined just a few months ago, but I'm in the process of planning a kindergarten curriculum and reimagining the way our life will look for the next (perhaps) couple of decades. I look forward to sharing our adventure with you! You can be sure there will be plenty more posts on the topic to come.

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