Friday, September 12, 2008

To School or not to School

Well, after many hours of thinking, analyzing, praying, thinking, analyzing, praying, seeking advice, and searching my own heart, I (we) have made the decision to put Selah in school. This has truly been a painful decision for me. I feel like I have let go of something I deeply loved and valued... each day, all day, with my kids. I love watching them learn and fostering that love of learning. I love the laid-back lifestyle of getting up and around when we feel like it, weekly trips to the zoo, our friends (and my girl friends) and our Co-op, etc. My kids are so smart and they love to learn, which I believe is a combo of genetics and our lifestyle of learning. We learn whatever it is they are interested in at the time, and they take off with it, so to speak.
For us, "School" might be learning about hurricanes... watching the weather channel, watching hurricane info on the internet, looking at a map of the US and look at where all our family lives (which states) in reference to the path of the storm, etc. (oh how IRONIC!!! As I'm typing this section right now, Bryson just came up to me and said "Mommy, can I please watch the hurricane again on the computer, and then play webkinz? Pleeeeease Mom!").

We have her attending a local private school. She has a very sweet teacher, and I know she will do well. She will be challenged academically and I like the Christian atmosphere. When we showed up on her first day, she already had several friends that were in her class (see picture above). And I saw a couple moms that I am casual friends with whose kids are in her class, so she and I both felt comfortable and kind-of "at home" as soon as we walked in the door.

Selah and I have talked alot about this change. When Alan and I were making our decision, and since she started on Tuesday we've had several discussions about her feelings. Her first choice was to be at home. We "convinced" her that school would be fun, full of lots of activity, she would learn lots of new things, and she would have a good time with friends. She is hanging with it. I would not say that she is excited, but she is content. Her teacher told me today that she is a wonderful student, and that she can tell she likes to learn... that she listens so intently and does great on all the papers. None of that surprises me. I know she will be that kind of student.

In some ways I feel like I let her down and let myself down too. Last night I finally was able to put into words why I felt the need to put her in school right now. Here it is... While I love homeschooling, there are some aspects of it that I'm not too keen on. While I love homeschooling, I'm not convicted that it is the best and only path for our family until they leave home. Homeschooling is my 1st choice of the 3 options, and for me there are more positives than negatives when it comes to educating at home. However, I have said for the last 2 years that I have no idea how long I will homeschool. It will be a yearly decision. I suppose since I wasn't convicted in my heart and mind to be in it for the long-haul, I had an underlying stress that if I put them back in school, they might be missing something "fundamental" that they would need to jump into the school setting. For example, maybe they would be reading very well, but never learned to "diagram" the words, and being put back into school if they needed this, would have to scramble to catch up. Because of the way I believe in doing school here at home, while my kids would most likely know and retain more than they might at school, we may miss the detail cirriculum stuff. If I were planning to educate them at home all the way through, I wouldn't worry about this at all. But knowing that there was a possibility that I would put them in someday, coupled with the growing success of my Heartstrings business, I felt more of a peace to give school a try this year than I did by wondering every day if I was making the best choice by keeping them at home.

So far so good. She is having a positive experience, which I think will only get better the more she gets to know her teacher and friends. I really think it will be good for Selah from the social standpoint as well. I know at first she felt like I was making her go to school, and I think she feels a little left-out since me and the other two kids are still at home, but she is having a good time at school, and we try to focus on that. Today is Friday, and yesterday and today she woke up ready to go! As for me, I have cried several times, felt that panicky feeling about giving her up for 7 hours a day (which is one of my biggest "beefs" about the institutionlized school setting). But I have to admit, the peace and quiet around the house!!!! IT'S GREAT!!!! Especially the days Charis goes to Mother's Day Out. Bryson is my little buddy, and we have had a blast together on those 2 days. Also, the house is staying cleaner, I'm not as cranky at the end of the day, and I'm plugging away on those 50 platters that are sitting upstairs calling my name. Speaking of which, I should get busy.

For now, I hope and pray we have a great year.


Jodie said...

I'm soooo excited for Selah as she begins her new adventure. She has already found some girlfriends, a great teacher, the sky has no limit. The fun experiences will be hers and hers alone.

6HappyHearts said...

I love ya girl! You are a great mommy & you only want the best for your babies!!! We'll see you soon : )

Margo said...

Oh, I am sure your family will have a great year! The quiet and clean house sound very tempting! How does she like school after a week or so?? I'm sure she loves it! You are AN AWESOME mom and I'm sure you are still "homeschooling" Bryson, so you better still do some co-op stuff! We definitely still need to do Mom's Night Out :)