Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Decisions, decisions

Does everyone struggle with the decision to homeschool or is it just me? I mean, I really struggle. It's like each decision is a hurdle. Probably the biggest hurdle was deciding to pull Capt. N from public school in the first place. You can read more about that here. It was the best decision I've made for my son. Homeschooling really works for him & most likely will always be a great fit.

Well that's great, but I have 2 other kids to think about. Is it the best decision for them? How do those that know it is the best decision know for sure? I want my kids to be happy, healthy & have a joy for learning.

I told myself I had to decide by Spring Break if my kids were going to public school next year or keeping with homeschool. I mean for the rest of their schooling years. Am I going to fully commit to homeschooling them forever or should they go back to what's "normal?" It made me crazy trying to make that decision. I worried about it way, way too much. We had 3 weeks off at Christmas time & I told myself I couldn't do or think about anything school related for the first 2 weeks. I needed a break from school.

At some point I, obviously, needed to get back into school stuff, but I couldn't allow myself to think about the following year because my brain just wasn't ready to take that all on again. Well, it's nearing Spring Break & I've got to make decisions.

I gave up on trying to figure out what we should do forever & decided to focus just on next year.

I'm almost positive I'm going to keep homeschooling Capt. N. He wants to be homeschooled & he does learn better in this environment... But really, I'm just putting off the inevitable question one more year. Should he stay homeschooled even in to high school?

Princess K will be starting kindergarten in the fall. She would love going to school. And, if I'm going to be honest, I know she's going to give me attitude as her teacher. She's very independent. But, I think I've decided to school her at home, too... at least for next year.

Now, onto the hard one: Mr. T. He will be going into 2nd grade next year. He would probably thrive in a school environment because he's competitive. He wants to do better than the person next to him & it motivates him. He's also very social. I know homeschooled kids still get plenty of socialization. But, it's not the same as seeing kids 6+ hours, 5 days, every week... which is exactly something that bothers me about sending them back. That's too long to be away from your family. He would be with others more than with us, his family. In my dream world he would go to school 2 days a week & be schooled at home 3 days every week.

Here's my real struggle. I don't know if I'm the best mom I can be when I'm their teacher. I feel like all I do all day is just be their teacher. I spend hours schooling them, then more hours figuring out what to teach them. We used to go to the zoo or other outings just because we like to go places. Now we go because it fits into school somehow. I have always been a crafty mama. I'm not afraid of a little mess from craft projects. But, now it seems we only do craft projects as they relate to school. I don't have the ambition or time to throw in craft projects "just because" anymore.

Mr. T & I struggled a lot during our second term. I don't know if they were just growing pains or what, but Capt. N & I didn't go through that. Mr. T is quite smart & likes to be right. He had a hard time accepting things when he was wrong. If he got an answer wrong & I explained to him why it was wrong it was like he couldn't even listen to me because he couldn't believe he was wrong. And, he would actually get mad at me for it. This happened enough that it made things difficult to teach him. It just wasn't working. It's more important to me to be his mom than his teacher. And, if being his teacher meant he was going to hate me as a mom, then I have to throw in the towel. I will refuse to be his teacher.

Amazingly, after Christmas Break all that tension went away. Mr. T & I are getting along again! But, I still wonder if he'd be happier at public school.

Should I send him to school & keep Capt. N & Princess K home? Or should Princess K go too? Or should they all stay home so we can really see how it works to be a completely homeschooled family? Last year Capt. N was home, Mr. T went to public school for kinder & Princess K went to preschool. This year the boys are home & Princess K goes to preschool. Part of me wants to keep everybody home just to see how it goes. The other part of me is nervous that I won't be able to do as good of teaching job as I would like because I would be spread too thin. If Mr. T goes to school, I could easily teach only Capt. N & Princess K. But if I do that, then I have to run to the stinkin' bus stop or the school. We aren't lucky enough to have the bus drop our kids off a block away. No, we have to drive to the bus stop... and it's about a half an hour trip. We have to drive there, be there early in case the bus is early, then drive back home. The school is about 20 minutes away. The bus ride is about an hour. We are the first stop in the morning & the last stop on the way home. That's 2 hours on the bus + 6 hours at school. Plus, we will drive back to town most days for somebody's activity. That's enough to not want to send them to school.

If he goes back to school there won't be as many of these moments:
In his protective gear before doing a science experiment.

Doing an animal report on badgers just because he wants to.

Making a dollhouse for his sister & decorating paper towels to use as blankets for Barbie.

When I think of these moments & the time factor I think I would like to keep him home. But, what if that's not the right path for him?

I could go on forever about my internal struggles, but I will quit rambling. One day I'm sure I will look back on this post & think what a fool I am.

 Do you struggle with the homeschooling decision or do you know it's exactly right for your family?

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