Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Homeschooling Again

Most of you know that my oldest went to a very good charter school last year that we were very pleased with. And, according to most everyone, it was a miracle that he got in at all. And so, because of a little something called "sibling preference" our other children also had the opportunity to get in. So, I prayed about it, and submitted their names for the lottery, reasoning that we could make a final decision later. I told the Lord that if He wanted them in, then He would provide the open door.

But they didn't get in. They got wait-listed. Every single one of the Whalen kids was number one on the waiting list-- except the kindergartner, who did get a spot because of big brother being a student. Of course, the kindergartner was who I absolutely didn't want to go. But then, when big brother graduated, he became the place marker for the whole sibling preference thing. It was a mess. A mess, I will admit, that I got myself into. And the trouble was, my oldest daughter really wanted to go to school-- not because she didn't like homeschooling, but because she really wants some regular interactions with friends. She is getting to that age.

So, this whole summer has been this time of incredible amounts of dialoguing with God, my husband (bless his patient self), my kids, my friends, etc. In my flesh, I will admit that just dropping them off at the school curb sounds great. I mean, it does. It so does. For about a minute... ok, maybe five minutes. And then the realities of no longer being a homeschooling family insert themselves into my little fantasy life. Letting go of what we have made a huge investment of time into sounds foolhardy. You know the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, that is what I keep thinking. My kids are good kids. I like them. We hang out together every day and they are my "mostly companions" as Eloise says. While I might enjoy a quiet house and time to pursue other interests for awhile, I know in my heart of hearts that I will miss homeschooling in the long run.

And so, I told myself that I would make a decision about homeschooling while we were at the beach-- no matter whether the school had called or not. I felt like I needed to make the decision, not have it made for me through circumstances. I called the school before we left and found out that my kids were not in, and that likely would not be in until after the school year started and some kids didn't show (which always happens). But I knew that waiting that long would mean putting off other things, like buying curriculum on time and getting enrolled in activities. And what if they didn't get in at all? Then we would just be in wait and see mode with no plans made-- that sounded foolish to me.

And then, one day while sitting at the beach I realized that for my children to get in school according to sibling preference (this was all mainly for my oldest girl, I will add), I would have to start my son in kindergarten all by himself. The mental picture of my little five year old (who doesn't want to go to school) getting out of the car and trudging alone into that school while we all went home just made me too sad. I had such clarity in that moment of how foolish all this leveraging has been. Sometimes I am so, so slow. And so, I told my husband that I was going to remove my son from the roster and with that, all the other kids would be dropped. But that didn't solve the problem of what my oldest daughter was craving in her desire to have a peer group.

Then I remembered Classical Conversations. We had looked at it back in the winter, but had been a bit overwhelmed by how much it would cost to put all the kids in. I struggle with having an "all or nothing" mentality. I want to do one thing for all my kids. It is my own selfishness in wanting things to be "simple." (Ha, ha, ha I can hear all of you laughing over the image of a mom of six saying she wants things to be simple. But I do.) So, I called my friend Kate and she put me in touch with the teacher of CC for my daughter's age and long story long, I was totally impressed with the program, we can afford to send just her and she is totally thrilled with the idea of going!

And so, my resolve to come to some sort of peace with my schooling decision over the course of our beach trip was met-- thanks largely to my friend Kate helping a sista out and my sweet husband agreeing to cough up the money for our daughter to go. And my daughter letting go of her desire to attend full time school. That was an answer to prayer, as she was pretty resolute about going. Now she has gotten excited about the other, and I am so thankful. Not that I live to please and placate my children-- but I also don't want unwelcome resentments cropping up over decisions I am making during these critical teenage years. All in all, it is just good when things work out, ya know? Thank you Lord!

And thank you Lord for educational options, and for the gift of homeschooling, and for the fact that you don't call us all to the same thing, and that You are patient and loving as we run around like crazy people trying to figure out Your will. All that mental energy I wasted and the answer was waiting for me in one short moment on the beach. Oh, the clarity that can come in a moment like that. Lord, help me to remember those moments when I start to try to figure things out on my own and get ahead of You in the process.
Pin It!

No comments: