On schooling

“So, Kelli, how’s that home schooling thing going for you?”

Oh, how sweet of you to ask!

This is our last official week of home schooling (homeschooling? is it one word or two because I’ve seen it both ways and I can’t figure it out…). Honestly?

This has been the hardest year of my life.

Selling a house, saying goodbye to friends who were more like family, paying for our own move cross country, starting a new job, buying a new house, home schooling, visiting countless churches over the course of ten months, struggling to find our place, living under strain and stress…

This year has exhausted me.

I noticed something interesting in Africa. The women there are tough. Despite life’s adversities, they know how to dig in their heels and keep the home at any cost. Remember how the Maasai women actually build their family homes? It’s interesting, isn’t it? God has equipped us as women to know when it’s time to dig in, clench our teeth and do what needs to be done to keep life moving forward. He has created us with an inate ability to survive, not for ourselves, but for everyone around us.

In some regard, this past year has been something like that for me. I’ve been in survival mode, heels dug in, holding up the walls of the home. Because life was bumpy there for awhile. I just needed my family to be okay -¬†I needed us to be safe and together and whole.

Home schooling provided that safety in a way. I’m so glad I had the kids home with me because I needed them near me and I think they needed each other. But as the dust settles and the light at the end of the tunnel widens just slightly, we’re evaluating and praying and trying to decide what’s best for next year.

Tools of survival...

I will be totally honest and tell you I’m really proud of what I accomplished with my kids this year. I didn’t really know if I could do this home schooling thing. In fact,¬†I never ever wanted to do it. Ever. Ever, ever. Like most people I assumed that I wasn’t cut out to teach my kids at home.

But it’s not true. We are all fully equipped to do whatever needs to be done when it comes to our children. So if you’re thinking about home schooling, or wondering about it and you fear you can’t do it, just know that you can. I’m not saying you should. But I am saying you shouldn’t sell yourself short.

We women are tougher than we think.

Now that we are on the other side of the year, we are looking at different options. Home schooling isn’t out of the mix by any means, but neither is public school. Those are pretty much the two options we have at this point and it’s kind of scary, this decision to be made.

Part of me is hopping from foot to foot, Rocky style, trying to pep talk my way back in to the arena. I saw the benefits of what the kids and I accomplished this past year. I completely back the educational¬†positives of home schooling. There is, by far, nothing like it. There are so many things I’ve loved about having the kids home with me.

However…

I also see the benefits of a school setting and there are things I haven’t enjoyed about having them home. There are pros and cons to both choices and it all comes down to what we think works best for the kids AND for me. So we pray and wait and prepare for whatever comes next, because after this year I’ve kind of decided there isn’t anything I can’t do.

Except maybe build a mud hut out of cow dung. I’m not sure I could handle that.

So what are you doing for school next year? How did you come to your decision?

Comments

  1. Oh, honey. This is the same decision I agonized over a few months ago, for similar reasons. We’re homeschooling, and there’s a lot I love about it. But it’s not all sunshine snd bunnies; I think there’s a lot I’d love about having them in a school setting, too. We decided to give it another year and will start our third year of homeschooling in the fall.

    Good luck with your decision :)

    Oh, and you are SO RIGHT that we are equipped to do what needs to be done for our kids!

    • No, it’s not sunshine and bunnies, but there are so many great things about it. In a lot of ways, home schooling is so fun. In other ways, it totally blows. The challenge is trying to balance what’s best for everyone. Good for you for sticking with it another year, Anne!

  2. Karen says:

    The nice thing is that this is not a life or death decision….though some times it feels like it! We homeschooled and then put them back in public school and they did great. There was a season for both things.

    That being said, know I will pray for you guys as you make the decision that is right for YOUR family!

    • Exactly. Lee and I were just talking about that yesterday. Whatever we decide for next year doesn’t have to be the end all. We will probably reevaluate at the end of EVERY year. I’m so glad I’m finally in a place where I’m open to all the options so that evaluation is possible. :)

  3. I’m agonizing over this decision as well! We used to home school a few years ago and decided to “go public”. Two of my boys flourish in the school setting. Two of them do not. I can’t decide if it should be all or nothing, 2 by 2 (plus the 3 others at home) or what! Glad to know I’m not alone in this!

    • You’re not alone, for sure. I can see us doing different things for different kids in the future. How awesome is it that we have those opportunities! Praying for your decision Chrissy!

  4. We first came to homeschooling because I realized how short childhood is and it pained me to have my children spend most of their time away from me. I wanted to cherish every moment with them AND be the main influence in their life.

    We came to unschooling because I realized that most of the stuff we spend so very much time fighting to “teach” our kids, is antiquated and not necessarily necessary for a successful adult life. And, again, it came back to not wanting to waste the few precious years I get with them fighting over stuff that doesn’t matter. Like sentence structure. :)

    • The time away is the biggest motivation for me, too, Jessica. I hate how much time they have to spend in a classroom and away from me and that was a huge motivation for me bringing them home as well.

      However, I kind of feel differently about the educational aspect. I think sentence structure is important and yes…even algebra (despite the fact that I don’t get algebra). :) And in the regard, I don’t necessarily feel like I have the advantage in teaching my kids. There’s no one more qualified to train their hearts than me and there’s no better environment than home. There are plenty of people more qualified to teach them math and science, though, and a school environment provides some great opportunities for learning.

      So I’m torn. Literally torn in half about the whole decision. Ugh. It’s hard…

  5. I think it’s good to remember also that if you make a decision and decide it’s wrong in say, October, you can still change course.

  6. We’re right there in the trenches with you too, praying about the where and how of school next year.

    I’ve been reading Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson. It has freed me up so much and been very thought-provoking. It is a very simple approach. We are open to all of our options but I still think we are leaning toward keeping the boys at home next year.

    It is going to be very simple. (i think) (i am praying a lot about it, asking God for wisdom) (cause you know, i don’t want to, like, mess my kids totally up)

    • Hehehe… it is a worthy desire to not want to mess our kids up forever and ever. But honestly, I think it’s pretty hard to do that when we are fervently seeking the Lord and following what we feel He is leading us to do. :) You’re doing GREAT, Anna!

  7. We’re e-schooling again. My kids and I have settled into the groove, and it works well for us. The kids are home, but I don’t do any teaching for my oldest two (which is REALLY good since I can’t remember Algebra II and I never took Chemistry), and I only do part of the teaching for my 6th grader.

    I love the way you put it, though… that we’re all equipped for what we have to do… what God has called us to do. It’s very true…as long as we remember that the equipping is by His grace only, and Him working through us. :-)

    Loved following you through Tanzania.

    • Thanks, Katie!

      I actually like the idea of home schooling in middle or high school more than elementary simply because it’s so much WORK teaching them in these early stages and if I don’t do it right now it will be that much harder for them to learn later. I can see myself enjoying home schooling more when they can do a lot of the learning on their own. :)

  8. You hit on some critical aspects of parenting- take charge of your child’s education and always evaluate from year to year. Too many parents abdicate the responsibility, so your encouragement is wonderful- we parents are certainly capable of doing what is best for our own children because we know them best.

    With that said, we will be home schooling again this fall; it fits with the military lifestyle and our tours back and forth across the world. We use Sonlight, and have enjoyed it very much- it has worked well for our family.

  9. BRAVO! Congratulations on finishing your first year of homeschooling! I’m coming down off of the high (and exhaustion) of my first homeschooling experience as well. I have just recently found your blog and look forward to reading through your past posts, but for now I wanted you to know how perfectly this post captures the way I feel too and made me smile. I never, ever, ever thought I’d be homeschooling either and yet the emotions at the end of the year are a high I never, ever, ever expected to experience. (We women are tougher than we think.) Thank you! I look forward to reading more!

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  1. [...] somehow managed to band my little family together. Homeschooling the kids for that first year here, while by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, allowed me to fall in love with being with them. It gave me the opportunity to flex my mommy wings [...]

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