Monday, March 1, 2010

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool

...that is the question.
What are we going to do next fall?
We're halfway through the year, and this is the question I seem to be getting. And my calculated response:
I don't have a clue!
I'm on the fence about what we'll do next year. My kids are on the fence. We're all on the fence. But here's the good news - at this moment, I haven't felt anxious about not knowing. One day at a time, right?

What I've loved the most about our year at home:
- Relaxed, easy mornings.
- Short school days. We are typically finished by 1:30, if not earlier. It makes it a lot more fun to then head out for afternoon/evening practices or activities.
- Absence of homework. I cannot emphasize this benefit enough!
- Time with our Tuesday friends - science and pizza and Spanish. It's such a relaxed, fun environment with loads of kids to play and learn with.
- Time for "margin" things: playing cards and board games, watching a movie on a school night...
- The Fort Worth zoo and the Museum of Science and History. Both AMAZING. I've renewed our season passes to both - and actually use them - and we're enjoying them so much.
- Traveling outside of peak season. Also cannot emphasize this benefit enough.
- My girls sharing their days with their brothers. Actually, I guess it's little Essie who's benefiting the most - she would have all three siblings at school this year! I love having three days a week with just the boys, but twice a week all four kids get to interact. There are less "I'm-going-to-pull-my-hair-out" moments than I thought there would be. And as I've heard several homeschool moms claim, my kids' relationships with each other have improved from simply being together more.

What I miss about school:
- Seeing school friends and families on a regular basis.
- Knowing that my kids are learning enough. I know, I know, this is what I hear from anyone who teaches their kids at home, and I used to roll my eyes a bit, thinking, "Of course they're learning enough." But now that I'm the teacher and I know the ins and outs of our days, it's something I think about often.
- The classroom experience. This year has been a great reprieve from that, and the benefits of being home have been fully enjoyed. But Corbin and I both envision our kids in school, in classrooms. It might be habit or familiar, so I'm prayerful about an open mind...

With the future unknown (really, it's always unknown, right?) my sights are set on enjoying these moments we have right now. And while there are a lot of things I'm not great at, savoring this year is something I'm doing well.

Basden and I attended a mother-daughter retreat earlier this year and learned a simple song that she asks me to sing with her regularly. It's a rather simple song about wisdom, but one stanza's lyrics ring in my mind an encouragement from the Lord for our schooling this year. The words perfectly illustrate the way I feel about this year with the kids home:

There's a treasure you can't measure
You can't hold it in your hands
But if you will seek this jewel
Someday you will understand.

Someday, someday I'll understand. I'm already grateful for the TIME with my children this year. Thankful the Lord stopped me in my tracks and got my attention and asked me to try something a little different. Grateful for the gratification that comes with seeing my children learn something new or difficult. Grateful for the faith walk this has been and continues to be.

Thank you, Father, for believing in me, and for the gift of this year...