Thursday, July 23, 2015

Going from homeschool to public school

After homeschooling for three years, my husband and I have decided to send the kids to public school this fall.  We have always taken their schooling year by year and seek to do what is best for them and our family.  I am so happy we had the years together that we did but for many reasons it’s time for them to go.

When I first started our homeschool journey, the kids were 7, 5 and 2.  Vienna had gone through first grade at the elementary school and had a wonderful experience.  I simply wanted more time with the kids while they were young and am beyond grateful we live in a country that allowed us the freedom to do this!  If you want to read more about my reasons that we started homeschooling, please click {HERE}.

If you figured out anything about me from my blog, it's that I'm TRYING to live a productive life.  As I journey along, I evaluate things and I tweak them as I need to.  One thing I know about myself is that I am very social and do best when I have the accountability of others.  I’ve seen this play out with my spiritual life and that’s why Good Morning Girls has been great ministry for me to plug into.  Without the daily check in with other ladies, I probably wouldn’t be reading my bible every day. I have been struggling with working out consistently and find myself much more motivated when I have a 5K planned to run with a friend.  
me and my three monkeys
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the biggest challenge I had educating the kids at home was being disciplined to do school work every day.  I had a hard time with consistency but friends told me it'd take a couple years to get into a groove so I remained flexible and open-minded.  I listened to great advice from a friend: “It’s hard to homeschool when you aren’t home.” I cleared my schedule and limited running the roads last year to give academics my full effort.  Colin didn’t return to his second year of  preschool and I didn’t go to the weekly bible study I loved.  We simplified big time.  We started school in September 2014 with great enthusiasm.  Then the holidays came and we fell off our routine.  Then one of the worse winters hit, leaving this social momma feeling very blah and unmotivated.  Every time we gathered momentum with school something would interrupt it:  Christmas, winter, birthday season, Easter and then summer.  I had a hard time getting back on track with good solid formal teaching time.  And my worry about the kids getting a good education increased causing me anxiety.

I considered joining a weekly co-op for accountability but after attending an information meeting, the price and the curriculum didn't appealed to me.  I also attended another group meeting with some moms looking to start a new co-op.  Everyone voiced what they were looking for and I was the only one looking for academic accountability.  I felt my enthusiasm for homeschooling draining.

As friends celebrated the end of a school year and summer break, I noticed that I didn’t have the same joy.  It’s kind of like people who live in California... because they have sunshine every day, they lose their appreciation for it. 
As my husband and I talked more about school options, the idea of public school became more appealing.  Sadly in the last months my reasons to homeschool became more about why I didn't want them in public school over why I loved homeschooling. I no longer want to be motivated by fear!  Common core, testings, bullies, teasing, clicks, exposure to the harshness of the world, being behind in some subjects all concern me.  I reread a friend's blog post {HERE} that she wrote three years ago about her transition from homeschool to public school and it was one of the many things that calmed my soul.  I also ordered this book that both she and another friend recommended.  I hope to find more encouragement in it.
sold on amazon

Jay and I have had many talks about school and the bottom line is that public school is an extension of homeschooling.  We will never stop teaching our kids!  I just need help in the academic department and want the kids to answer to someone else.  I plan to be VERY involved in the classroom, PTO and plug into our community more… a need I’ve been feeling for a couple years.
school applications
My family will remain my priority!  Unlike when Vienna was in public school before, I don’t have younger kids at home so I am free to help in the classrooms.  I can support the PTO, go on field trips and get involved. 
I definitely plan on taking care of myself better by exercising regularly but I want to use my time to do all that I need to do in my home so that when my family comes home, I will be fully available to them.  That means housekeeping, special projects, meal planning.  
I also babysit for a friend every other week.  And hey… after a couple years of being late with my family’s holiday cards, maybe I’ll get them out on time again!  {I am not worried about being bored, that’s for sure!}  

So grateful for the privilege I have to raise these children and I love all the options available to us. We continue to take their education year by year and seek God’s wisdom in all our decisions.  Til now, He has been faithful in closing one door while opening another.  We are just stepping through.

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