Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To homeschool or not to homeschool.....

So at the beginning of 2010 the decision was made, rather easily, to allow 2 of the Littles to homeschool again. In the Fall of 2008 we enrolled Littles 3,4 & 5 in a charter school nearby. It was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. The decision to put them in school was basically mine. I was going through a rough emotional and spiritual time, and I felt like my relationship with my precious Littles was being compromised. We were together constantly and I was notorious for putting everyones needs before mine. I was burnt out on life and I needed a break.

So after oceans of tears, all coming from me, the Littles went off to the land of school. They loved it. They fit right in. I on the other hand, hated it and I quickly fell apart. I managed to gain back 70 lbs of the 100 lbs that I had lost the 2 years before that. Over time, and because of a huge spiritual transformation, I was able to accept that they were in school. I even began to like the time I had to myself when the Baby Little was in preschool.

I'm not sure, when things at school started to go bad. I'm not even sure that it was that bad, but for whatever reason Little #5 had had enough. She proclaimed over Christmas break that she did not want to go back. She wanted to homeschool again. So the decision was made, she would return to school for a couple of days then she would be done. Little #3 quickly followed her after a week of being back. So here I am with 2 at home and 2 in school. Littles 4 & 6 love being with their friends and I want to respect that. I am going to let them decide when and if the time is right for them to come home.

There is a miracle in this story. The miracle is that I am ok with whatever decision my Littles make. The miracle is that I was able to pull them out of school and not feel like a bad mother, even when one of their teachers showed disapproval of our decision. I didn't feel like a bad mother!! That is huge for me. I didn't have to listen to that loud booming voice yelling that I was ruining my kids, because the voice wasn't there. Most of my mothering life, I have felt like a bad mother. I used to constantly compare myself to other mothers, and because of a nasty bully that I had inside of me, I would always come out as the bad one.

I am in such a different place today then I was when the Littles went to school. I embrace this decision to homeschool and I don't expect to do it perfectly. I am not placing all kinds of demands on myself or them. We are just letting our days flow. I have 2 very different Littles at home now. One is an unschooler by heart and the other loves structure and 'class time'. So I'm following both of their leads, because one thing I have learned over the past couple of years is that I can trust my precious Littles.

I have no idea if Littles #4 & 6 will stay in school. I'm not even going to speculate. I'm just going to be. The other day Little #3 came in and declared that he was a lucky boy because his life was so good. That declaration of gratitude is the only reminder I need that we made the right decision for him.

Thanks for spending this quiet time with me. I leave now, with peace in my heart and 1 less thought to sort through in my head.

Just my thoughts.


Lisis said...

I love this, Jill! I especially love how you recognize that one is an unschooler and the other likes more structure. I tend to like structure and having a syllabus of sorts to follow, but Hunter is more of a free spirit, discovering what he loves amidst the chaos, and enjoying the process of re-inventing the wheel.

It takes all kinds in this world, and as moms, it's our place to recognize and validate what comes naturally to our kids. Some do better in the social world of school; some like peace and quiet; some like structure and others freedom... when we can work with what is already present in them, they have a much better chance of becoming someone that can feel happy and whole.

I am SO proud of you for getting through the judgment of others about your decision without feeling like a bad mom. THAT is the toughest part of homeschooling, at least for me. People judge and criticize what they don't understand.

Your kids are so lucky to have you!!

shiny mamaof6 said...

Lisis - "when we can work with what is already present in them, they have a much better chance of becoming someone that can feel happy and whole."

That statement right there is exactly why I am able to get through the judgement of others. Being happy and whole allows learning to happen.

You can join me in the Lucky Kids Club.

septembermom said...

I love how you follow your Littles' lead when it comes to where they feel most comfortable learning. You are a wonderful mother for all that you do to prioritize the needs and challenges of each child.

You are right to not judge yourself harshly anymore. You are easing through these early years with your kids. I wish I was homeschooling mine.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Septembermom - Thank you for the added confidence and the kind words. I does feel good to let go of the judgement.