Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, December 20, 2010

About School

Last year, I could be found here extolling the virtues of homeschooling on a regular basis. I loved the flexible schedule, the abundance of time spent together, watching them learn and develop new skills and aptitudes, the closeness of our family, the lack of evening school work, the overall warmth of our days.
This year, I'm not quite in the same place. A lot has changed. Our entire family dynamic is drastically different. And, I often find myself wondering if the children would benefit from and enjoy a school setting.
Then, I ask myself if I am only contemplating it to give myself some reprieve from the weighty responsibility of solely providing their education.
There is a charter school near us, about 10 miles away, (when you live in the middle of nowhere, 10 miles is practically next door) with a brand new facility and very small classes and a 4 day a week schedule with Mondays off. Sometimes, I hear it calling my name....
The areas of concern that give me pause are:
The stress of getting everyone up and out the door each morning -
(we would have 6 in school next year.)
The hour after I pick them up when they are all tired and cranky -
Homework -
Negative peer influence -
Keeping track of every one's everything - papers, lunches, backpacks, who needs what when -
Illness due to constant exposure that they are not used to -
Them losing their close relationships between one another -
Having very little time for Bible study, Scripture memorization, prayer, etc. -

So, I am curious and trying to gather information. Do you have any input about school you could offer? Whether you are a hard core homeschooler, or a public school/private school/charter school rules person, I would love to hear from you! (Although, private school is out of the question. ☻)
What do you see as the pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages of either/or? Do you have a rant or rave about either choice you would be willing to share? Several of them?
I know it's Christmas week and you're kind of busy. ☺ If you care to offer feedback, there is time....
Thank you so much!!
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Tara said...

Here's my take on it, after having graduated one kid from homeschooling and being in the thick of it with the other 3. If I had sent my kids to school all the times I wanted to (and believe me, there were plenty!) I would have totally missed out on watching so many of the little things they go through in becoming adults. You know what I mean, those little moments that just whiz by, and if you're not there, and being observant, you miss them.
My kids have the most remarkable relationships with each other, and I know for a fact they would not be as close as they are had they not been home together all these years. The peer influence thing is about so much more than getting exposed to the bad stuff; it's also about squelching the good stuff.
Your kids are all so young; I know it can be so overwhelming to even THINK about one more day of school. But I encourage you to stay the course! The fruit, which I am finally starting to experience, is so, so sweet.
Tara :)

Bethanne said...

(Today is not a good day to ask...)Teaching with everything else is just plain hard. I have struggled and contemplated over that. BUT, I have had 'glimpses' of the 'payoff'. (smile) Like Tara said, the fruit is worth it. My two 'fruits' are still ripening. It is hard to keep looking to the future when you are in the moment. But, I know that the 'bruises' that my boys will not have to endure will help them to be mature, healthy fruit later on. Even through the hard times, I wouldn't trade the time home with them either. You need to find time for yourself too. But, this time is short and fleeting in perspective. (smile) Bethanne

Courtney said...

my kids are in public school. and i wouldn't say i'm a "public school rules" person. but i AM convinced that it's the right thing for our family right now.

most of your concerns are valid...most of those things drive me crazy.

EXCEPT for the closeness between them...even though they are in school, we've created an atmosphere at home that they are still INCREDIBLY close to each other. people comment on it all the time. i love it. i'm sure it's partly just the combo of their birth order/personalities...but, it's also something we've tried to do and it IS possible having them in school. just saying.

Carla said...

I have shared our experience before, but will try to share again in short version. I have always homeschooled our children and thought that I always would, even when we adopted two children from Ethiopia. I never, ever thought I would send a child to school, especially a public school. BUT, my dreams of homeschooling every child and most other traditions our family had came to an end. I have two that I homeschooled through high school and we are homeschooling our youngest bio who is in third grade. I felt led to send our 7 year old adopted child from Ethiopia to school this year. It was one of the hardest things we did, but has turned out to be one of the most wonderful things we did. Instead of having to try and be mommy and teacher to her, I can focus on being mommy, which is what we really need right now. We have bonded more over the past few months than the whole two years she has been here. I don't know how long we will send her. We are planning on sending the younger adopted child to kindergarten next year too. For us, we realized they needed this as much as we did. It has brought a balance for everyone. I do look forward to homeschooling everyone again someday, not sure when this will be, but just seeking God everyday. We will be bringing home a 18 month old China jewel in just a couple of months, so I will need this time to bond with this baby, so having our adopted daughter go to school will help in this area too. BTW, she LOVES school. Her teachers say she is a joy to have in class and she walks in with a smile every morning. She is learning so much, not just academic, but cultural, social, etc. As far as bad influences, it is a good way to teach and prepare them for the world (our culture). My advice is to pray about which children you feel need to go to school and only send those. There is no way I would send my 9 year old bio son because he has always had an attention issue and he would have been labeled for sure. I know how to work with him and he is thriving with homeschooling. Our adopted daughter was not thriving, sending her to school has been an answer to prayer. Like I said, it could be for just a couple of years, just continuing in prayer. Friends told me that it wouldn't hurt to try it, you can always pull them out if you see it's not a good thing. Oh, and about getting up and getting them to school, it is worth it when it is the right thing. I feel refreshed when she returns home, I am ready to be mom and give her a snack and help her with a little homework. It was hard to let go of my lazy, comfortable little life, but being refreshed emotionally has been so valuable. She has been able to have her "own thing" and this has been very important to her. You would think it would pull them away, but it has made her look forward to being home and she seems to appreciate us more. Sorry, didn't mean to go on, so much for the short version, hope this helps!

Cassie said...

i am agreeing with courtney, too.
i think they can be just as close even if they are in school. when they get to be together in the afternoons, they thoroughly enjoy their time. (usually!)

Lisa Stucky said...

Oh, I hear your pain. I'm in my 4th year of homeschooling ... but I don't have a good charter school choice - or I might jump on it. So, I press on with homeschooling. Both are a mix of good and bad. Neither is right or wrong. It's not better or worse. I simply commit to making my decision year by year ... not making a major commitment that I can't keep. Will pray that you make the right decision for next year.

Katy said...

Hi, Tisha! Since I had my kids in public school until last year when we started HSing I'll give my take on it. One thing I've certainly learned from meeting other HS families (and clearly reflected in your blog answers) is that deciding one way or the other is not binding and unchangeable. I have met HS families who will always HS and will never, ever step foot in a regular school. There are families like me who never thought they'd HS until circumstances changed which made it make more sense. Then there are those in between-- 2 children at home, 1 kid vacillates between home and school; 1 kid at home and 2 children in reg. school. It's a very organic choice, apparently and you don't have to feel married to one or the other for the rest of forever. It's ok to make one choice for a while and another choice for a while. In our family, Evelyn wants to go back to school next year, and I respect that I think she'll be a lot happier. Frankly, if I only have the 2 boys (1 grade apart), I think our homeschool will run a lot more smoothly. I understand your concerns, all those things you mention are the downside of reg. school. If either choice was *perfect* you'd have no dilemma.

HSing definitely has its awesome points, but I also think it's a reasonable wish (or need) sometimes to be a healthy, rested, un-harried, loving, snack-ready mom at 3:00.

Holly said...

IF I were you...which I'm not...
and IF I were 'stuck'...which I'm not..

here's where I would land.


The Charter school sounds great, but the teachers are the ones doing the influencing. IF they are great, then it would be a good situation, if they are not great, then how much worse can they be if you keep them at home?
(choosing the lesser of two evils there)

There are amazing teachers and not so amazing teachers.

The schedule would work itself out, all that you listed would find a rhythm but if your child's hearts are being influenced in a way that directly goes against where God has called your family to go then I would step back and reevaluate.
But, if the teachers were the bomb....then....well...then this hard-core homeschool graduate, homeschool mama would say that IF I were you...which I'm not....

if the teachers were on board with my family values, then I might be seriously considering the charter school.

and praying for God to open doors where you need them open and closing them where you need them closed...

my mama always says you either have Peace or NO Peace, there's not such thing as 'I don't know'. and I usually hate it when she says that but she's right.
Where do you have peace about? despite the lists, where do you have peace?

there is no grass is greener on the other side here, is there?

wow...having a hard time pushing publish on this comment....oh how much stock I put into what other people think of me!?

Jennifer said...

Well, I just wrote a gigantic book to you, which apparently blogger didn't like, so it's now lost in, I'll just say {{HUGS}} to you as you make this decision. It was a hard one for us, after 9+ years of homeschooling, but we are glad we did. So if you want to hear more, feel free to contact me and I'll try to re-create the comment that I wrote before ;-)

Tisha said...

Thank you for each response!

Jennifer - what a bummer!! Don't you HATE it when that happens? Ugh. Thank you for trying. I am really curious about what you were going to say. :)

You have given me good food for thought as I was mostly interested in your experiences and thoughts on the school sujbect from your point of view with your family.

We are praying and considering and I have some new information to think we are still in process. I will let you know when we decide!

Thank you again!!

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