This is a difficult post to write, my friends; mainly because it was such a difficult decision to make. The short story: I enrolled Jubilee, Hezekiah and Tucker in school last week and will be enrolling Kalina this week. They will begin school the first week of January, after Christmas break.
The long story, the real story, is much more complicated.
Chuck and I began our family planning to homeschool our children. We never discussed a different option. We put Mordecai in school at the beginning of his third grade year. I had been unsuccessful in teaching him to read and we knew he needed a different environment. In 2012, we enrolled Jubilee, Hezekiah, Avi and Tucker in school as a stop-gap measure. At the time we were overwhelmed with Apollo’s appointments and physical needs. He was being tube fed four times a day and consumed only a few bites of food orally. He was not in good physical health and was facing another heart surgery and numerous doctor’s appointments. Our plan was to have them complete the school year then come home and resume homeschooling, which we did (with the exception of Avi who has an IEP and needs special services).
Chuck and I were on the couch talking last week, discussing the latest happenings (and series of appointments) in our family when he looked at me and said, “I think you should enroll the kids in school“. He reminded me that he was wasn’t sure about homeschooling them again after their year in school. “They’re doing great, why not leave them?” he asked at the time. In the end we chose to homeschool them again because that was The Plan.
If you know me in person, you probably know that I have a very calm, mellow exterior. The mellow side often hides my stubborn and determined personality (just ask my mom). The Plan was to homeschool. Yes, we got off track the year Apollo had two heart surgeries, but darn it, I was back on track with The Plan right as scheduled. The hard truth is, sticking to The Plan, made thoughtfully 20 years ago, is not the best course of action right now.
In many ways I feel like a failure. If only I worked harder, had the kids do more chores, got more organized, came up with the perfect schedule, then I would be able to homeschool according to The Plan. I feel like I should be able to do everything: run my house, homeschool the kids, get up early to exercise and make healthy food, do the laundry and run kids to appointments. The thing is, just like in 2012, no amount of organizing and scheduling allows me to be home when I’m not home. Right now we have ten children at home, four with special needs. Between appointments for Kalina, Mordecai, Avi and Apollo (not to mention routine appointments for the children without special needs) things are falling through the cracks. As I said back in 2012, I am not willing to have my older children raise and educate their younger siblings…nor am I willing to give my children a half-baked education for the sake of The Plan. Our reason for homeschooling was to give our children a superior education and I can’t supply that (right now) and adequately meet the needs of my children with special needs.
I am also dealing with some health issues myself (nothing life-threatening, so no need to worry that I am going to keel over and you’ll have to marry Chuck and mother my children). Like most moms, I put my children and their needs first. Right now I am running out of options, but want to try exercise, a clean diet and weight loss before I take the next irreversible step: surgery. I need to be healthy to care for my family and my health issues have (understandably) been shoved to the back burner for the last two years.
I am sad, very sad, to see the end of my homeschooling days. I have shed tears, an have not doubt I will shed more. The words my friend wrote in my post Living the Dream hold just as true today. I need to let go of the The Plan and move my children on a course to success that is different than the one I envisioned. It doesn’t help any that Adalia, Judah and Tilly have done so well in community college (Tilly just finished her first quarter of school, ever, and earned a 4.0). I have to remind myself that their childhood was vastly different that their younger siblings.
This time, we don’t intend to put our children in school for a season, then return to homeschooling. We plan to have them finish out their elementary school years at our local school. As for Jr. High and High School? We’re not sure yet. Kalina will attend school so she can access special services available to kids with hearing loss. As for the rest? We haven’t decided yet.
I feel sad and tender and vulnerable. Right now I am focusing my nervous (sad?) energy on clearing out our school shelves and reorganizing.
Once the kids are in school (I’ll be home with just Enoch and Apollo during the day) I plan to focus on my home, my children’s appointments, my health and restoring order to parts of our house and life that have sat neglected for too long.