Insomnia sets in

If you are just starting to read, you should go back and start here.

We got home from vacation and I went to the web site of our local school district to find out what I needed to do to register. I downloaded the 58-page “Back to School Handbook.” I read it carefully.

We were at the point that we were both OK with sending our kids to public school. We knew we would face challenges we had never faced before. But we also knew that could be a growing experience for our family.

Every morning, I got up and looked at the registration form.

And I would sit and stare at it.

This would be a big change for us. Were we really ready?

That’s when the insomnia set in.

I should have been so excited to think about all that freedom! No home school! Drop off the kids five days a week!

But instead, I was having a hard time giving up a different type of freedom home schooling offers. I was willing to do it, but I was having a hard time with it.

I was having a hard time leaving the awesome community of home school families we have come to love. We would still see those families on a regular basis, but it would take more effort.

Mostly, we have worked really hard over the past two years on some difficult subjects. And we have seen tremendous progress in those areas. If you have ever had a child who struggled with something, you know that it’s a lot easier to help him or her first thing in the morning when the child is fresh and alert than it is at 4 or 5 p.m. when he or she is mentally exhausted from a full day at school. So we were concerned that we might quickly fall back to a place we had been two years ago with those struggles.

But one of the big things nagging on me was that home-school co-op I had mentioned back at the beginning. The program was different from anything we had done in the past. The idea behind it is that it’s supposed to be a mix of private school and home school.

The kids would be there two days a week, Monday and Friday. On Mondays, they would go to classes covering all of their academic subjects. They would have teachers go over the material with them for the week and do all the things kids do in a normal class room: group activities, discussion of literature, science experiments. And then the teachers (not me!) would give them their assignments for the rest of the week. They also would have tests and receive report cards.

On Fridays, they would get to do all of their fun classes: gym, book club, cooking, art and a whole range of other topics from which to choose.

During the rest of the week, we would work through their assignments at home. It would definitely be more restrictive. But compared with our other two options — private school and public school — it seemed like we would still get to experience some of the flexibility of home school.

I realized that all of the things that made public school seem attractive to me were also true at the co-op:

  • I want my kids to have teachers other than me.
  • No matter how hard I try, my kids aren’t going to try to impress me by doing a good job on their assignments the way they would try to impress a teacher.
  • I’m don’t want to argue with my children about the assignments I give them. Every home schooling mom out there knows what I’m talking about. My kids would never argue with a teacher about an assignment, so I don’t want them to argue with me.
  • I’m very hard on myself when it comes to my standards. I always question if my standards are too high or too low. I just want someone else to set the standard.
  • I want them to get report cards. I want some way to compare how they are doing with the rest of the world.
  • I want them to have peer pressure in a positive way. I want them to try to get their math facts done in one minute because they want to do it faster than the kid next to them.
  • I want to get a break from them once it a while! (It’s OK to say that!!)
I also realized that I was always going to wonder what it would have been like if we didn’t give it a try. I saw it as a back-up plan when I signed us up in the spring. But after spending so much time thinking through the other options and after asking God all summer to show me the way, I finally felt good about it.
My husband was on board. And the kids were definitely on board.
We know of four other families who are already friends of ours who are doing all or part of the program. We are all very excited about that! 
Most of all, I felt at peace. I know it won’t be perfect. I might even regret it. But I finally got to a place where I was OK with that. 
So… That’s why I said at the beginning I should call this, “How I ruined my summer.” I spent the entire summer searching for another way and ended up right back where I started!

And why did I just write six blog posts to tell you what many of you already knew?

I hope you will come back and read the next post to find out…

aug2011emily

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