I didn’t even realize it until a friend clued me in, but Monday was a big day for us.
It was the day we could find out which teachers our kids got for the school year. Even after she told me, I didn’t bother to rush over to the school to find my children’s names on the class lists. I wouldn’t know if it was good news or bad news.
Instead, my friend messaged me with the names of our teachers. I got a big lump in my throat when I heard the news. It really didn’t make a difference WHAT the names were. I was just so happy that they HAVE teachers. That’s right. They have actual certified, bonafide, living, breathing teachers. And NOT ONE of the teachers is ME.
If you are new here or you haven’t stopped by in a while, let me just catch you up with the news: I resigned from home schooling.
I’m a home school drop out.
Back in January, I finally faced up to the fact that it was not possible for me to continue trying to educate my own children AND work a part-time job. Something had to go.
We prayed and researched and made lists and spreadsheets. We considered every option. Public school, private school, co-ops. A mixture of those. I assumed that I would probably end up home schooling again, so we starting doing our best to live on only my husband’s income.
At the same time, we were challenged to dramatically increase our giving to our church. So, for the past six months or so, we really have been changing our habits and changing our view on having money. (This is the subject of another blog post, but I just wanted to mention it quickly here.)
To say I was feeling burn out about home schooling would be quite the understatement. I know what burn out feels like. And I know that getting away for a few days or taking a summer break can revive me. But I had dug down deep into the innermost part of my being and I could not find one drop of creativity, excitement or energy for home schooling. It was all gone.
The hard part for me is that educating my own children is very far outside of what comes naturally to me. It takes me about three times more energy to do it than it does to do the things that I love. Many people ask me what’s hard about it, and I always try to explain it the same way.
I LOVE the “home” part of home schooling. I love having my kids with me everyday. I love the freedom. I love the lifestyle. I love the field trips and the community. I love our home schooling friends.
It’s the “school” that’s hard. (Yes, this is meant to be a little sarcastic.) It’s getting up every morning and being organized and finding the discipline to do school with three children in three grades while also being a mommy to a toddler. I’ve heard of other people who say they can get through school in a few hours. For us, especially as the kids got older, we were consistently starting earlier than the public school kids and still working when the school bus pulled around the corner in the afternoon. Add in a part-time job, a house that’s a mess, dinners that need to be planned and mountains of laundry, and it completely overwhelms me.
I’m on e-mail lists and Facebook pages, and I subscribe to blogs with tips and info about home schooling. And each time I read one of those, I would end up feeling more overwhelmed. I would delete the e-mails without even opening them because I just couldn’t handle one more conversation about curriculum or one more fabulous tip about getting organized. I would avoid the huge home schooling conference that should be such a source of encouragement because it would leave me feeling exhausted at the thought of all that I should be doing.
While other moms seemed to choose their curriculum with excitement, I would dread the decision and put it off until the week before we started school.
It could be my personality. I know it would be different if I had one child or two, rather than four. I know that I set standards that are very high, and it’s sometimes impossible to live up to them. But it’s equally difficult for me to do something at a lower standard and feel at peace that I’m doing well.
Once my husband and I agreed that something had to go, it made it much easier to make the choice. At some point in the process, we ruled out sending our oldest son to public school for the first time in his life in sixth grade. We also ruled out several private schools because it was not be possible financially. We looked at a private, Christian school that is near us that we had looked at several years ago. For some reason, I knew that school wasn’t the right choice for us when we looked at it then. This time, we all had a very positive experience.
We went back a week later so the kids could sit in the classrooms. We only planned to stay for the morning, but the kids begged to stay for lunch and recess. “You can go home and pick us up at the end of the day,” one of them suggested.
One big positive about this school is that its multiple child discount was far better than any of the others we had considered. When we did the math, we realized that instead of quitting my job, (which I LOVE), to home school, (which exhausts me), it made more sense to just give my paycheck to the school. 🙂 It would be the same difference either way.
So, we filled out the paperwork in May. But I wondered if we would think differently when the time was REALLY here. Would we all regret this decision?
We’ve already had to do lots this summer to get ready for the school year. We bought uniforms. (YAY!! I LOVE uniforms!) We bought the school supplies we were told to buy (rather than roaming the aisles getting all the cool markers and crayons that WE wanted to buy!). We have studied the hot lunch menu 100 times with eager anticipation! We even paid tuition. And now, with one week left, we found out the teachers’ names.
I worried that I might be feeling dread as we did all of these things. Instead, with each step closer we get to the school year, we all feel more and more excited. Our daughter absolutely can’t wait. I’m sure the transition will be hardest for the sixth grader. But even he is ready for the change.
I know that the toddler and I are going to be lost on Aug. 23 after we drop them all off. Figuring out how to organize our day is going to be one of the hard parts. I have absolutely loved having the kids home the last three years when she was born and allowing them to see her each day as a baby and toddler.
But I think even we are ready. It will be good to be able to really spend time with her, rather than seeing her as a distraction to the others who are trying to complete their assignments.
It won’t be long until those names we received on Monday will be a big part of our daily lives. We can’t wait!