Homeschool works for our family. We believe it offers the best education available, our children thrive under it, and I enjoy it. Everyone benefits.
That being said, I still think about not doing it.
I think about it so often that two weeks ago (after discussing it with Tim) I actually said we weren't going to do it next year. I told friends, I told the kids, I called the school district in our new town, and I even told my mom.
Not one person questioned our decision.
Almost everyone had at least one reason why this was the "right" decision. In some ways it was this response that made me do a double take. Did everyone just assume that I was going to fail at homeschooling eventually? Was I actually failing? Were my closest friends and family just waiting for me to realize the kids were "better off" in school?
Did I think that?
When I stepped back, I realized thats exactly what I thought. Somehow I had this idea in my brain that homeschooling was temporary. That realization scared me. A lot.
If I was willing to give up homeschooling, what else would I give up?
I have lots of ideas about "better" ways to parent (feed babies, feed big kids, technology, activities, school, FAITH), but what would it take to make me decide my ideas weren't as important as what the broader society accepted? What would it take for make me choose the more mainstream option? How strong are my convictions, really?
In the case of homeschooling, apparently weaker than I thought.
After a day or two of slowly turning my insides to mush stewing these thoughts around, I finally brought my concerns to Tim. I told him that I thought maybe I was more convicted that homeschool was still better for our family. I told him I thought our reasons for homeschooling have changed over time as we've seen more benefits and we couldn't make a decision based on our original reasoning. I told him I didn't think I was ready to give up on homeschooling. I admitted that I'm not sure I ever will be. I told him I couldn't in good conscious change something that was working.
It took me more than a week to finally tell the kids we had retracted our offer of school. I was worried they would be disappointed, but pleasantly surprised to find they were not. Aidan's biggest concern was that he had already told his best friend he would be at her school next year. Caleb wanted piano lessons (not sure how this related to school, but in his mind it did). Kylee says, "Oh good mommy, I want you still to be my teacher."
The feeling of relief!
I momentarily forgot how blessed I am to be a part of this family. How blessed I am to have a husband that supports me in this homeschooling journey and children who enjoy learning this way. Of course it isn't all sunshine and roses... I think it is sometimes easier to remember the moments when the toddler ate a stick of butter off the counter while I was demonstrating subtraction with borrowing or sounding out CVC words.
The hard moments (sometimes days) just stick out more.
But that doesn't mean that there are more. It doesn't mean that the hard moments aren't worth it. It doesn't mean that we need to sacrifice what we believe for someone else's ideas about what are "best" for our children.
Thankfully my children were quick to forgive my moment of temporary insanity!