Thursday, September 5, 2013


The boys started school this week.  Today is only Day Two - we're still very new to all of this and so I'm reserving full judgement for a bit. But I AM hopeful and I am encouraged by what the past two days have brought to us.  The boys are connecting with other kids, they are learning the rhythm of the day, and they are having fun while building a positive association with school, other adults, and new experiences without our help.

I'm not sure exactly how to address the elephant in the room - homeschooling, except to say that we still believe in homeschooling and we may return to it.  We didn't enter this thinking we were switching teams. the best way I can think to explain it is to say that we don't root for the Public Schoolers and boo the Homeschoolers now, we're just trying a new sport.  A season of Soccer instead of Baseball.  We've always tried to do whatever worked best for our family at the present moment. Whether it was homeschooling or schooling, screens, no-screens, two WOH parents, one SAH parent, etc. There is not one, certain approach to parenting, or to life for that matter, that is going to work for every family.  If there was, we'd all be using that one method because it works so well.  There would be no "mommy wars", no debates about the merits of different parenting books or philosophies, no defensiveness about our choices when it comes to our children.  I don't feel defensive about putting my kids in school after homeschooling them for their entire "school careers" thus far, but I do feel a sense of uncertainty because it is new.  I also felt this when we pulled Ben from Headstart and decided to homeschool.  I don't feel relieved that they are going to school, or that I have found a magic solution for the issues we were having with homeschooling.  It all falls on a spectrum, and for us right now our local public school may be the best untapped resource to help us help our kids succeed.  

We made the decision to send the boys to school last week - a week before school started.  We (we = our family, not just Tim and I) had been talking it over for most of the summer.  We weren't hating homeschooling, but we weren't loving it as we once had either, it had somehow just stopped working well for us.  ALL of us.  There are so many variables in this equation, it's hard to know which one or which combination of factors were involved with our decision, but the short version of why we decided to try school this year is that the kids needed/wanted more interaction with friends, more challenging work, and more experiences and our budget, and schedule couldn't facilitate that as well as the kids deserved. ALL of this is possible to fix via homeschooling or public schooling. Again, it comes back to what is right for you family at this point in time.  

So we decided to tap into our local resource, the school.  Our idea was just to sign the boys up for specials, where they would go to school for about an hour each day to join in gym, art, music etc.  They would do their academic work at home with us as they always had.  Somewhere in the last few weeks, that idea morphed into full time school and was met with a strong interest from the boys.  Last week, we took a tour of the school, met some teachers and the principal and then talked it over with the boys.  They were unanimous - they wanted to go.

Tim & I have always said that if any of the kids ever expressed an interest in going to school we would let them.  We've tried hard to not make school out to be the "bad guy" that it can often appear to be to homeschoolers.  We haven't always succeeded in that, and we do still see the downfalls possible with public school.  But, at the moment, the positives of school are outweighing the negatives for our family. When the scale shifts, as I suspect it will at some point, we'll revisit homeschooling, or look into private school, or online schooling, because our needs change throughout our lives and the solutions keep evolving too.  The one thought I keep focusing on as we go forward parenting our kids, and living life, is how fortunate we are to live in a time and place that affords us such choices.  It is a luxury that should be blessed upon everyone.

*Syda is not going to school this year, but man, it was not fun being the one to break that news.  She might be getting a mini schoolhouse for her birthday in a few weeks.  Oh, and a pony.

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