Last night we sat out clothes, gave lots of baths, filled out paperwork, prayed, and all had nervous butterflies in our bellies as we fell asleep.
This morning I got up at six, made breakfast, woke up the three oldest, talked over breakfast, gathered up the little ones...and we headed out the door.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed...
Then we walked into school.
It shouldn't be so ridiculously hard for me.
But it is.
On one hand...I feel like I just won the lottery. "You mean, you will watch them, teach them...and keep them from killing themselves for me?"
On the other hand...I like my kids. I (really) want an hour or two a day to hear myself think. But seven and a half hours seems extreme. (This is coming from someone who never went to public school. It's my perspective.)
Lincoln met his teacher (I love her!), and although he seemed shy and reserved...he was definitely okay. His buddy from church is in his class. I think God totally set that up.
Kennedy was excited until we walked into the room full of kids and then her face said, "Crap. What have I gotten myself into?" She was shy, but she didn't cry. Her teacher goes to church with us.
Jack. Well...Jack is Jack. He met his pretty blonde teacher, and I'm almost certain he fell in love on the spot. His mouth gaped open, and all he could do when she spoke to him, was nod his head and giggle. He walked away and didn't even look back. I would have felt bad...but it was too funny.
As I walked back down the hall to peek in on Kennedy, I felt like grabbing her and making a mad run for it. But that's silly. No one's making me do this... And, she was happily setting up her paper, crayons and pencils anyway.
I'm still not so sure about Kindergarten. I'm not sure that Kennedy will stay. To me it seems like the only reason for all day Kindergarten is day care. It's such a long day for little ones. She was really determined to go to school with the boys. But, my heart is hurting. Five seems too young to be away from your mom all day. It just does.
So we will take Kindergarten day by day.
All that said; despite the worry, and guilt. I feel like we are approaching sanity as a family. People seek counseling for trauma and pain. Anti-depressants for hurt minds and hearts. Since they weren't offering maid service and childcare...my logic is that it is okay for me to use the school system to restore some sanity into our lives.
EVEN though my reasons have absolutely nothing to do with my children's education. I wasn't worried about them as far as their education went. I love they way they think. I love how inquisitive, logical, intelligent and unique they all are. Jack is pretty behind on reading. And, I'm extremely thankful to have help in that area. I've always struggled with teaching him things that he finds uninteresting. I haven't done well at making it fun. And, haven't been willing to force him. But even with his reading difficulty; I'm not sending him to be fixed. I'm thankful for structure in their lives. ALL of their teachers seem above and beyond the cut. They were kind and sincere. There was no condemnation or judgment. I'm sure the kids will come away with some new information, and new tools. Probably a few cuss words, too.
The main reason I'm trying this out...is we aren't functioning well as a family. It's totally me taking advantage of the system for reasons I've always thought were horrible in other people. (Yes! I'm calling myself out!) I've always hated it when people say to me, "You know I'd really like to homeschool. But, I couldn't stand being around my kids for that long." I know God designed us all differently. And, public, private, and homeschooled kids all turn out equally well adjusted and screwed up! It just bothered me to think that being around your own kids could be so traumatic. So...I'd like to order a plate of crow, please. As much as I've prayed through this, and willed myself to be better at time management, to be patient with taking the five of them everywhere I go...and to be with them twenty-four hours a day. The house is a wreck. I'm grumpy and mean. I get distracted in the details of running the house, lost in all the directions our homeschool day takes us, and feel like I have two babies that need a lot more face time with me.
You wanna know what's funny? Last night as I was falling asleep; jumping from one extreme to the other. So thankful that I will have a lighter load. So guilty and panicked that my children are going to lose their innocence and be lost in a system that is set up for groups; not individuals. ALL I could think about for hours was...next school year. How I'm going to change my approach. How I think I'm DONE, done, DONE with trying to find the perfect curriculum. How I am going to piece together my own. How it will be first set up around how I learn and teach best...and I will tweak it to meet the children's needs after that. We are going to approach it in a much simpler way. We are going to go deeper in fewer topics. And, we are going to have yearly goals...so that when I don't check every little box--I don't feel like a complete failure for not following someone else's plan. I'm going to have a better understanding of the capabilities, strengths and interests of my kids. I'm excited. I've learned SO much about how I can and cannot function during the last few months. But that's then. This is now.
Two more things:
1. I think a good example of what it feels like to be a homeschool mom is to compare your job to a vocal performer. If someone criticizes a piece you sing; they are criticizing you. It IS you. You aren't playing an instrument. You are the instrument. Well, as a homeschool mom. When things aren't going well, if your kids aren't little geniuses, if your house isn't clean, if you're not fluent in Latin...there's no one to blame. No one but yourself. So, that can be a hard place to be.
Something God's been showing me though, is HE'S not condemning me. And, as long as I obey as we walk along...I can't ruin everything! If this doesn't work out. Fine. We'll try something different. If He calls me to stick to something...I'll stick.
2. I was talking to my younger brother on the phone last week and he said, "Sarah, even Jesus sought solitude. He went away to pray. He went away to be alone. It's okay to desire that..." I miss having time to seek out God. Time to listen to music without stopping a fight. Time to write, work out, or read. And...that's okay?
So this is all random. And...might not make sense. But that's where we're at.
"The homeschool family who goes to public school."
Today I've done some things that I haven't done for months and months:
Sat and read board books to Grant and Reagan.
Played, "baby" music for Grant and Reagan.
Danced to Veggie Tales songs with Grant.
Did a workout video.
Read the bible in silence.
Got up before eight
Finished my morning chores,
fed the babies lunch and had them down for their naps before noon.
Right now...I'm thankful for some space to breath.
And, I can't wait for them to get home!
No, that's not the time.
That's the timer I set to count down the hours until I pick my kids up.
Does that make me a nerd?
I don't care.