Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The School Year

School starts tomorrow, and I think we might be ready, at least in the physical sense.

I mean, we've sharpened pencils, figured out where we're putting the books, and signed the kids up for "Gym 'n Swim." I'm working on our schedule and lesson plans today.

Wife's obsession with mason jars.

But there's more than the physical in this world. So the question is, am I really ready mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for this year?  That's a little more complicated.

I'll be honest when I say that I'm not 100% percent there yet.

Because where I feel the conviction to homeschool my children, I'd be just as willing to send them to Christian school (there's just that whole problem of tuition costs). It's mostly that I want them to learn about life through the lens of the Truth. I feel like it's my responsibility.

But, homeschooling is hard. It's thankless (much like being the stay-at-home parent).  You don't earn any money from doing it (also like the whole stay-at-home parent thing).

On the flip side, though, it can be really good. The connection is good, the feeling that I know exactly what's going on in their education is good. I know where they have difficulties or challenges and I can spend a little more time on that subject.  I know where we can skip ahead, and if they start to develop interest in a certain topic, I can adjust their schooling accordingly.

And this is the point where I would advocate all who are able to, to homeschool their kids:  You get great insight into who they are as people - their likes and dislikes, what motivates them, how they learn best, how they see the world, what their talents and gifts are, etc.

Basically, you really REALLY get to know them.

One year we sent our oldest to the Christian school. She was in second grade, and had a great experience. She loved her teacher and her classmates, and her sphere widened that year. She gained confidence that she needed. It was a little stressful for her, since she's slightly introverted, but in the best way possible. She would love to go back some time, and we hope to be able to send her again one day.

When Katie went away to school.

After two previous years of homeschooling though, we felt the difference. We saw her schoolwork every week, and we were as involved as any other parent, but... it was disconnected. She grew and thrived, but we didn't really see it up close and personally.

It was almost like when she grew, it was slightly apart from the rest of us.

This isn't a bad thing, necessarily. I mean in 10 years, she's going to be "on her own." It's inevitable that she will grow, probably get married, move away, maybe even far away. Who knows where life will take her?

We tried to work out a way for the girls to go to the Christian school this year, but it didn't work out. So, maybe it's not what they need this year. And maybe next year they'll be able to go to the Christian school, but until then, we'll be content with where we are now.

For now, we'll keep them close.

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