into the unknown: preparing myself to send my children to school

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I sighed in the grocery store the other day. The store clerk, seeing I was watching my children, made a comment expressing sympathy about how it was only the beginning of summer holidays. I smiled, paid, and thanked him. He doesn’t need to know how much he misunderstood.

To me this isn’t the beginning of a summer of having the kids around all the time. My kids have been around me almost constantly since they were born and this particular summer I am in mourning for the fact that my time homeschooling is coming to an end. This isn’t the beginning of a two-month time with the kids home, it is the end of a much longer time.I feel like I'm looking ahead too, at an unknown path.

To say that the four of us – my three kids and I – spend most of most days together feels like a bit of an understatement. The kids will be off in their rooms a bit, particularly after a trip to the library when they have a stack of new books to read, but the vast majority of the time we’re in the same room. It drives me nuts, but I love it too. Sometimes it feels like we’re a four-headed beast, or maybe an octopus since octopuses have consciousness at the base of each tentacle.

I have for years gone back and forth with that hesitant question of whether or not I’m really doing enough homeschooling. Am I doing a good enough job? Would the kids be better off in school, where they could both meet more people and have more independence? Finally we’ve decided to put it to the test. We will send them to school and see how it goes.

My husband assures me this is a win-win thing. Either school goes well or we will know that homeschooling is the right option. What I fear most is the middle ground, the area where I could be stuck unsure whether the hardship they encounter will be character building and good for them but wondering too if it is unnecessary. I want certainty. I crave certainty.

There is no certainty. I know that. I take deep breaths. I lure the kids outside with sword fights and to sit in the shade reading. I try to savor these days.

Our homemade swords, made out of wood dowels, ducttape and pool noodles provide a great form of exercise.I feel foolish mourning something most parents go through much earlier. I tell myself that I am lucky for having stolen extra years at home with the children, but I still grieve. I don’t want them to go! But I do want them to succeed and to have every opportunity available to them.  I will try to let go.

It isn’t that I don’t have other things to do while they are gone. I’ve always been one to fill my life with projects. I have a book I’m working on writing, several online classes that I’ll be teaching, and lots of other things to work on. But despite how busy I expect I’ll be, I’m going to miss these kids so much.

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9 thoughts on “into the unknown: preparing myself to send my children to school

  1. I struggle with this, too. Sometimes I wonder if I really am doing the right thing, and as you pointed out, the uncertainty is excruciating. I think I’m enough. I hope I’m enough. But what if I’m not enough? Then what?

    Best of luck to you in this transition. Hang in there.

    • Thanks! I think one of the hard parts of this is making the decision in the spring and then having to wait until fall to find out how it goes. Waiting is not my strong-point.

  2. I have felt/ or feel like you. I have had my kids in public school, then moved them to a charter school, then after 3 years put them back in public school, then pulled them all out altogether to homeschool, then I used an online virtual academy at home. Now we are moving in the next few weeks, and right now I don’t know where we will be living and what the schools will be like. But I do know I am sick of the virtual academy. I would REALLY like to just enroll my teenagers into a local community college. I think as they get older, they need to report to someone other than mom and dad. I really want to get them back into the classroom for many reasons and to get them ready for the university. My husband wants them to have a high school diploma, for some parents a GED is good enough when they turn 16. Just enroll your teens into a community college, or something more formal. But before the teen years, you are probably just fine homeschooling your kids. My kids asked to go back to school, and I want to be supportive of their educational wishes, so I put them back in February. But after we move, we might homeschool again. I realized this spring that I suffer from seasonal depression, so I ALWAYS struggle with my children’s education in the winter time, no matter where they are, because I just feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with what ever is on my plate. So, I am hoping this next year will be better, no matter what I decide.

    • Until this past few months, I had assumed I would homeschool until such point as my kids could go to some sort of college or university. I always said we’d evaluate year to year, but I didn’t really picture them going to school.

  3. Oh, I’m right there. We only homeschooled for 1.5 wonderful, magical, years but we’ve made school plans for fall and the countdown makes me ache. I know this is the right decision for my child, but it’s hard to let go.

  4. I homeschooled my 4 children for 5 years, and last summer we decided that they would start at a local Christian School. The first day I bravely put them on the bus, waving them off, going back to my van then crying so hard, as I felt like I had failed at homeschooling. But the reality is, I wasn’t willing to do 24/7 with my 4 kids, and I wasn’t liking the person I had become. My joy was gone, and I was depressed with exhaustion. I was so frazzled trying to effectively deliver a classical education to 3 different grade levels with a toddler running around. I was so tired of juggling so many balls all at once, and they always kept coming. Each family is unique, and has to do what is right for them. I’d encourage you to take a year off to breathe, and come up for air, and be still. Remember who you are, what its like to feel rested, and hold your husbands hand again and drink tea and wine together. Your marriage is so important, and needs to be nurtured. The transition year for them was rough, but they are learning how to be in the world, but not of it. These are good lessons too. There were bullies, but there were also friends who stood up for them. They had beautiful teachers that brought a different light and love to learning. Blessings on your journey.

    • I definitely don’t feel like I’ve been able to deliver the academic challenges I’d like to. I’ve been doing pretty good, I think, but not… not up there with what I’ve wanted. I’m hoping if the kids do end up coming home again, they’ll understand a bit the privilege it is homeschooling and be willing to help out a bit more and/or be a little bit more independent in things.

  5. Dealing with the same today. My eldest has always been in school but my twins are taking public school courses this year after 5 years of homeschooling. We are fortunate that they are able to take just 2 courses to test the waters and see how they like it. We will try it and hopefully have a clear answer before their 8th grade year about whether we go back to homeschooling or full time public school. It’s nerve wracking.

    • That is great your school is willing to let them take just two courses! Which courses did you or they select for them to take?

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