It started the morning I dropped Little M off at Kindergarten for the first time.
By this time, next year, we'll be home-schooling.
Where on EARTH did that come from!?
Keeping in mind that I was sleep-deprived AND post-partum ;), I just assumed that the hormones were playing havoc with my mind (again!) and entertained these ideas as a way of coping with the whole transition. And so entertain them I did, for a while.
Then, while walking home from school one day, we chatted with a friend who was teaching their kids at home. They were all excited about a chrysalis that had been discovered in their backyard. They had brought it inside and were waiting for for the butterfly to make it's grand appearance.
Seriously, I don't even know what one looks like, let alone where to find one. Even if I DID manage to recognize one, I would never think to bring it into the house for observation. Then and there I mourned, immediately deciding that if my poor children were taught at home, they would be completely and utterly deprived of any sort of real education whatsoever.
I simply let the matter drop.
I love this quote from the movie Inception:
Cobb: What is the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intenstinal worm? An idea. Resilient, highly contajous. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to iradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere.
[he points to his head]
This idea had lodged itself deeper than I had imagined. Later that fall, while shopping for christmas gifts, I ran into a friend who had been working on the same college degree as I was a few years ago. We'd clicked, and had both contemplated pursuing our masters degree in counseling. She excitedly told me about another route that she had taken in order to obtain her dream -- and strongly encouraged me to consider the same. I became excited -- very very excited. I shared the conversation with Jon, and he was able to locate the appropriate information for me (being a high school guidance counselor and all, this is very handy!). Maybe not for another year, or two, but definitely worth considering.
But even as my heart pondered this, I could feel it stirring. The idea.
What about teaching your children from home?
It became increasingly clear that this was something I needed to pray about further. And not just as a way of coping with the changes, but as a serious consideration. The more I prayed about it, the more the LORD began to reveal and refine - the more I wrestled with motivations, values, assumptions, fear. In this I began to long more and deeper for the LORD's best in our lives at this time.
Very quickly I began to encounter obstacles.
My husband was totally not enthusiastic about this idea at all.
I really appreciate our local school, and wondered what it would be like to not be a part of it.
I thought that the only home-school group in town was full, and I knew I did not want to do this on my own.
I'd begin thinking, maybe, just maybe, and we'd have a horrible week and I wanted to wave the white flag of surrender and thought there is just no way.
But the prayer and research continued. The more I discovered, the more it was confirmed in my heart. A day away to contemplate and pray sealed the deal --- LORD, it would be an honor for me to teach my children at home, however You will need to work out the details. I will not manipulate. I will not demand. You, and only You can do the heart work necessary for this to work.
After a conversation with Jon, we began to explore. He was more open to this than I'd initially thought. (Which, honestly, perplexed me a little because now it meant I REALLY had to consider what felt like a BIG risk!) Over time we carefully sought information, I spoke to hardly no one at all about this since I wanted no one to influence what the LORD was doing in my heart. We outlined a few steps that we needed to take before closing the door (or walking through an open invitation!).
Purchased a used curriculum online to peruse - check
Received confirmation that the Co-op would welcome us - check
Had many many many (many many) conversations about what about this, what about that, and this, or that, and have you thought of this, did you seriously consider that - check check and check!!
I think the thoroughness that I had given this surprised Jon (pleasantly!) and I felt so free, knowing that I didn't have to convince him. I just needed to be honest about what I was feeling and discovering and the LORD would do the rest.
Until this very weekend, I honestly had no idea which way the pendulum would swing. I have wrestled through so many misgivings. I really really like the elementary school. Love the sense of camaraderie and community. Enjoy the variety and diversity. Recognize that not every lesson can be taught in the home. I have struggled with how this would impact Little M, and each of her sisters. Would I have the energy to do this to the best of my ability? Sweet K requires more attention than a typical 4-year-old ... could I do both well?
And on. And on.
We finally came to the conclusion that it is best for us to teach Little M from home this year, quite likely the next and possibly a third. We'll see. I say: for the next foreseeable season, she's at home. Sweet K will continue to go to preschool one afternoon a week so that we can continue to build her case for requiring one-on-one assistance when she enters school (we are planning to send her next year, for her educational needs outweigh what I can give her at this point). How this will all play out --- I'm not even worried about it. I don't have all the answers, and I'm okay with that. If we've come this far, those details will become clear as we need them. For now we can focus on what we know, what we feel, what we believe.
It is good.
At some point we do want her in public school, as we both feel she will likely learn lessons there that we simply cannot teach her here. I look forward to getting involved with volunteering at that time, leading a Discovery class, assisting where needed in a classroom, helping with activities. Building community connections. I will miss that now, but know that a season is coming again when that will be a possibility.
If the tide had turned, and I'd be shopping for school supplies (which, incidentally I have to do anyway!) and packing her back pack and making sure all things were ready to go --- the journey would still have been worth it. I cannot explain how much I've learned, how much I've wrestled, and even how Jon & I have learned to communicate. It has not at all been easy, and comparable to the wrestle we had when deciding whether or not to have a third baby. Tough stuff.
But seeking out God's best is ALWAYS worth it.
You just never know which adventure is awaiting on the horizon!!