I want to talk openly and honestly with you. That’s always my goal, and talking about changes in our homeschool decision are no exception.
I’m not talking about just changing our homeschool approach, or ‘quitting’ the school model.
There are valid reasons to quit homeschooling and seek out the right alternative for your family.
I’m talking about putting some of our children into public school after homeschooling.
Those of you following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope, know that this year is a year of transition for our family. This year three of our children are entering/returning to public school, with only two (and the toddler) continuing with home instruction.
It wasn’t an overnight decision, and it wasn’t made lightly. We’re pressing forward into this new season through much reflection and prayer, and the wise counsel of those who love us. I want to share how we decided to approach this adventure with you, as a means to encourage you in doing what is right for your household. I recognize that there isn’t one perfect way to approach the schooling decision.
When we brought our children home for school we made a promise to stay alert and flexible.
We understood that we could not make a decision in one season that would be appropriate for every season and every child. Entering that first year at home we agreed we should evaluate each year and each child separately.
I’ve never hidden the fact that homeschooling has been a struggle for us from the very beginning. Each year brought new challenges, and none of them were coupled with simple fixes. Many of our months at home looked like survival mode. That was something I became very aware of over the last three years.
I’ve searched hard for new solutions, for creative changes to breathe life into our homeschool.
Somewhere along the way I got caught up in ‘doing the next thing’ and forgot to step back and reevaluate.
I remember waving a white flag on numerous occasions, asking for a lifeline. I knew what some of our biggest struggles were and I wanted someone to walk with me and discuss practical ways to overcome. But honestly, more often than not I found homeschool mom after homeschool mom fighting the same feelings and problems and no one had the answer. The over all discussion was to “just keep at it, in the end it will work out.” They were young and we had time.
I was encouraged to think less about the academics and focus on character, after all that was the greater goal.
That just didn’t sit right with me for a few reasons.
First: While academics may not be the primary goal, they could not be minimized. Many of my children have expressed desire for vocations that require higher education. If I don’t prepare them for collegiate work, how can they succeed? Was I really okay with a GED for my children (MD will not endorse homeschool diplomas)?
Second: If I’m being completely honest, when we were in the survival-mode trenches there was little if any GOOD character training taking place. What my children saw was a mom who could teach them about virtues, but could crumple into a puddle of tears from frustration and exaustion. I could lead them through chapters of the bible, but scream because they’d been working on the same math problem for 45 minutes. Or the writing… why were they all allergic to pencils? Why were there tears for every dang sentence I asked them to write?!?!?
So, you get the picture, we were NOT a picture perfect, Pinterest-y, one-room, kitchen-table homeschool family. We were kind of falling apart at the seams and living day to day in a very unglorifying manner.
It was time for REAL change.
Open the discussion with the children.
Last spring we sat with each child individually and asked them what they needed to succeed. We didn’t give them answers, we gave them an opportunity to speak their heart. It wasn’t just about them saying ‘home’ or ‘public school’, it was about finding out what they believed was lacking for their success.
Almost all of the children asked for more structure.
In truth, I’ve known this all along. I’m not making excuses. I’ve always known one of the biggest challenges to home educating would be my ability to make and keep a consistent schedule.
I’m an artist. I’m a mix of Type A and Type B, it’s a terrible combination! I like organization, but I sorely lack follow through. I love rabbit trails through interest led studies, but I don’t have the fortitude to bring us back to center.
Some of the children asked to enter public school and some desired to stay at home.
It was clear that BIG changes were coming! We had the whole summer to continue our decision making.
But what about Deuteronomy 6 and our command to teach our children?
Not all will agree, but I’ve prayed over that very passage (Deut. 6:7) many, many times over the past few years. I was seeking God’s direction on how He expected me to accomplish that call. I’ve felt Him nudging for me to look at that verse from outside of the limitations of my horizontal-focused belief. Could I meet this command if I choose not to homeschool my children?
Have you come to a point in your homeschooling that has you asking if it’s time to quit?
Of course, you already know what we chose, I’ll be discussing how we made those decisions in the next two posts. I hope to see you there.
I hope what I’m sharing gives you encouragement in finding the right path for your family. None of our households are identical and the answers are different for us all.
If you want to chat with me and ask some direct questions you can leave a comment here or come join us on the FB page. I’d love to continue the discussion.