Tomorrow, at 8 AM South African time, my kids will start going to school. It’s been quite the process for me that goes something like this…
The beginning of December I had a meltdown, like a crying I need to take a walk kind of meltdown. I’ve been homeschooling for 15 months, and while there’s been some sweet and fun moments, it’s been hard, real hard. Most days felt like such a struggle to get my kids motivated to do their school work. I feel like I’ve tried so many different techniques, and still felt like I was trudging through mud. I was exhausted and felt like something had to give. Either I needed to lay down several other responsibilities (particularly around ministry) so that I could have the energy to homeschool, or we needed to explore other options for school for the kids.
I asked myself the question, “If I could choose what I wanted to do, what would it be?” The question was the easy part. Answering it bravely and honestly was the hard part, because, given the choice, I would choose another schooling option.
Insert a flood of emotions, guilt being at the top.
A lie started twirling around in my head that I was choosing work over my kids. Tears, deep breaths, and a walk. An inner turmoil was battling in my heart, and all I knew to do was cry, breathe deep, and walk. In those sweet moments of crying out to God, He started to speak the truth.
What was the most loving for all of us?
I started thinking about my children and how Joshua does so much better academically when he’s around peers. I started thinking about both my kids and how they are social butterflies and love the interaction they can get from others. I started thinking about how I’ve struggled to teach academics in a way that they can understand. I started taking comfort in the peace that was engulfing me as God spoke the truth, and I saw more clearly what choosing the highest good for everyone might be.
I remember people saying to me how good I would be at homeschooling and how much I would love it. I think I’ve tried to attain to something that, quite frankly, I am not and something that drains the life out of me. I love discipleship, and that will not change with my kids. I will still teach them about good character as we live our daily lives, but the rest is not for me in this season.
If you’re wondering, our kids are beyond excited to go to school. That certainly helps. We’ve found a small school (only 12 kids) that seems like just the right fit. They believe the arts are just a part of learning as academics. They are also very flexible with us with traveling (a huge answer to prayer).
It’s a new school year and a new season for us. Expect some first day of school photos in cute uniforms soon.
Elisa | blissfulEJanuary 14, 2014 at 7:44 am
I'm so glad you found a school that is just right for your kids! Homeschooling is only the best option when it's the best for everyone involved. How wonderful that you were able to try it, so that you know it's not the best for you guys right now, if ever (instead of having any niggling doubts in the back of your mind).
Karen @ Pieces of ContentmentJanuary 14, 2014 at 8:29 am
May your heart sing as you all follow God's leading.
ChristinaJanuary 15, 2014 at 3:05 am
<3 hugs. I was homeschooled for almost my entire school career, so I always thought that I'd homeschool my kids. Well, I don't. And it was hard to swallow at first, but it's been so perfect for us. Praying for continued peace in your heart and good school days ahead for your kids.
ZionJanuary 15, 2014 at 3:17 am
I don't know if you got the email I sent you (Just yesterday or something like that). I can completely relate. I have had people tell me I would be so good at homeschooling and maybe in a different season in different circumstances I MIGHT be willing to try it again, but the social thing is a biggie for my son too. I could enroll in a bunch of co-ops and extracurriculars to make up for it, but in the end that cost more money and took up more time then just sending him to school to have some interaction. I am a fan of homeschooling. I know a lot of women that do it well and their kids are doing great, but it's not something you should feel guilted into. Good for you for being obedient in all of it!
MaryAnneJanuary 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm
I always thought I would homeschool my kids, but so far for us it just has not been the answer for our family (apart from one very fun month while we were in Utah this past summer). We have had some incredible school experiences, and I am grateful for that. It sounds like you have found a neat school for your kids!
KerriJanuary 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm
Great post Jen. I just faced that same struggle. We just moved to California and I was contemplating trying again to home school Sasha. But it didn't work before so I decided against it. She needs help that I am simply not qualified to give her. And besides, our personalities just clash too much. 🙂 I am teaching her geography and she does a typing program online. We've enrolled her in a local reading clinic. They will home school her in English, algebra, and history. Sometimes I feel guilty too- like I SHOULD be able to do it. Then God gently reminds me of the truth and peace comes.
The HerdJanuary 17, 2014 at 12:40 am
My kids wanted to go to school…so we are now too! I teach their–so much easier and harder all in one to teach at a school. More work–teaching at a school. More organized teaching at a school. I don't think I was a good homeschool mom either…but my kids are great learners–have no fear! So happy for you!
roothJanuary 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm
Oh I know you've made the right decision for your kiddos and best of luck to them on their first week at school! Hugs to you as well 🙂