Onto the final installment . . .
Once I realized Buddy was serious, I decided to go ahead and apply for the various online charters and public schools since I knew for sure that if we DID end up making that choice, I couldn’t do it one my own as his sole teacher–at least not my first year. So, we applied. But I had a major contingency on whether I would look into it further. I told him one of my biggest concerns was that we seemed to argue over simply practicing the piano–how was I supposed to convince him to do 6 hours of school each day??
So, we made a deal.
I told him if he would practice each day without me reminding him, and we could get through several piano lessons without grumbling. . that I would seriously consider the option of school at home.
As soon as we shook hands on the deal, guess what he did? Went and practiced.
The next morning before school? He practiced.
The next day? He practiced.
You get the drift. But I still thought it would eventually fizzle out.
It didn’t. After a month, I realized that Buddy must really be serious.
I wasn’t ready for it. I have SO MANY issues with home schooling, but I’ll just outline a few:
–I met a boy in middle school who had been home schooled through his elementary years. Simply put, he was odd. He didn’t “get” the social stuff we public schoolers had learned through our years. I never wanted my kids to be that kid.
–As I mentioned in the previous post, I was so looking forward to having kids at school. This Fall, both my two oldest would be in full-day school, and I would only have my 2 youngest all day.
–I simply LOVE seeing my kids in programs and events that I had
nothing to do with. Maybe that’s a little weird, but it’s me. I love watching their annual Christmas program, especially because I had nothing to do with putting it together–it’s all a fun surprise and I love it all.
–I don’t want to be without all the built-in extras you have in pubic school. We have been working with the psychologist for Buddy, and we won’t have that in home school. . .we have access to a nurse, a school librarian, etc.
–What I mentioned in the previous post: I want my kids to go to school with kids they go to church with. I don’t want them to feel like outsiders in the most important place to me.
–My friends that home school have told me several times that if doesn’t work out, you can always just send him back to public school. This was also an issue for me. I completely embarrassed myself in front of the principal when I cried over the G/T program. . I completely embarrassed myself with him when we came back to the school after the fiasco with the charter school. . .I was determined NOT to be embarrassed in front of him again. I didn’t want to try this virtual school out, only to return to the public school again 2 months later, embarrassed again.
So, um, you can see I had my issues. . . 😉 One evening, I talked Buddy out of it. I really thought I had him convinced to just roll with the punches and deal with it, and stay in public school. Not my best moment as a mom. . .But, he didn’t mention it again. I thought I was in the clear.
However, he kept practicing. And we still hadn’t argued or had problems with whining during lessons.
The last week of March, we went on a week-long vacation as a family, and the last thing on my mind was home school. I checked my e-mail one evening, and found out we had been accepted to one of the online schools that had great reviews (on home school forums, etc.). I was a little stunned because it was so far from my mind. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said he thought we should do it.
Now the story of me getting convinced.
Having my husband so excited about online school, made me realize I should really give this some thought.
My husband and I talked over the rest of the trip about the positives and negatives of this particular program, and I realized that I was actually getting excited about the potential: In this program, we can place him in whatever grade levels we want–can be different for each subject, even. He will learn a lot about technology and science, which he not only loves, but will be so useful for him in the future. He can go at his own pace. He can learn one of four foreign languages (and he loves languages). He can participate in any extracurricular activities at a local school that he would like. Logically, it makes sense. I was missing the spiritually making sense, though.
Shortly after we came home, I was debating again . . .we knew we had to send in the enrollment forms by April 12th if we wanted to secure his spot. We knew we had to make a decision soon.
I talked to Buddy. I asked him to tell me his reasons–one more time–for wanting to come home to school. I told him it was up to Gerrit (my husband) and I ultimately, but that I needed his input. I asked him–“If we tell you that you are going back to public school this fall, will you be sad?” He looked at me in all seriousness, got tears in his eyes, and said, “Yes, I will be very sad.”
I asked him to pray with me to know what was right.
Later on in the day, I remembered a line in my patriarchal blessing (a special blessing we receive as members of the LDS faith that help guide us through our lives). I won’t be specific, but suffice it to say that earlier in my life, I had the distinct impression while reading that line that I would home school one or more of my children at some point. I had forgotten all about that impression until now.
I realized that the time I would home school might just be this Fall.
And I realized that what I really want for my kids, is for them to be happy. If my son is telling me, honestly, that he will be very sad if I send him back to public school, I simply cannot do that to him. And I realized that I am so willing to potentially be embarrassed once again if it means that my son has the chance to be happy.
I had found out spiritually that this was the right thing.
And since that decision, I have had confirmations of it almost every day. I am still nervous because I don’t have the answers to many of the concerns I outlined above, but I have to put it in the Lord’s hands and know that He knows what is right.
It may be that this lasts for 2 months–maybe Buddy simply needs to see what online school is like and he’ll willingly return to public. It may be that this lasts for a few years, or several. It may be that he is the only one of my children that ever comes home for school, and it may end up that I have all four children home for school at some point. I am finally willing to say that I don’t have all the answers, and we’ll just wait and see how it all goes.
When my kids were babies, my philosophy on schooling was simple: Each of the kids will go to public school each day–I will volunteer in the PTA, do class parties and field trips, and help with homework so they know school is important to me.
My philosophy has changed recently: Each of my kids will go to school in whichever way is best for them at each part of their lives–I will support them in what ever way is best so they know that THEY are the most important to me.
****I really appreciate the outpouring of support I have felt from so many since I have started this little series about our journey to this point. Thank you for listening and realizing that this decision did not come easily, but that we really are just trying to do the right thing.****
If you’re thinking about doing an online school, there are many that you can go to full-time for free as they are either public schools and charter schools. Here are the links to the 2 biggest–offered nationwide 🙂