Today, I'm going to the local elementary school to finish the paperwork that will allow two of my daughters to attend school. This has been an incredibly difficult decision. I'm not sure if it's the right decision, so I won't bother trying to defend it. But let me explain it.
I've been pretty overwhelmed lately. C still has persistent potty problems, and my multi-tasking is not strong enough to give her enough attention while also trying to teach S math, and M reading, and chase a three-year-old who constantly wants me to play "ring the gack" with him (thanks, Dr. Seuss). In part it is my college education getting in the way. But, also, I'm hoping that a formal school environment will help encourage M to read and S to learn math because they are falling behind in those areas at home.
So, S and M are about to be off to public school. I cried about it. I've lost a lot of sleep. I've wanted to give up and just keep them home because of how frustrating the enrollment process has been... because, let's be honest, no one is excited to go through a long, difficult negotiation just to achieve something they're not even sure they want. It's nearly impossible to stay motivated.
Reminding myself why I started homeschooling seems to help.
When I was first faced with the decision of schooling, all of the girls were clearly struggling to cope with our shared past. We were getting settled in to a new life and I wasn't comfortable sending them straight off to school. They were fragile and, to varying degrees, broken. I lost my job and I was going through a nasty divorce, being verbally torn down as I tried to rebuild out daughters. But now they're vibrant, confident, and difficult... just as little ladies should be.
The other reason I kept them home was that C had potty problems. I didn't think it would be fair to send a girl who was still having frequent accidents to public school. Stigma aside, I needed her home so we could attend a variety of medical appointments and procedures, and so we could work together on the problem. And this is an on-going problem, which we seem to have to find new solutions for all the time. I think she needs more of my time and attention and less of her siblings' distractions.
I didn't follow this path because I thought I could do a better job, or because I thought it was my calling, or anything like that. I chose this life for what I still believe to be good reasons. And, for those same reasons, I think it's time to make a change.
We will certainly still supplement their education at home. And we're already looking at wait-listing them at better schools. I just think it's time to start letting go.