My “big kids” marched off to school again yesterday (Thursday) … well, I drove them there … but I wanted a good opening sentence!
Honestly, it is good to be back. There were a lot of advantages to home schooling last year, and we knew it was the right decision for the time … but in the end, I am a home school paradox: on the one hand, I am/was incredibly uptight about doing everything well and right for my kids last year – from the very conventional choice of curriculum to my grade-keeping and lesson plans – I pretty much went “by the book”. On the other hand, there were the mornings and even the days when I was just too tired, emotional, or overwhelmed with all the issues going on in our lives (my husband’s job, my own work-at-home job, just stress and too much on my mind in general) that I just let home schooling go, and the kids basically schooled themselves. I just never found a comfortable balance … and maybe that is something I should have learned better: home schooling is all about being able to be flexible – in fact, being allowed to be flexible! However, if you know me in real life, you know that Rigid is my middle name. I can’t help it.
I will say we have no regrets. We needed that family time … especially from October to January when Dan was at home, unemployed with a broken leg but able to help the kids with their studies. Then from February to May, it was great to be able to just go to Arkansas to visit Daniel at his new job whenever we wanted/needed to. We weren’t bound to anyone’s permission. We also had a lot of fun activities with other home school friends that were great!!
In the end, we are just used to school … we grew up in Christian school, and we worked in Christian school for far too long to be confident doing anything else.
The kids are glad to be back … and while our new school has a lot of the same rules and philosophies as our old school (at least when my husband was the administrator), there are many things we will have to get used to! For one thing, this school is quite a bit larger – although that is still small compared to public school standards. But this school has bigger variety of classes and a highly educated staff, most of whom attended the University of Arkansas, which is practically around the corner. For example, Drew’s Biology teacher has a PhD … and Drew is scared to death of him (he really is a nice guy though … just über-enthusiastic about Science). I am glad that Annie-Belle gets to have a real PE class each day, which is something our previous school was never able to offer. There are computer classes and other things we just couldn’t offer our children by home school or in our previous school.
I think the kids enjoy the variety of teachers the most, especially after having a school year without any teacher interaction. Although having students to interact with is something they missed as well. So far, so good.
MiMi and I have enjoyed our days together yesterday and today. The time the big kids are gone has actually flown by. We’ve done a little bit of home school ourselves since MiMi wants to “write”! And she’s actually taken naps each day since we have to get up pretty early (for our standards!!) to get the big kids to school in plenty of time for its 8 a.m. start time.
Actually, MiMi has been pretty content to sit on the hill by our house and pick clover.
We’ve also played with side walk chalk and enjoyed playing and reading and watching little girl movies.
Mostly, I’m glad to be back into a routine. We are easing into activities: Drew attends a scout meeting on Tuesday nights, and Annie-Belle audited a theater class at a local performing arts studio on Thursday afternoon this week and liked it, so we will be back weekly.