home school anniversary

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  We will also celebrate one year of home school.  Last year Elie came home at Thanksgiving break and just stayed. This fall when the boys left for public school, Faith started her journey at home with us too. For this season of life I spend every day with these three beautiful girls. The four of us learning together... not just about academics but about who we are individually and who we are together.

I did not have any intention of homeschooling. Ever. I liked my kids going to public school.  There are many great things about being a part of a school.  We loved being connected to our community through our children's school and seeing them grow in knowledge and character through the relationships and challenges offered to them.  And up until a year ago, it was working for us.  I guess, honestly, the wheels started falling off earlier but I refused to acknowledge it.  I am not a trained educator. I enjoyed being mom without the responsibility of also being teacher. I enjoyed the individual time provided with the younger children while the older ones were away. And I was a little fearful to take on this huge commitment.

But last November, I decided to take the plunge.  I would love to say..."and never looked back", but that would be a lie.  Because I do look back and wonder about choices made. When they were in school there was always this lingering thought, "maybe I should home school them."  And now that they are home it is the same worry just in reverse..."maybe I should put them back into school."  Motherhood is like that though. Every decision we make for our children effects who they are and their life story.  We are an integral part of every chapter. When we understand that reality our choices for them can seem monumental.

People always ask me how long I will home school each of the big girls, will I home school London, and will I bring the boys home.  All I know is the chapter I am currently in and for this chapter, in my core, I believe we are on the right path.  Every child is right where they should be. Spending all this time with the girls allows me to truly know their strengths and weaknesses. When we are having a good day then we can press on in our studies and when they just having a day filled with struggles then we can change our plans. We can learn together and I can adapt the lessons in ways that challenge each of them to their unique giftings. We can spend a longer time on things of interest to them or things that need more study.  I love having the flexibility to work on a concept until it is mastered, instead of having to shove them forward just to keep up with their peers.

The other question I am often asked is, "what is your schedule?".  Once a week the girls attend a co-op with other home schooled children.  The rest of the the week does not have a set schedule.  I know that would drive some people crazy, but it works well for us.  Some days we get so many things accomplished and then there are days when they are not in any mood to learn or I am struggling myself and so we don't do school at all.  I am learning to give grace not just to them, but to myself. This has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Home schooling two children with learning challenges while managing an intense three year old can make your feel like you are going crazy.  Trying to still care for the responsibilities of the house, my business, my marriage and my other children can get exhausting. I have learned that I am not a homebody and definitely an extrovert that starts to die inside if I go for too long without interaction with friends. There are many days where I feel like a complete failure and the weight of the responsibility of their education seems too much. But the truth is they are learning and growing and happy and we are seeing huge progress and healing....in all of us. So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for the opportunity to home school. Even though it is not easy, I believe with all my  heart when I am old I will look back on these years as some of the best of my life.

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