As I’m sure I’ve said ad nauseum already, this past year I put my youngest four (of five) children into our local Catholic school after homeschooling them all from the beginning. They entered 8th grade, 5th, 3rd, and Kindergarten. My 10th grader stayed home. As far as schools go, this one had a good reputation and many children in my daughter’s 8th grade class got merit scholarships to the local Catholic high schools.
Even though we are returning to homeschooling (yay!), I don’t regret this year of “school away” because I learned many things about myself and my homeschooling, and so did my children.
- Having kids in school is stressful. Having kids at home is stressful. Having to do both in one year stretched me much more than I thought it would. The amount of paperwork that comes home is gargantuan, the number of details that a mother needs to remember is epic. There were many days we were doing almost as much *homework* as I had done each day in homeschooling work. If I was going to be doing that much work with them anyway, I’d much rather have control of choosing the material and knowledge of what they were learning. It’s much easier than being blindsided.
- There really is a ton (TON!) of wasted time in school. I had always thought that it was exaggerated by homeschoolers until I saw it for myself. Besides wasting time waiting for others to finish something, there’s the busy work, the hours that they are going over something the student already knows, or worse, the days wasted when a child doesn’t understand and can’t keep up.
- I was not cut out to have a thousand uniform pieces to track down every day. But I’m happy to say I was able to get by with only two shirts per kid per uniform type (i.e. summer, gym, regular). Yes I’m proud of that. Even buying that minimum I was floored by how much we had to spend on uniforms.
- Common Core math implementation really does s*ck, LOL. Even my children’s teachers were admitting they didn’t know the answers to problems in the workbooks and would talk to each other after class to try to figure it out. Honestly, this is a HUGE reason I took them back out of school, particularly for my mathy 6 year old.
- It’s harder for the highly sensitive kids, who get overwhelmed more easily by the noise, sights, and smells of school- because if they have to shut down or tune out to “survive,” they are not as open to learning. That energy is being diverted.
- Having one kid at home (the outgoing high schooler) did not allow me the time I needed to just “chill” and “heal” this year – which was 1/2 of my intent of putting them in school. Not blaming her AT ALL, it’s just a fact. Having all of them at home, while it may be more chaotic and noisier, allows them to absorb some of each other’s energy. It was like having an only child again, and you know how intense that can be.
- I get pretty put out by the “group think” of school. For example, my children have several food allergies and couldn’t eat the special pizza lunches the pastor would spring for on a regular basis (for his birthday, jubilee day, etc). Not like I feel like each child should be catered to, my children are not special snowflakes, but I was certainly saddened by the fact that everyone was treated to a special lunch…except MY kids (well, and a few other allergic kids I’m sure.) In a family or small group it’s much easier to help kids feel included. Same for the fund raisers – no one wants to be that kid who’s the only one who didn’t sell anything, causing the class to lose their chance at the ice cream party for full participation (that my kids also couldn’t eat, LOL, and GRRR) Decisions get made by children and staff alike that are to fit in, and not to think for themselves. My kids could see it for what it was and usually didn’t cave. Good for them!
- Most importantly, despite what I *thought* about my ability as a homeschooling mother, constantly lamenting that I must be failing because it was so dang HARD and the kids liked to fight me or disappear when they should be working, I was actually doing a pretty good job. My children were at or above their peers’ levels in all subjects. Well, except Spanish, which we hadn’t taught. I continually bumped into teachers who praised ME for forming them so well, not just as students but especially as people.
*taking embarrassed bow*
Things I’m thankful for regarding their year in school:
Learning all of the above.
That school showed them the benefits of a more scheduled school day (dh has been pushing for this, I am awful at it, and they were revolting prior to last year, lets see if helps any in practice). They got up early, “worked” for hours, and survived. Well. (Me on the other hand…)
School helped my 8th grader blossom in so many ways. It’s actually a very good fit for her which is why she is going to high school out of the home next year. I wouldn’t have known she could do it, and more importantly now SHE knows she can do it and do it well.
Now my kids know what they ARE missing, and what they are NOT missing, when it comes to school.
That my girls all made at least one friend, who they still see on a regular basis.
I don’t regret it in any way, but I’m glad the year is over. Onward and upward!