Thursday, February 5, 2009

School Days

Well, I did it. Yesterday I took the plunge and registered my oldest for kindergarten. Ohmygosh, how did we get here so fast? I try hard not to be one of those weepy moms who gets overly emotional at silly stuff, but this made me a little emotional. It does go by fast doesn't it?

I thought I'd write a little post about the options for schooling and get some feedback from the rest of you. I have really gone back and forth on this schooling thing the last couple of months. We registered Sloan for public school, which had been the plan all along, but I started to have some reservations about two months ago and it took quite a bit of praying and soul searching (on my part - Lee has been cool with this option from day one) to get me to that school yesterday.

I'll be honest, private school has not really been on the table. While I'm not against private school I do have some reservations that have held me back from pursuing it as an option (my husband shares the same reservations). I know there are some good private schools in our area, but I just don't feel like that is for us, at least not right now. We are very blessed to be in a good school district and the elementary school our kids will go to is smaller and is a great school. So, between private and public, public won out.

Until about a year ago, I always said that I would never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, homeschool my children. I, like so many people, had misconceptions that those who choose homeschooling are granola lovers with 15 kids who all wear homemade clothes and sing old hymns accapella at night under the stars. But then, out of the blue, I got a little stirring. Maybe it wasn't so bad. Maybe I should give it a try. Suddenly, I found that I really liked the idea of homeschooling. And who cares if I can't sew a button onto a shirt? I could make it work! Oh, and guess what - homeschoolers are normal! I now realize that my misconceptions were way off and that most people who choose to homeschool are just like the rest of us - they're just trying to do what they feel is best for their children.

I have to say, I like the freedom that homeschooling presents us as a family. I like the control it gives me over my kids education and I like the fact that it presents so many other options for the kids. There are amazing homschool co-ops in the St. Louis area. I had no idea how organized homeschoolers are. Which is probably a red flag given that I'm not known for my organizational capabilities.

But, after much prayer, I realized my motives were not right - at least not all of them. Part of me wanted to homeschool because I wanted to be able to say I did it. Of the three schooling options, homeschooling is definately the most challenging and I wanted to take on the challenge. Not a very fair reason to keep my kids at home. Also, I was so taken by several women who I know, either personally or through the cyber world, who homeschool and do such neat things with their kids that I wanted to be a part of that group. You can check them out here, here, here and here. Again, though, it's not a great reason to choose to keep my kids home. Mostly, I think I just wanted to keep control of our family schedule. I am not looking forward to the craziness of trying to get everyone where they need to be next year. I have had minor panic attacks wondering how on earth I'm going to get Tia picked up and get home in time to meet Sloan's bus. It may not be as bad as I'm thinking, but right now it seems daunting. Homeschooling just seems easier in that regard.

I finally decided that, for now, our best option is to stick with the public school, which I'm totally comfortable with. When I signed Sloan up yesterday, I walked through the halls and got a little misty-eyed thinking about my elementary school years and what lies ahead of him. Sloan is such a magnetic kid - so people oriented and motivated by a crowd. He's going to do great in school. I'm excited for him and he's beyond elated that he's going to big kid school next year. The fact that he gets to ride the school bus makes him jump around like an electric chihuahua. He'll be fine...and so will I.

I did, however, pass on the Adventure Club and full day options. I want to keep him home as long as I possibly can. He's got the rest of his life to go to school. He can stay close to his mama for one more year.

So, this soul searching process has been good in one regard; it's let me know that I am open to anything and that, I think, is a good place to be. If I have a child that would benefit from homeschooling, I'm all over it. If we have one that would thrive in private school, we'll do that. But for now, I think we are going to be a public school family. What about you guys? How did you decide what school to send your kids to?


Jan said...

As I think you know, we homeschool. We have from the start and it has been the right thing for our family in every regard. Hard work --- you bet. Great rewards --- you bet. But just like b'feeding and a plethora of other parenting choices, what was right for our family wouldn't be right for everyone.

Our primary reason was academic. Both girls were reading chapter books before they were even old enough to go to kindergarten. Keeping them challenged at the level where *they* were was our goal throughout.

If you follow what the Lord has spoken to you as His will for your family then what anyone else does or thinks is irrelevant. :)

Two Lines On a Stick said...

We are most likely going to be a public school family. Honestly, I don't have the patience to homeschool.

We also bought a house in the school district that we live in, specifically because of the schools. After paying all those taxes I feel like we can't pay thousands and thousands more for private school... especially if I am going to keep staying home. So it's partly a budget thing.

Partly also that my husband works at a private school and we see the really bad stuff, too. i know there are lots of good private schools but they aren't perfect, either.

Stuarts said...

Jan - thanks for the encouragement. There is a lot of pressure out there to make the perfect decision. But, you're right - if we are following the convictions God has placed on our hearts, then we're headed in the right direction. I know this, but sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the storm.

Melissa (aka Kitty) said...

Well you know we're in the city, so we're all over private. Wouldn't even consider sending Ryder to St. Louis city schools.

Bugs and Sunshine said...

There is a verse I LOVE in Heb 12 and it says our parents raised us the way they thought best. That verse has freed me up so much as I've become a mom, because every family looks so different.

We are entering into the school age era and it is a big debate in my heart on what to do! Our options are homeschool or public.

My heart is leaning toward homeschooling next year to try it. Jan's comment was very encouraging to me because even today i had some doubt over our decision when my oldest son's speech teacher told us how exceptional he is doing with some motor skills. I thought, well shoot, maybe I won't be able to teach him the things he needs.

Yeah, but I'm rebuking that doubt, (oh I just can't stand it when Satan comes in and tries to make us doubt what God has placed in our hearts, anyway, that's another post...) We may end up in public school, who knows. Meanwhile, I'm very proud of you for going to orientation. That is a huge, huge step. Wow. How old is Sloan? I'm thinkin' 6?

Stuarts said...

Sloan is 5.5. He'll be six in July just in time to start kindergarten. I love your comment about rebuking doubt because we have to do that so often don't we? Satan puts these seeds of doubt in our hearts and minds and suddenly what we were so sure about seems so wrong. I really think God places the right thing on our hearts, but sometimes it isn't totally obvious. Sometimes it's just a step of faith.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly! Rarely do I comment, but I always read your fun blog. We homeschool. Initially, it was what Ethan wanted and so I was just going with it. But not long after starting it, my heart was fully in it. I love everything about it. My kids are close friends and I think that is due to the fact that they are with each other all the time. They are not separated into age groups where they are off making their own friends. Our family is friends with other families and big kids play with little kids and haven't been taught to age segregate. Also, I can talk to my kids morning, noon, and night about things of the Lord. I can always be training their hearts. I am less and less inclined to turn anything over to the state, especially my kids education. Oh, and sleeping in is pretty good too!!!

Erika said...

I just registered Will for kindergarten today. It made me sad too! We also bought our house because of the school district, and feel that if we did not live in a good district, then our kids would go to private school. I always say that there are reasons that I did not go to school to be a teacher! I commend anyone who homeschools, but it's just not for us!

KC Silverman said...

So proud of you for doing honest soul searching on this topic. This is one where it's easy to get sucked into wanting to pick a certain option so your family might end up like the "amazing" family you know. Truth is, that "amazing" family is probably amazing because they, like you, did some honest soul searching to find out what was the best fit for each child, and for the family as a whole. Families are "amazing" when they are freed up to be wholly who God made them to be.

You may remember that I never thought I'd homeschool. Our decision had roots in some of the traditional reasons, but what put it over the top for me was simply our family situation for the year. We moved away from everyone and everything Allison had known her whole life about a month before she was starting Kindergarten. We were living in a temporary situation (in one school district) while looking for a house (in other school districts) We didn't want her first school experience to be: 1 month of Kindergarten, move AGAIN, and change to another school. She's a hearty and outgoing kid, she COULD have handled it, but we decided she didn't have to "handle it".

I am praying about options for next wishing she will get accepted into a public "magnet" school program, but it's highly unlikely. We may continue another year or so...or I may need to return to full time work next year.

The Hunters said...

it is so crazy that you just posted on homeschooling, because I've found myself thinking ALOT about it lately. As a former teacher, I NEVER thought I would homeschool, but am leaning more and more towards it every day. I still have some time to make a decision, but I love having that time with my kids and nurturing their little hearts while they are so young and tender. Hope to stay updated with your decision!

Angie Nabe said...

Hey! This is so crazy that I decided to read this today. This is Angie Nabe, formally Matthews as in Phil Matthews. I am currently a kindergarten teacher in Rockwood. I think you are sending him there. What school are you sending him to? I teach half day k and I love it! If you have any questions about curriculum or the teachers at his future school just ask! My e-mail is Your family sounds awesome! Good to hear all about your famliy!