My oldest daughter was halfway through third grade and my middle daughter was halfway through second grade when I pulled them out to begin our homeschool adventure. Lilly has never been to public school. That translates into 7 school years as a homeschool teacher. I look back on all of our years together so fondly. It has been as much a learning experience for me as it has been for them. I taught Lilly to read and she is an excellent reader. That feels good. I taught everyone their multiplication tables. I've taught sex ed and puberty. I've made all of our vacations a learning experience. I have had the sad epiphany that there is no escaping the mean girl syndrome-in or out of school. I also realize most girls will be on both sides of the mean girl fence before they finds their happy place. I have refereed, played games, taught nature, art and even some P.E. here and there. I have refereed and done Bible studies and devotions. I have refereed and prayed for wisdom, patience and the grit to make it through. I have prayed for future spouses, happy dispositions and non-moody days.
I have no regrets. I have poured my heart and soul into my family. I have had so much fun...but now? Now, I have reached a season where it has become very difficult to go on with schooling in our home. I'm not enjoying my children like I once did. I feel pulled in three different directions and I wonder how I can nurture and sustain three COMPLETELY different personalities, not to mention three different grade levels.
I am praying to make it through each day...usually before the day has even begun. Nothing lofty-just to make it through the day and perhaps even be somewhat loving. Some days the prayer is just to like my kids all day, give them hugs and keep the yelling/non-yelling ratio somewhat balanced. Am I losing all the benefits of homeschool if I am angry, irritable and defeated all the time? Yes, I think so.
I am praying that God will give me a very clear direction and the passion and resolve needed for whichever direction that is.
Erika wants to go to public school next year because she feels like high school is full of things she will regret not having if she continues to homeschool. Lilly feels the same way. Kayla wants to be homeschooled forever. I am okay to let my little birds all fly away from the nest to school OR keep them all in the nest but not at all excited about having a foot in each world.
The thought of no lesson plans makes me smile. No papers to grade=more smiles. However, the thought of no field trips, no projects, no learning games, no pajama days, no table science and an empty clean house nearly puts me into crying hysterics.
I'm not sure what direction we are headed in, but either way, there are changes on the horizon and new things in our future. I am praying that God will not only equip me for the next few years, but that He will give me peace and enthusiasm to make these final years with my baby birds the best years ever. Home school or public school, I want to be the best mom and teacher I can be.
In the mean time, I keep chugging along, determined that I can make it through this year and come to a smooth decision that works for everyone next year. I can do it, I can. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time.