Saved by the bell

Monday, July 24, 2023

 Five years. That's how long we've been at this homeschool lifestyle. I remember back in 2018 how wrought with stress and fear I was when I was trying to make the decision to go against the grain and try something new. I've felt the same sort of feelings this year, too as I tried to make decisions about the five students under my roof. Both times I've felt relief when I finally decided- enormous relief. With that being said, I've decided to retire.

The kids are entering the public school system this year and we are quite excited.

Looking back on the last five years, I'm flooded with so many good memories-

- Studying scripture, art, classical music, and literature gathered around our fireplace

- Hiking around America seeing scenes and talking to locals that many people save up their whole lives to be able to visit

-Teaching my kids to read and think and discuss

-Watching as they took ideas and bounced them around in their own heads, molding them and making them their own

There have been so many benefits that we've enjoyed over the years. I wouldn't change a single thing about my decision to learn alongside my kids at home. It was a great blessing.

But it wasn't without its challenges. Moving across the country, leaving our support system, and adopting rocked me to my core and I found myself struggling to blend schedules, focus on my individual kids, and carry the burdens of life lest they fall down on them. This past year has been a trial- a long, hard war that isn't resolved and I started imaging what it would be like to have more help with their education. I always said I would take it year by year and assess to see if it was still working for us. I decided it's not working right now and that's okay. I don't feel like I've failed. I feel like I've won because if I'm being honest, I value all the time I've poured into them. I haven't done a lot right in my life, but these kids are my world and I've done the very best I could do with them in our home and school. I've built in storages of hours outside together, hours reading aloud, and so much time for snuggling on the couch when someone was under the weather. Being their mother and teacher has been an honor and a privilege. 

It's difficult to not make a role in my life my entire personality or identity. In the past, I've gone all in with being married to the military, being a special needs mom, a homemaker, a homeschool mama, an adoptive mama. I don't fear reinventing myself. I can do hard things. 

And I think the kids are ready.

If you see them in the hallways or classrooms, I hope you'll offer up a smile or some encouragement. I pray for lots of grace for all of us during this transition. They don't often have to ask to go to the bathroom or wait for designated eating hours. They've done math problems upside down or swinging from the trees for years and have little experience sitting for long periods of time at a desk. They are thick as thieves together and it will be strange for them not to have their siblings beside them. They aren't used to performance based learning as our studies have mostly been learning by doing or reading and discussing in depth. It's my prayer that each of them will rise to the occasion and demonstrate hard work and kindness during this period of adjustment. As one of my favorite homeschooling mamas wrote, "Our children are not personal projects to prove our competence to outsiders" and I'm going to gently remind myself of that each day. These children are whole persons already and I'm just here to discover who they are becoming and guide them as I can. They are their own people though- independent, wild and free. I hope they have a foundation that reminds them of their great worth and what is really important in life.

I hear the bell ringing and it's time to go back to school. Saved by the bell!

We appreciate your prayers.

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