We made it to Summer break!

Monday, May 20, 2024

 Happy Summer! If you're just finding your way to my page, allow me to fill you in a bit. I have five children and homeschooled them for five years. In that time, we moved from Tennessee to Colorado and back again. There were very hard times, but I couldn't imagine the kids being anywhere but with me. There were certainly some failures on my part as I battled a deep depression and found it difficult to stay on task. But that is life...real life...and my children got to see that it's not always perfect. We went on epic adventures, joined hiking and reading homeschool groups, took music lessons in the middle of the day, and attended classes with adults where my kids learned that their opinions and ideas had value and they could talk to anyone. I do not regret a day I had with them not in a traditional school. There were other consequences too, though.

When we came home, I felt completely overwhelmed and drained and uninspired and I knew I needed help with the kids. I began thinking about school for them and decided the local public school I spent two years at was the best place for them. I knew much of the staff- my brother works there, my aunt, one of my mom's best friends. I walked forward in faith that they would help make the transition easier for each of them. I struggled with my own ideas of school because I had spent the last five to six years attending homeschooling conferences, listening to podcasts, and reading books that developed in me the idea that our kids are whole persons who we GET to learn about and discover. I didn't want for them a mainstream education and I didn't care if they looked or acted like their peers. I continue to try and instill in them that it's okay to not go along with the crowd. I don't like to rock the boat either, but I think I've shown them that I will go against the grain when I am passionate about something. I hope they will, too. Anyway, August rolled around and they started school for the first time- prek 3, 1st, 4th,5th, and 6th grades!

I quickly realized I had to let go of some guilt I felt for them having to adjust to the social aspects of school and some of the academics that were new to them. To put it into perspective, I had one kid who thought it was so crazy he had to write his full name on the work he was doing. I had another who started always asking if she could go to the bathroom at home since she was having to ask at school. I had another who had a spelling test on the first week of school. She had never spelled a day in her life and had no clue what a test was. She said simply and confidently that she didn't do spelling tests. I can giggle at it now, but at the time I felt very overwhelmed by all these small issues that felt big to me and enormous to them. I began to tell them every morning at drop off-

"I do not care about your grades. I care about your effort. I want you to be kind to yourself and others. That's all that matters."

They've grown so much in the last school year. I kept telling them that if they could just make it to Christmas we would reassess. Then when they made it, I encouraged them to push to summer. Most of them took to school well and wanted to go. Here we are now- summer break. We made it! I'm very proud of who they are becoming and I look forward to taking over again for the summer at least. I don't know what the future holds, but we are celebrating the growth we've seen in us all.

Here's a last day photo for you!