From the very moment I saw those two pink lines, I knew I had a huge responsibility ahead of me. There are SO many decisions to be made when having children.
I am a planner. To the core. I choose what dish I’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving in October. Knowing what to expect ahead of time makes my life easier, so when it came time to choose what education path I’d set my children on, I knew I had a hard choice to make.
I had an awful experience in school. Not only was I bullied, but I also had a hard time focusing in the traditional public school setting. When deciding whether to send my daughter to public school or find a homeschool option, I went back and forth for awhile.
Is this for her, or is it for me? Will this benefit her education, or am I seeking peace of mind? Am I making the right choice? I debated from the moment I gave birth up until she turned four, and it was time to make a decision.
Reluctantly, I decided. I enrolled her in public school. Through the tears, against my gut feeling, with my heart racing and feeling unsure, I enrolled my baby girl in public school. For the next few weeks I came to terms with the possibilities this meant for her, the fears I had were set aside, and I prepared for a life of public school.
And then a pandemic hit.
By this time, I was pregnant with my third child and questioning my options all over again. We decided as a family that public school wasn’t our best option. Sending our four-year-old out into the world with an unpredictable illness just didn’t sit right with me. What if she got sick? What if she brings this home to the newborn? How would we function between our home and the hospital if we all got sick? How would we manage? It was so much to consider at that time for so many families.
Ultimately, we chose to do online homeschool. My daughter had her first year of schooling at home, and it was the best series of events I could have asked for. I gained so much time that would have been given to public school had she gone. She was able to bond more with her younger siblings. We let go of the stress of Covid reaching our home, the stress of buying the best school clothes, hunting down the supply list, impressing anyone in the pick-up line with my ability to fully dress my three children before 7:00AM. The stress was gone and the fun began.
Because we homeschool, we’re able to do more life together. I’m able to teach my children the things I wish I had been taught in school. We get time off when we need it, field trips are a weekly occurrence, and most importantly, my child was soaring academically. When it came time to choose whether my second-born went to public school or did homeschooling as well, I confidently chose homeschool.
Don’t get me wrong, we have bad days.
I am not always smarter than a first grader. The difficulty of figuring out how to teach young children at a level they understand is highly under-estimated. Teachers do NOT get enough credit. We’ve learned together how to do this, and thankfully are able to have productive school hours now and A LOT of play time.
At the end of the day, I am so glad my children are home with me. I know I won’t be able to keep up this momentum with all four of my children. Eventually I’ll send them off to public school, but I have learned so much by homeschooling. As a family, we’ve grown so much closer than I think public school would have allowed.
Following your gut is the bravest thing you can do as a parent – wherever that takes you. It’s easier to follow the norm in your community when raising your children. If you’re questioning what to do next, I encourage you to be brave and to choose what feels right for your family.
As long as your children and loved and happy, you’re doing this parenting thing right!