Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hanging in There

Thank you, everyone, who's been doing just that, waiting on me to come back from my too-busy-to-blog break!

I should do a birthday post today for Miss Chicklet7, whose birthday was on Sunday. But her pictures are on the home computer and I have too much other news anyway. (Next time!)

I feel like the last six weeks has been one big educational switch-a-roo after another, and the last week surprisingly, held one more. One-and-a-half weeks into our new schedule of taking Pre-Algebra and Art at the private school, doing homeschool for the rest, Bantam14 and I had to evaluate whether this arrangement was really going to work. The bottom line was that he really did not want to be homeschooled; he wanted to go to the private school full-time. We thought the workload would be too difficult for him, and we thought our original plans for his 8th grade homeschool year would be the best preparation for high school for him. But he was being passively resistant to my homeschooling efforts, so we weren't accomplishing much without a big struggle--and on the other hand, we felt like it was the wrong message to tell him that we are afraid that the private school will be too overwhelming for him. In fact, the more we prayed about it, we felt that perhaps if this is the challenge he wants, he'll probably rise to it, and we should give it to him.

So he started on Tuesday, and he's enjoying it. He's had a lot of homework to catch up on, and I've had a lot of catching up to do as well--with my own feelings!

I am feeling a lot of sadness that it seems like our tight-knit little family homeschool days are over. My three teens are all in that pulling-away stage, and I can't expect them to have time or interest in listening to me read aloud anymore, or sitting around companionably doing workbooks.

I am feeling...a little bit like a failure? I've always thought that I was capable of guiding my kids' education all the way through high school. There are so many great possibilities, with dual enrollment, for homeschooled high schooolers to start college with college credits already under their belts. I believe in home education! But my teens have not been very academically motivated without the classroom element, and I don't know if this is a failure on my part, or if it's just their temperaments and our particular situation. For example, if we had stayed in our old home in Illinois, there were a lot more classroom opportunities for high schoolers in our old homeschool group, plus they'd have had their friends in our old fully-developed theater group to fill those social needs.

So, it's just a change that took me by surprise. Part of me wishes I had known earlier; I might not have entered Chicklet7 in public school for first grade. But she's loving it, and I'm basically comfortable with that decision, for this one year at least, and things have been so crazily busy that another part of me is hugely relieved that I only have one at home to neglect teach. Fortunately, Bantam10 is my best example of an unschooling type who reads widely and randomly, and works on projects of his own making. He's currently authoring a book about a superhero called the Shadow--each chapter ends with a cliffhanger. And he's a great companion to Bantam4.

In other news, my parents visited for Labor Day weekend and we had a relaxing visit with them...and the day after they left, our baby theater group had its first night of classes! We had 64 enrolled. The parents stayed for an informational meeting, and we held an audition workshop afterwards, to give everybody a confidence boost for the upcoming auditions for Seussical. The Lord did provide a dance teacher, with a week to spare--praise God!--and there was a palpable buzz of excitement in the air at classes, coming from kids and parents alike, so that was encouraging! We are still praying for a few more enrollments before auditions, which are Sept. 18.

If you are so moved, that is a prayer request, and the other is for me personally. We have stumbled into this school year, with so many changes and different start times, plus my official job with the theater group beginning, and I just need to find my footing as far as a schedule goes. I have been living from must-do to must-do since summer began, and now with only one to teach during the day, plus a job to think about, and more kids with homework at night, my fall schedule feels so topsy-turvy from what I'm used to! That's one reason I haven't been blogging--besides being so busy, my rhythms are all off.

Things at church are picking up for the fall as well, with a lot of visitors the last two Sundays. We are resuming the Sunday School hour again, after a summer hiatus. We have a Fall Kickoff meeting that the whole church is invited to this Saturday, and next week, we are ordaining two men to the transitional diaconate (which means they'll be deacons, on their way to being ordained as priests). One of them is a young man that we are so excited about, who has been serving at Light of Christ since he graduated from seminary, along with his wife, who is the daughter of dear friends of ours. The other is one of our oldest and dearest friends, and we are thrilled to be ordaining him through Light of Christ. He has such a pastoral heart and has encouraged so many others on the path to ordination--including Father Rooster--and it is exciting to see him finally joining them.

Well, back to life...back to work...back to the laundry...upward and onward!!


Anonymous said...

How could you possible be a faliure? Your commitment is not to the idealogical concept of homeschooling, its to discipling your kids into who they are called to be - and if public/private school is a tool to do that, so be it. Maybe next year you'll use different tools...your commitment is to the job, not to the tools. What you're doing sounds like very mature parenting to me!

Jen in Seatle

Heather said...

I think what you're doing with schooling is great. You are being adaptive to each child's needs, rather than deciding what will be done and pushing ahead regardless.

Anonymous said...

praying for you...thanks for your transparency, honesty and wisdom.

Sarah--for all the Hoskins

Donna said...

I agree with what the other commenters have said - education is about what is right to teach that child at THAT TIME, not that any one way is right for all children. Your flexibility and willingness to do what each child needs is what I would wish for all children. It is not easy, but it's worth it to best educate our children!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks everyone, for your prayers and your encouraging and affirming words! What good perspective.

I don't mean that I AM a failure, but my FEELINGS about it are confused. Sort of like, if you thought God was calling you to do something and you were all girded up to do it, and then it ended up that you weren't needed, or someone else was given the job after all. Did you mis-hear? Did it not really matter who accomplished the mission?

Your words remind me that it is the mission that is most important, not who does it--and that my mission as a parent is still clear. In fact, not homeschooling may free me up to focus on other things with my kids, that ONLY I can do.

Still, when I look at my homeschooling shelf of 8th grade's easy to get disoriented again. So thank you once again for your prayers and your words!