Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Chicklet Comes Home

Chicklet7 decided that she was not going back to school after Christmas break.

Actually, it began before Thanksgiving break when she missed several days of school and didn’t want to go back. Then over Thanksgiving, she asked if she could be homeschooled again, and I said I would think about it, but she certainly would attend school at least until Christmas. (She didn’t want to miss the Christmas party, did she?)

Since then, I’ve been entertaining the idea of homeschooling her again at some point, but she seemed happy enough during December. I had a nice parent-teacher conference, too, which reassured me that she has a good teacher, a Christian, who has a low-pressure philosophy of education for first-graders. It seemed like confirmation to leave things alone.

On the last day of school before the break, she came home all excited about the party they had at school, the present she made for me (a picture frame with her school picture in it), her treat bag, and the gingerbread house she made as a craft. Then she pulled library books out of her backpack and her face fell. “Oh no!” she exclaimed. “I shouldn’t have brought these home!” I assured her it was fine for her to have them over break—the library and the school would be closed, and she could return them when she went back. “But I’m not going back, remember?” she insisted.

Oh. I didn’t know she was counting on it!

So. I have been praying in earnest about this. It’s not so much a question of giving in to her wishes or not. It’s more about my own sense of calling and purpose.

Honestly, I’ve been floundering a bit on this. So much has changed, since we moved—it feels like I’ve just been managing one transition after another. New home, new neighborhood, new church, new friends, new schools, new homeschool group, more new schools, more new friends, new theater group, new job—no wonder I feel unstable and ungrounded.

When I prayed about sending Chicklet to school, it seemed like the right decision. I didn’t know how busy I would be with my part-time theater job, and I was feeling tired of homeschooling. It seemed time for a change. If Bantam10 had wanted to go to school, I might have sent him too.

But with the break and a little perspective, as I now consider bringing Chicklet back home, it makes me cautiously excited.

I see a number of advantages to homeschooling her. The biggest thing is that we would get back to a daily read-aloud time, which I completely dropped this fall. I miss it, the coziness and the fun of enjoying good books together, and I am a firm believer in its educational benefits, so it would be great to give that gift to my younger three as I did to my three oldest. We always did Bible reading and prayer as part of that time too, and that instruction and modeling is something Chicklet needs too.

Another nice lifestyle piece would be not having to get Chicklet up and off on the bus at a certain time. I could actually get a few things done or written in the quiet mornings before I woke the kids up, and on the mornings I have to drive the carpool, I could stop at the grocery on the way home, instead of having to get straight back to get Chicklet off.

Also, having her at home would be motivating to me, to actually plan homeschool activites, field trips and unit studies. For Bantam10, who has a math textbook, a grammar workbook, and reading lists for history, geography, science and pleasure, I haven’t been too creatively inspired—or needed to be. But he would benefit if I were.

So I guess I am going to do it—but I am a little afraid of the commitment! I am still basically tired, and the emails, phone calls and meetings related to my part-time job require a good bit of mental space.

But then there is my little girl begging me please to homeschool her again. I asked her why, when she enjoyed school so much? She agreed that she likes music, art, gym, recess, friends—all the extras. She’s glad she went. But it’s a long day and she gets tired (we’ve noticed that she’s crabbier, in general.) She feels like she misses out, sometimes, when Bantams 10 & 4 do things and she’s at school. And the bottom line: She doesn’t like to be gone all day. She just misses being home.

And I’m glad to hear it. Her older sister is the opposite, a total extrovert who hates quiet days at home as much as I love them. When she went to first grade for part of the year—January to May, a longer time—she couldn’t wait to go back! (Although she didn’t, as it turned out.)

So Chicklet is a homebody, deep down. I think I’m willing to cater to that. Maybe she’ll be a bookworm, too! It would be nice to have another one in the bunch, besides Bantam18. Hmmm, I wonder if she can learn to make muffins….


Anonymous said...

How exciting, Jeanne! I know it will be a wonderful adventure for you both :)



Jessica said...

You know, I know you're writing this to talk through the issue, but all I can think as I read it that Chicklet7 just sounds like a very sweet-hearted little girl!

Anne Kennedy said...

This was ultimately the thing that did it for me--E coming home exhausted from a full day in kindergarten and finding a note that she had been crying in math class and then hearing her beg not to have to go back. I thought, 'how ridiculous that my five year old is crying about math!'. She missed her teacher very much last year, but this year, after we were out and about nearly a whole day around Christmas time, complained that we hadn't been at home all day. It all comes down to the fact that I would miss her if she went to school, and she would miss me. Its just not worth it right now.