I have decided, for various reasons to homeschool Priscilla (9) next year. Last year we decided to send Caleb (10) to a Christian Classical School (Clapham School). Up until that time they had always been in the public school which offered a Dual Language program, enabling them to become mostly fluent in Spanish.
I realize that doing school differently year by year strikes some as odd and a bit non-committal. For us, we figure we will evaluate the needs of each child and the benefits offered by each method and the pros and cons and adjust accordingly. It doesn't seem to me to be such a bad idea. Kids change, character issues arise and certain educational choices may not fit as they once had.
I guess sometimes I sense (for probably no apparent reason) that people look on me as an oddity - choosing different methods for my kids - now even venturing into homeschooling which some would label as an extreme measure!
In this case, I had not seriously considered homeschooling Priscilla. She is popular, happy, easy-going and generally well-suited to any classroom environment. But she initiated the idea - requesting it more than once. Now, I know - kids will ask for candy constantly but we do not give it merely because they ask. But in this case I had to pause to consider. At the heart of her request (after some querying and investigation) was her desire to spend time with me, and for me to share more of my life with her and for her to learn and study within our home - by my side. She even said, 'Mommy, we could have breakfast together and then read our Bibles together before we start school each day!' I couldn't have scripted that for her! When she said that I realized I may be wasting a precious opportunity for deepened fellowship and bonding with her. Yes, fellowship and bonding can take a great many other forms than homeschooling, but I felt this was as close to a calling as I was going to get. That and that my heart was actually open to the idea.
As far as bonding goes - it's a long story - but suffice it to say that I did not bond much with my first two kids when they were babies (-I made up for it in later years :) -) because I was simply overwhelmed at mommyhood at the time.
Now, it could be a total flop. I could fail in this endeavour to educate her at home. I could attempt it only to discover it was a bad decision. But since she is bright and intelligent I figure we wouldn't have lost much that a little time and effort couldn't remedy. And I feel I will never regret the time I invest in her little life, shaping her little heart and growing in joyful discovery of God's world together.
I can sense all the criticism there may be - like: the public school will miss you and your wonderful child! You lose an opportunity to shine brightly there! Or, 'You know what you're signing up for - homeschooling is a lot of work!' Or, 'Don't you think you have enough on your plate with 5 kids - and you're going to start homeschooling...now?!'
Oh well. There is truth to all of that. But God will give me grace as I start this journey - and maybe He will show me it was a nice idea for one year and we'll reconsider.
Either way, each step must be taken by faith, and that is what I am attempting to do.