Remember that post where I said, "God called me into homeschooling but I realize that He can also call me out"? Well, I am settling into the fact that it may very well be the case for us. We're moving and buying a home - one that will hopefully be our home for a very long time. My job offer fell through and I'm still plodding along for Skip at AMTC, writing for chicken feed. Thankfully, we can make it work on the income we have coming in. Yet, I feel there are a lot of valid reasons to change course educationally. We may enroll our kids in public school for next year. Here are my reasons:
1. We are called to be a "light to the world" and our homeschool bubble doesn't afford opportunities to show our faith to non-Christians. Is this really relevant? Do you really have opportunity to do this in public school? Why, yes! I have friends who might have turned out very differently if not for the bonds they made with strong Christian friends they met in school. I have put a lot of emphasis on protecting my kids from the dangers of the world and I'm sure I will still do so. However, I believe that only through adversity do we become refined and strengthened. And more importantly, I need to realize that my kids have the ability to impact the world around them. For me, it's a question of trust. If we were missionaries in a foreign land, would I want my children to be isolated from everyone or would I want them out there struggling for Christ? In this area, school is the more difficult path and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Our schools are in crisis right now and we have had the attitude so far that we should run from danger. Well, maybe it's time we entered the fight. By being in a public school, we can become a real part of the school community and affect change.
2. My kids are smart. They're not going to get lost in a classroom and they're not going to feel behind or odd at this point. Some of the same reasons I had for homeschooling are now reasons I believe I should stop. If they go to school now, with the foundation we've established for them, they will likely do very well. I think that both of them may benefit from another teacher. I'm at the point where Abby is getting a little lazy and I'm not type A enough myself to rid her of procrastination or sloth. I think starting school right now would make her realize how smart she is and give her a sense of pride and renew her thirst for knowledge. This is something I can see because I also went through this. My last year of homeschooling was ridiculously lazy and pointless but when I re-entered public school, I realized I had a lot to work with and it lit a fire in my belly to do well.
3. I can still participate in their education as much as I do now. I can still take time with them to make sure that their reading skills continue to grow and that they receive great math instruction. I can be a classroom volunteer and I can oversee every homework assignment and keep communication open with teachers so that my kids stay on track. I may have more opportunity to work on life issues with them and open the doors to conversation about the world around us. I'm not afraid of this, although I know a lot of parents that are.
4. I will have more time. I'm not trying to sound selfish about this one, but I really could use more time. My mom is nearly 80. We lost my dad last year and her health has been waning. She needs more from me now and I'm going to be a block away. Having their education provided for while I take care of my mom's increasing needs and run our household and work.... well that would be nice. And who knows, maybe I'll even find time to write the book I started last fall?
5. I may still need to work more. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? God gave me a half a brain and I can pitch in and help my family if I need to - if that's what He wants - and I'm OK with it. I feel as if we're being prepared for something but I can't quite name what that something is. It may be another job.
6. Baxter is ready for them to go to school. I won't lie and say that he's been really crazy about homeschooling. He has supported me completely. He has never argued against my desire to homeschool. He has always made the children feel happy and proud of their achievements and has loved homeschooling in many ways. However, when the question gets raised and he knows it's his turn to voice his opinions, he wants them to start school now. He's ready for it and he thinks the kids are ready now too. We've had many discussions about the pros and cons and at the end of these discussions, school is winning the fight right now. I am my husband's wife and I want what he wants. Knowing now that a decision to homeschool again would be completely flying in the face of his wants feels completely rebellious, subversive and wrong.
7. They want to go to school. They're curious and they have a very "Franklin" viewpoint pushing the school agenda at them, but they're ready to be a part of a school. It would be a very exciting experience for them.
8. Memories of school. I made some of my best friends in elementary school. My first triumphs and my first disappointments occurred in those early grades. What kind of a person would I be without those events and people in my life? In adversity I became who I am. In friendship I felt appreciated for who I was. School isn't all bad.
9. We can always change our minds. We can always put them in school, try it out for a period, and pull them out if it's a disaster. Knowing that makes it seem almost silly that I'm contemplating it this much.
I started this list, thinking it would have 10 reasons but I only have 9. For some weird, David Letterman-related reason, that really bothers me. Well, if you have another reason either for or against, share it with me! I'll post our official decision in time.