Our news in a nutshell is that.....Dan and I have decided to homeschool our kids beginning this year! I'll wait a few seconds and let that sink in.....
This decision was not made hastily, or lightly. There was much discussion, both lighthearted and serious and I'm a little embarrassed to admit, there were also some tears shed. Basically, what it all came down to was this..."sending our kids to a Catholic School is a luxury, however, giving our kids a Catholic Education is free". God has given Dan and I the mandate to be the first educators of our children. To me, that means that we are responsible for instilling in them the foundations of our Faith and motivating and encouraging them to live that out. As far as I'm concerned, this is our job no matter where they physically go to school. Honestly, it all came down to expense. The tuition is just more than we can handle, especially when you consider everything that isn't included in the tuition payment...uniforms, school supplies, field trips, lunch program, sports, pictures.....and we had all of this times three!
I must tell you that in spite of the financial aspect, we LOVE our parish school! We really do feel part of great big family. In fact, when discussing this situation with the principal, she graciously offered us a discount for the year...one that we initially agreed upon. However, we realized that even with the discount, we just wouldn't be able to do it. Dan's parents have also helped us in the past, but the cost does not go down every year...it only goes up. We can either afford this, or we can't.
We considered public school, but this just wasn't a good option for us. The two elementary schools that our district says we could choose from...are not very good. As a matter of fact, one of them has been graded as an "F" school. There is another public school in our area that we could qualify for, however, there is already a waiting list to get in.
Over the last ten years, we have been introduced to several homeschooling families. As a matter of fact, some of them we know quite well and we spend a lot of time with them. Dan's brother and his family have homeschooled for many years. We have many positive examples of the homeschooling lifestyle around us. All of these families homeschool for different reasons, but NONE of them express any regret with their decision.
Personally, the desire to homeschool has been in my heart for seven or eight years! Dan has been more resistant to the idea...I think for several reasons. Since both of us work part time, this homeschooling adventure will have to be managed differently than most....we will have to be a "tag team" family. That means that both Dan and I will be homeschooling them. Dan tends to have a short fuse when dealing with the kids and I know he's worried that he will spend his time grumping at them. We've come up with a tentative plan where I will take care of the core subjects and he will take care of the "outside" time.....library days, nature walks, field trips and such.
I don't expect this to be a perfect situation. As a matter of fact, I expect to have some frustrations and some "why didn't we just send them to school" moments. But I'm committed to giving 100% of myself to try and make this work. My children mean the world to me. I've been given the gift of new eyes to see my life. This time with them is priceless. I intend to spend as much time with them as possible. The flow and routine of it all will come...with time and patience. We will have good days and bad days. We will laugh and cry. We will discover things as a family and create memories for our children that will last a lifetime!
I'm excited and scared about this adventure. We purchased our curriculum last week (Catholic Heritage Curricula) and according to UPS tracking....it's somewhere in Ohio right now. Our boxes should arrive on our doorstep on the 30th! The kids are excited too!
I have much on my plate at the moment! I've got to make sure all of my paperwork with the school district is in order, I need to rearrange some things around the house to make room for school books and such. We don't have an extra room so we will be a "kitchen table" family for now. Dan has plans to transform or back garage into a school room....but that is for much later.
I'll also be attending a Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Homeschooling Conference next month in Tampa! I'm really looking forward to this!
I want ask any and all veteran homeschoolers out there...."If you could do your first year of homeschooling over again...what would you do differently"??