Monday, June 28, 2010

Our News!

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 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 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'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"??


Ambrose said...

Congratulations on your decision!

Christie Ranee said...

I truly miss homeschooling Austin and he will proudly tell you that he misses it too. We used Seton for quite a few subjects, English was especially good with Seton, Saxon Math, and ABeka science. We also read a lot of books about history and science so he could learn to enjoy it. There are lists of books for every subject and every grade on many websites.
BTW, when I HAD to put him back in public school he tested high enough for all advanced placement classes...AP, as they refer to it. He is also well behaved, seems able to discern right from wrong, and his teachers say he is respectful. So, I am very proud of him and I think those years of homeschooling definitely didn't HURT him in anyway, socially or whatever else people try to use against the idea.
Good luck and God bless!

Therese said...

I am so happy for you! I know you have wanted this for a long time! I can't wait to hear about it as it unfolds, and I definitely will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy,
This is wonderful news. No one can teach your children your values but you.I have never liked public schools. Prayers for you during this time.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Good for you. You won't regret it. I have learned more about my faith in the last seven years homeschooling that I did in the 40 years prior!

However you establish your own school, the times you learn, where you learn -- those will all be your personal choices. Don't compare -- every homeschool is different. Make yours work for you.

I'll have to think back on our first year and get back to you, but I suspect that my biggest mistake was trying to bring school home. Homeschool is not school at home -- it's so much better so don't try to make it that way.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

What a beautiful post!
I'm just so happy for you.
Funny how God can use things like lack of finances to "nudge" us into courageously accepting His Call!
You have SUCH a wonderful perspective on the whole situation Nancy...truly, your realistic and positive outlook will be a great blessing to you, Dan, and the kids in the coming year:)
I love your question at the end of your answer of what I'd do differently if I could re-do my first year is: NOTHING...and the reason for that is that I had some really great friends who'd gone before me, who gave me REALLY great advice...such as: "Expect NOTHING in the first year...just LIVE IT and let it unfold" and also..."Whatever preconceived notions you have of what this is all going to look like...get rid of won' will be whatever it is and that will be fine"...things like that might seem a bit cryptic to some...but once you are living the homeschooling lifestyle, you will see the wisdom in those words.
May God bless you as you and your family answer His call and bring your children home along-side you to learn!

Colleen said...

How exciting! Congratulations! Prayers and hugs!

gramma2many said...

Great decision Nancy. Your children are your most valuable possession. It is your responsibility "to train them up".
My daughter has had her oldest two daughters in private school almost all of their school career. One has graduated and one graduates this coming year. Olivia will be in first grade this coming year and tuition is going to be in excess of $12,000.00 for the school year. They have made the decision to put Olivia in public school for the next year or two. A hard decision, but they just cannot afford tuition and they cannot homeschool her because they both work.
I am hoping for the very best for you and your family in this decision.

Frizzy and Bird said...

WOW! What a huge and wonderful decision! I am proud of you for really looking at your options and choosing what is best for you and for your family. I know it won't be easy BUT I also know who you have at the center of your focus and daily teachings. Blessings to you and your entire family!

Jenn L said...

So happy for y'all! You are my hero ; ) Lol! I know you've wanted this & been praying about it for a long time. We will be going the same route when the time comes, although I cannot conceptualize anything yet, which may not be a bad thing. (Have a tendency to plan everything & then get frustrated when reality doesn't equal what I planned.) To echo what Barbara wrote - I have a friend that was homeschooled in the 80's before it was popular - her mom tried to bring school home but she feels like that was a bit of mis-step because homeschooling is/can be so much more. God bless!

Mary333 said...

That's great news, Nancy! I'm looking forward to reading about your homeschooling adventures. Best of luck!

aspiring... said...

My warmest and most enthused contratulations, Nancy... Ihave4U one giant hug. I hope it happens this summer yet... :) .