I have been losing sleep for the past week, because, even though I'm tired when I go to bed, my mind cannot shut down. During the past school year, I had pondered whether or not I should home school Ryan and Luke, who are going into second grade and kindergarten respectively. My main reasons centered around the district's budget cuts and changes at our local school. While not completely happy with some of the changes, I had my main concerns assuaged, and decided that the boys would attend public school in the fall. For the past couple of weeks, that decision has been nagging at me, and something has been causing me to reevaluate this choice.
I have no doubt that I want to home school my kids. I am organized and I have teaching experience; I don't doubt that I can do it successfully. However, there are circumstances preventing me from making the leap. The main one is that my husband is not "on board" with it. When I try to discuss it with him, he acts like he's listening, but it feels like he is not. He believes that I will have a hard time because I will not get a break. Well, hello, the purpose of public education is not to give parents a break! Besides, while I admit they do get on my last nerve sometimes, I actually like having my kids around. Keira will not be in school for two years, and the boys will have slightly different schedules, so it's not that simple anyway.
Ryan is a foot-dragger in the morning. Getting out of the house bright and early is just not his thing. I've had two years of struggling with him in the mornings, and it's not been fun. He's only just turning seven, and he thinks the school day is too long. He has resisted homework since he started getting it in kindergarten. How many times have I heard, "I already know this. I just did it at school. Why do I have to do it again?" Ryan is so bright, especially in math, and could probably progress much more quickly at home than in the classroom. With his personality, I think he would thrive on a routine in which he could have some input. He would also do better with a slightly later start to the day and being able to work at his own pace, rather than that of a class of 22.
Luke is part of my uncertainty. He has seen Ryan go to school for two years. Now, it is his turn, and I don't know if taking that away will upset him. He seems a little excited about going, but he has no idea what a five hour day at school will be like, since he has not gone to preschool or day care.
For the past two years, I have been an active volunteer at the school, helping out at least once a week in the classroom. I enjoy this, and have been available to the teachers to take some work home as well. Having two kids enrolled will make this more challenging. There are so few parents who are willing and/or available to help the teachers, and, I'm sure, some who don't even consider the need for it. I was the only room parent in Ryan's first grade class. (One first grade class out of the three didn't even have a room parent.) As much as I want to be involved, I get frustrated with the failure of other parents to help. I feel like I have to contribute in order to make things better at the school for my own kids; if I don't nobody else will, yet everyone benefits. If I am going to put this much time and effort into my kids' education, then, heck, I might as well home school, and give all I've got to them! After all, I don't want to burn out this early on.
I have done enough research to know that there are a lot of home school resources available. I don't worry that my kids will not socialize; there are a lot of home school groups with regularly scheduled activities. They will still take karate, and maybe start some art classes. They will still have friends to get together with. Outdoor activity is easy; we all love to run around outside.
A major appeal of home schooling is the freedom and flexibility when it comes to scheduling. We can make up our own "field trips" and take time off if we need to, without feeling guilty.
My wonderful sister-in-law, Erin, has been supportive of me. (She, too, intends to home school when her son is older.) My mom, also a former teacher, is hesitant to be supportive; I think she worries about my stress levels. But, I honestly feel that I would have just as much stress getting the boys to school, dealing with homework, fitting in other activities, and being active in each of their classrooms.
Oh, what to do?