Two weeks ago I mentioned that Benjamin will go to school in the fall & promised more info. When Ben & I decided, nearly 3 years ago, that I would homeschool, we agreed from the start that we were going to take it a year at a time & see what God had in store. We both felt that most likely at some point the kids would go to school, but we weren’t sure when. Around the end of September, beginning of October I hit a wall. I had filled my plate too full & was an emotional wreck. A combination of starting a new kid’s program at our church, along with trying to teach Benjamin, do program with Amanda, run the office end of our business, & somewhere in there try to just be a mom & wife was too much. I wasn’t myself & it was wearing off on the kids...they acted out more & weren’t themselves either.
I knew something had to change, but at the time I wasn’t seeing the whole picture & how the kids were being affected. I’m so thankful that Ben saw what was happening. Once he brought that to my attention, we agreed that I needed to eliminate everything I was trying to do that was non-essential. We spent some time talking about what could go. I realized that there weren’t any big things that I could eliminate right away...it was just a bunch of small stuff that had added up. One thing we talked about though was that maybe next year Benjamin should go to school to give me a break. At first I agreed just because I knew that I physically couldn’t do it like that anymore. The more I thought about it though, the more peace I had about it. There were pros & cons, as there are to anything, but I felt OK with it. God gave me peace about giving up the pros of homeschooling & taking on the cons of public school.
As the year went on, things got better & better. We got a routine figured out with Kid Connection so that wasn’t nearly so stressful & Benjamin got into the swing of school again so that went more smoothly. I had eliminated a lot of little things & felt like I was doing OK. Between about the end of November & sometime in January or February I was feeling good about school. Benjamin was doing really well & I didn’t feel stressed out by it at all for the most part. I started to think that I could do it again in the fall just fine. In about March Ben & I talked about it again. I realized that although I had been trying to convince myself that I could do it, deep down, I knew I needed the break. Besides, that wasn’t the only reason we thought it would be good for Benjamin to go to school.
Benjamin relates to adults & younger kids very well, but he hasn’t had a lot of chance to meet & get to know kids his own age. There are only a couple of kids his age in our church & although we’ve kept him in swimming, hockey, & soccer, they don’t give the opportunity to really make friends because he doesn’t see them enough. We want him to have the chance to find someone he clicks with & can be buddies with, instead of just having to be friends with the one kid he’s around even if they don’t get along well. Anyways...that’s one reason. Secondly, Amanda’s program has also really taken a hit since September. I have done very little with her since September, which isn’t fair to her (she makes so much progress when she’s on program & I don’t want it to be my fault that she’s not moving ahead) & it’s also a waste of money (this program is worth every penny, but if I’m not doing it then it’s waste of a lot of money). I need to let Benjamin go to school so that I can focus on Amanda & really work at getting her program done & helping her catch up.
Deep down I knew all of this, but I was still trying to convince myself that I could do it. I really didn’t want to give up the things that I love so much about homeschooling. Ben & I agreed that I should just go talk to the vice principal (who goes to our church) to ask questions & see what our options were (I considered sending him to school part time & homeschooling part time). I put this meeting off for over a month...just dreading admitting to myself that the best thing was to send him to school. The longer I put it off the more it nagged at me...the more God was tugging at my heart, making it clear that I needed to just do it. At the same time though, the closer I got to going to that meeting, the more peace I had once again. By the time I met with Connie, God had made it clear to me that doing the half & half idea wasn’t an option...I needed to let go. I have the papers nearly filled out to register Benjamin and at the beginning of June him & I are going to sit in on a grade 2 class so that he can get an idea of what it’s like to be in the classroom so that he can be more prepared for the fall.
So there you go...that’s a little bit of what happened to bring us to this decision. God is good. There are still pros & cons...there always will be. I will miss the freedom of being able to take days off when we want to & working on our own time frame. I will miss teaching him about Jesus through all different parts of school (not that I’ll stop doing that, but it’ll be different). I will miss having Benjamin at home & I’m sure there’ll be new struggles for him as he adjusts, but I’m excited to see him make friends & share his love for Jesus. I’m excited for him to have the opportunity to do so many of the classes that I couldn’t offer him.
Previously when I had suggested the idea of going to school someday to Benjamin he had been adamantly against it. I was never really sure the reason, but once we had made this decision, I was nervous about how he would respond. I should have known that God gave me peace for a reason...because it was HIS plan & HE was working it out! Anyway, we decided to make it an exciting thing for Benjamin by taking him out for ice cream to talk about it. We dropped the younger 2 off at my parents & headed into town. Benjamin knew we were having a meeting but he didn’t know about what. We got our ice cream & sat down & told him the news. His first reaction was that he didn’t want to, but almost immediately when Ben started explaining the benefits to him, changed his mind. I know it’ll be an adjustment for him, but he’s super excited...which in turn gives me an extra measure of peaceJ.
I’m so thankful for the peace that God gave me about this decision. I pray that as we prepare Benjamin to take on this new adventure, that He would give us wisdom. I pray that Benjamin would adjust well, be able to make good friends quickly, & be confident in who he is in Christ.