Wednesday, September 18, 2013
School. Honestly I never would have imagined that the decision of how and where and when to formally educate our children would be so difficult.
You see, before we had children of our own Joe and I swore up and down that we would never homeschool our children. I don't thing we went as far as to say never, but I'm pretty sure we didn't plan on sending them to private school either. We also didn't consider schools or school district in the slightest when we bought our house (we were still many years away from having children at that point and apparently it just didn't cross our minds).
And then we had children and everything changed. And each year for the last couple of years we have had to really think through and consider what would be best for each of our children in this area. Making these decisions hasn't been easy for me. Two years ago Lily did Pre-K at a program through the university here. She loved it and it was a wonderful experience. Last year we did homeschool kindergarten with her and it was both good and hard. Some of the hard parts, of course, had to do with the fact that I was pregnant and quite sick for much of the school year. So honestly for this year we considered all kinds of options. And it became clear to me that homeschooling Lily again this year would not be the best thing for her or me or our family as a whole. There are some women, God bless them, who are able to homeschool their older children with an infant in the house. But I'm just not that kind of multi-tasker. Will we return to homeschooling someday? Quite possibly. There are a lot of factors so we'll just take it as it comes.
So once we decided not to homeschool this year we began to consider a few different traditional schools. We ended up choosing a small Christian school. Now let me say right here that Joe and I are not against public school (we both went to public school from kindergarten through college). But there were so many factors at play in choosing the school we did for Lily (some unique to our family and some not). I don't have the energy to write about all of them here, but they certainly include the personality and needs of our daughter, the schools themselves, teachers, families in the school, other students, our unique situation being in ministry full time (and the crazy schedule that that includes), and all kinds of other educational, social, and political factors. In the end for this year we chose a small Christian school and I am so happy with our choice. I love that Lily is being taught from a biblical world view and I love that it is a school with very high parent involvement (not that I've really been able to take advantage of that yet personally). Joe really likes the school as well though he does struggle with the fact that it's so far away and more expensive than public school. And I have to be honest here...it is only because we get a significant discount for being in ministry that we can afford to send Lily here. And it is only because we are car pooling with two different families that we are able to send her to a school that is a good 20 minutes plus away from home.
So once we decided where Lily was going to go to school this year then we needed to decide what grade she would be in (gosh, will these decisions never end?)!:) We did homeschool kindergarten with her last year and she turned 6 right at the end of our school year last year. So normally she would have gone right into 1st grade but we decided to have her do kindergarten at this new school. This was mostly due to the fact that at her school 1st and 2nd grades are combined and that meant that Lily would have been one of the very youngest in her class. In addition, though I think she probably was ready, we never finished our homeschool curriculum last year (I was just too sick and we got just a little too far behind). So when we considered all of these things along with her desires (which was to do kindergarten- which is just a half day at her school) we realized that this, more gradual entry into traditional school, was the right thing for her for this year. One of the families that we are car pooling with is doing the same thing with their 6 year old son who is in Lily's class. And the wonderful thing about this school is that because the classes are so small they are able to individualize much of the curriculum so she will still be challenged this year and next year if we stay at the school she will go into the combined 1st and 2nd grade class and they will evaluate her then to see whether she is more at a 1st or 2nd grade level. Perfect!
So Lily is doing kindergarten this year and she is LOVING it and I am loving the school and her teacher and I am so very happy with our decision!
And here was a quick snapshot of her whole school on the first day! So that's Lily. She been in school for going on 4 weeks now. And that leaves Eli. Oh thank goodness Lily has paved the way for him and thus the decisions come a little bit easier the 2nd time around (at least so far). Eli is going to preschool for the 2nd year at the university (the same place Lily did Pre-K). This year he is going four mornings a week and he just started last week. He is loving it!
So there we go...I've got two kids in school and a few hours in the morning where it's just me and my littlest babe! And all seems right and I have at least a little time to enjoy it before I have to make any more decisions!
P.S. Ironically as I write this the kids are both home from school sick. Actually all 5 of us are sick (the dog is the only healthy one)! Lily has for sure had the worst of it so far, but both her and Eli seem to be on the rebound and I'm hopeful they will be able to go to school tomorrow. And our poor little baby has been having a rough morning...there is just something so sad about a baby with a stuffy nose. We sure would appreciate your prayers for health and especially for the baby!