Saturday, January 26, 2008

Already thinking about next year's schooling options

This has been an interesting school year. I've had the pleasant surprise of discovering that, although not easy, I am not hating homeschooling. In fact, I think I could safely say that I am enjoying it! I'm enjoying having my two homeschoolers here every day, and we've had many good conversations and enjoyed many good books together.

It's also been harder than ever to send my youngest three kiddos to school. In years past when I so desperately needed to NOT be homeschooling, it was a blessing that my little guys absolutely loved to go to school. At night when I would tuck them into bed they would ask, "Is tomorrow a school day?!" and when I would tell them yes they would smile and cheer. They ran out the door each morning so happy and looking forward to their day.

This year I still get asked, "Is tomorrow a school day!?" except that when I say yes they pout and cry and say, "I don't want to go! I don't feel good! When do we get some days off?"

I'm not a big believer in formal schooling for younger kids, especially boys. The only way I was able to have them going to school so far was because they enjoyed it so much. Now that I have little boys consistently not liking school, I feel like I'm no longer doing what I feel is best for them.

I've learned from past years to never make big decisions about school in January. The cold, dark, cheerlessness of the month never seems to do any of our outlooks much good. Unfortunately, I can't blame this on January. This has been going on for the whole school year. I even talked to my son's kindergarten teacher about how unhappy he was at the first 9 week conference.

So, I'm watching. And I'm thinking. And I'm wondering--what about bringing the three younger boys home for school next year?

I've noticed that I've enjoyed having all the kids home on weekends and breaks. For awhile there it was kind of overwhelming for me to have everybody home. Partially it helps that they're older, partially, I've done better and better at working on behavior stuff and helping them keep their energies moving in a positive direction. I love seeing the creative stuff that they come up with. I buy them fabric and they design costumes. They make play money and stores and play "town" complete with bankers, businesses, keeping track of their money, etc. It's pretty fun to see what they come up with on their own.

My wheels are turning. I'm taking stock of what I would need to change in order to take on three more homeschool kids. I'm thinking about how it would work to homeschool 5 kids at once. I'm thinking about what each kid needs and wondering how I can best offer that to them. What would it look like? How would it work? So far, I'm optimistic.

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