A New Chapter

My parents lovingly devoted much time and attention to my education, sacrificing much to teach me at home. From second grade through my high school graduation, I never once wished it any other way.

All through my childhood I believed that I would home school my own kids. With each new school year came much prayer and discussion regarding our children’s schooling. Never was there any doubt that I would teach them at home.

This year, as I began a mental inventory of our school books, made lists of all the things we needed, and began to plan for a new school year, I felt the Lord guiding our family down a different path. Doors opened, things fell in to place, and my oldest four kiddos – the twins ready to begin 5th grade, Julz going in to 4th, and Josh eager to start 2nd – will each soon be introduced to a new and different experience – a classroom full of children their own age.

As excited as my kiddos are, they will be the first to admit that they are also nervous to start a new school year away from home. I know that they will flourish in this new school of theirs. They will learn many new things, make new friends, and gain a sense of freedom and identity.

But, I am nervous, too. Nervous about how each of them will manage sitting still for hours at a time. Nervous knowing that they may struggle to catch up in math. Nervous about them fitting in and not alienating others with their passion. Nervous about whether or not we have given them the foundation they need to stand up against worldly pressures and the temptation to be catty and trite.

This nervousness, mind you, is not based on doubting our decision to place them in a local school away from home. This year, just as each year in the past, I am at peace with the decision we are making for our kids’ schooling. This year it just looks different than before.

The school we have enrolled them in is fabulous. It is everything we could hope for in a school away from home. I have met Julia’s teacher, both of the 5th grade teachers (although we’re not yet sure which one Ethan and Zach will have), and are looking forward to meeting Joshua’s teacher. The curriculum is similar to that which my parents used to educate my siblings and me. And, my children will be surrounded by children raised in homes much like ours.

Even in the midst of nervousness, I am at peace – a peace that only comes from Christ – about our decision to release our kiddos to kind and dedicated teachers. Even encompassed in peace, I can’t help but be a bit sad. Sad to see my children so excited for this new adventure away from me. Sad to think of how much I will miss them each and every school day. Sad to think that I might have failed them somehow. Sad to have another chapter in homeschooling behind us.

September 6th will be the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. It’ll be exciting. But, as with all good stories, there are bound to be some tears shed.

A New School Year Has Begun

We made it through our first day back at school.

How’d we do?

Well, I only raised my voice a few times, but never in anger. The computer and telephone remained off during lessons, and we finished everything on today’s agenda. Well, everything we finished went on today’s agenda. wink, wink

My kiddos did so well.

I took joy in teaching them.

It was a good day.

School Year’s Eve Resolutions

JuiceBoxJungle has a funny show (see my sidebar) about Losing It that helps you feel better about yourself as parent and reminds you to enjoy those crazy times, as well as the calm ones. What better time to remember this than the beginning of the busy new school year?

Cookie Magazine and the PTA are debuting School Year’s Eve this year, to celebrate the start of the new school year and education, by encouraging party-throwing and resolution making. They’ve asked me to talk about my own School Year’s Eve resolutions.

We start school the day after Labor Day, this year. As a homeschool mom, I think I offer a unique perspective on creating goals – resolutions, if you will – for our upcoming year. Here they are ::

schoolworkonthefloor I will daily remind myself why I am homeschooling :: God has given me a mighty job in raising my kiddos for Him and teaching them at home. But, I can’t lose sight of the fact that I am ultimately doing this out of obedience to Him and love for my kiddos. What He has called me to do, He will equip me to accomplish. He may have to equip me with extra patience this year!

I will turn off the computer and phone during school-time :: It is so easy to lose focus, but My kids’ education comes first. Work comes second. Every day.

I will not raise my voice in anger :: With six kiddos, four of whom will have a daily school schedule, I will have to work extra hard to accomplish this goal. I can do it.

I will not expect too much of my kids :: Reminding myself of their age and maturity level will help me treat my kiddos with more respect. They may only be able to sit still for read-aloud time for 25 minutes. That’s okay. They’re young.

I will not get down on myself :: God is in control and will give me the strength to face each new day with a fresh desire to serve Him. Of that I am sure. Just as I won’t expect too much of my kiddos, I will set realistic expectations on myself, as well.

As much as I am not a scheduled sorta gal, I look forward to the daily routine as we head back to school.

But, first… VACATION!!

This post is sponsored by Cookie Magazine. Of course, the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely my own, and are not influenced by the sponsor.