Saturday, June 25, 2011

Re-Deciding To Homeschool

The first time I decided to homeschool my children, I didn't really make the decision at all.  Sort of like how when you get pregnant, you don't make a conscious decision to wait 40 weeks and then start labour.  It just follows (usually).

There my children were, there I was, there were my ideals and there was homeschool.  Bada-bing, bada-boom.

In hindsight I see that I might have even resisted the idea by trying to enroll my firstborn into various and sundry schools only to discover some huge unforgivable flaw and then pull her.

Just over seven years into it, some big life thing happened and I felt like I had no other choice - given the circumstances - but to make the excruciatingly painful (this is not hyperbole, it really was that painful) decision to put them in school.

Fast forward six months: it's the end of the year and plans must be made for the the next one (apparently these things just keeping coming at you whether you're ready or not).

And just when I'd accepted my new life as a mother of two children in school, homeschooling landed squarely in the crosshairs as a viable option as a way forward in september.

The irony of the difficulty of this decision cannot be overstated.  It's still me.  Me who six months ago felt like I had swords and chainsaws in my - well, my softest most sensitive inner bits - as I concluded that, no, I cannot continue to give this Thing to my children.  I twisted keen edge of that decision round and round and wondered if there was ever to be a reprieve from the pain of letting this go, this Big Important Value of mine.  I searched scoured my husband's face for signs of his disappointment.  And I fought like hell to believe that I was still - at least - a decent human being.

It's still me.  Only now (a scant half a year after the unforgivable) I find myself struggling to wrap my head around doing it all again.  Terrified of being too much not-enough, among other things.

I spent hours and hours, days and days, tick after piercing middle-of-the-night tick with the thoughts rolling around like marbles in a tin can.  Can I do it?  Should I do it?  Do I want to do it?

Can I really do this... again?  (What I have just written so easily, like a singular query is really 10 thousand what-ifs, doubts and fears coalescing into the form 'can i?')

I followed some of my own advice and broached it with the other individuals whose immediate concern it would be - my children.  Ryan glibly - if not blithely - declared that he wanted to go back to school (a genuine surprise and not-surprise all at the same time) and Lauryn, after a characteristic pause said that, yes, she would like to homeschool.  (Not long after this conversation I was told that Lauryn was later overheard telling her best friend "When I start homeschooling I can go the Humane Society anytime I want.")  (Note to self: find resources that talk about why gloating is maybe not the best form of communication.)

And so it came to pass that after re-thinking, re-hashing, re-evaluating and re-everythinging, I re-decided to homeschool my daughter.  (Full disclosure: knowing it would only be Lauryn definitely sweetened the deal for me.)  (Hey, at least I'm honest!)

This time, it's not just the natural next step, which was fine and good before.  No. This time is consciously boarding the plane already wearing a parachute because I know I'm gonna skydive.  (I know the metaphors couldn't be any further apart if I tried, but this one felt good for the ending.)

I am really looking forward to taking the leap with Lauryn.  I have really good feelings about September.  Now, if I could just settle on some sort of curriculum...  (I've learned that I need to keep her at grade level incase the "market" crashes again.)

*Dons amalgam of skydiving gear, heads for the plane and turns back to give a thumbs up*