I had all of the paperwork filled out, in an envelope and all I had to do was add a stamp. And then what happened? Crazy as it sounds, I started thinking about all of the things I would miss about home schooling.
- Our awesome network of friends.
- The great family bonding we've experienced.
- Seeing my older kids interact with their baby sister everyday.
- Eating many of our meals together as a family (since my husband works from home most days).
- Fun field trips with friends.
- Watching my kids grow and flourish in other areas because they have time to explore their interests.
- Seeing their self confidence grow.
- Having flexibility to go places and do things on days other kids are in school.
- Making great friendships (for ME) with other home school moms.
- And, I will admit it... watching my kids grow to love grammar. Seeing my older son improve in math. Watching as my younger son decided he likes writing. Helping my daughter learn to read.
Now, the funny thing about all of this is that you would probably assume our kids would WANT to go to school. I always loved school and looked forward to seeing my friends everyday. So, I always think my kids would prefer to go to "real" school.
But they actually love home school. We sat down with the three of them and asked them what they liked and didn't like about it.
The first thing they mentioned was that they like the fact that if they worked hard, they could get all of their work done so they would have more time to do the things they like to do. My oldest son loves making movies in iMovie. Our second son loves sports. Our daughter loves gymnastics and is excited about taking classes with Christian Youth Theater. And they all love playing with other friends who home school.
Of course, we can still do all of those things if the kids go to a regular school.
But if we enrolled in private school, we would have to work those activities in around that 24-minute, one-way commute. That's nearly two hours of driving time for me (and the toddler) every day. And around homework for all three of them.
Then, we have to factor in the volunteer hours that parents are required to work at the school. And the fundraisers we would need to be part of. Plus, there's the financial aspect. We could make it work, but we would have to operate on a very tight budget and pray we didn't have any major home repairs or vehicle costs. The cost of private school for three kids would basically be like paying a second mortgage.
Of course, there is another long list of the downsides to home schooling, which would be eliminated, giving us more time to focus on the challenges of private school.
When it finally came down to it, the one thing that we discussed the most was the idea of building a community at the school. We have done private school before so we know that it's important that we work hard to be part of that community. Most of the other students live much closer to the school, so we would be on the fringe. We would want our kids to build relationships with their new friends at school, but with the distance, that could be a struggle.
So... we started talking about another idea... and that is coming soon...