It’s funny…15 years ago when I was contemplating whether or not to homeschool my then only-child, I was agonizing over the decision. I was asking myself the typical questions about homeschooling: What about her socialization? What if I’m not a good teacher? What if I don’t teach her enough?
My fears kept me motivated to do well with her. We worked hard homeschooling until junior year of high school. My daughter ultimately decided she wanted to finish her high school experience in a public school setting. Now she is 22 and two years away from graduating with a degree in Materials Engineering. Next, I homeschooled my second child until public school 7th grade. We had been butting heads in a way her older sister and I did not, and we couldn’t seem to get through the school day without her crying at least once. My health was beginning to take a turn for the worse and I was overwhelmed with homeschooling her along with her two younger siblings. We decided to give public school a go, especially since the schools in this area are the best. After a rough first month, she seemed to excel and is now an Honor student, rarely bringing home anything less than an A- (“Asian ‘F'”, as we like to joke in our house).
My elder two kiddos seemed to thrive both at home and at public school. Yes, we had some adjusting to do when they entered the public school system but overall, it was a success. I felt fairly confident at the time that they would do well academically and would only have to stress about adjusting socially, which is basically what happened.
As for my younger two, we have been homeschooling since Pre-K and I can tell over the last couple of years that we are done. Just done. I am burned out after 15 years of homeschooling, I’m still working on my health issues, and when I can’t keep up, I begin to slip on my teaching efforts, which not fair to my kiddos. So I find myself in the same anxious decision-making I was in before, but instead of taking the kids out of public school, I’m agonizing over whether or not to put them back in.
Now that I’m on this side of the fence, I feel the decision is so much harder. I can see that the stress level for the kids would be less in adjusting to homeschool life and more with adjusting to public school. Since I’m struggling with what to do, I incorporated their help with the process. They made a Pros/Cons list and I realized they have the same fears I do: bullying, not being able to keep up with the other kids, having mean teachers, riding the bus…I think that public school kids wrestle with these same issues, which I suppose should help me to feel better.
I’m trying to remind myself that everything is temporary, that I can’t protect and shelter the kids from all negativity forever, and that they might actually come to like it before the school year is over. We’ve all but decided to put them in school this Fall, which will be a huge adjustment for all of us. I’ll post an update over the next few months as we progress through the school year. For now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and saying lots of prayers.
CJ Heath doesn’t often wrestle with what she sees as life-changing decisions but when she does, she loses sleep, doesn’t smile as much, and feels tremendous anxiety. She’d like to hear what YOU do to get over the decision-making hump when you know it’s going to be life-altering.