Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Most asked homeschooling question...

I am always getting asked questions by friends, family and strangers on the street. A lot of them have to do with having a larger family. I hear a lot of "God bless you, because I couldn't do it" and "More power to you honey".

I am also asked a lot of questions about homeschooling. The question I get asked most is "How do you homeschool with children of different ages?". I wish I had a good answer. Really, it depends on what season of life I am in. When I began homeschooling three years ago, I was teaching a 2nd grade and kindergarten. It was tough trying to figure out a schedule that would work for both kids. The second year, it didn't get much easier since I was driving Lily to preschool two mornings a week. If you read my earlier post, you know that we kind of live out in the sticks. So, driving Lily to preschool meant that I had to spend the morning in town while she was in school. That pretty much shot our homeschool day. We tried to do some work in the car while we waited for Lily but more often than not we ran errands and went to parks. By the time we got home, we were all too exhausted to accomplish much else. So, I was basically loosing two full days a week because of Lily attending preschool. This year I opted not to send Lily to preschool. I just couldn't toss away three full days a week (the program for 4yr. olds is 3xweek). I figured I would school her when I schooled Annie and Megan. I think that in itself would have been enough of a challenge, however, I just had a baby in July. So, while I started off our school year with enthusiasm and hope, I soon found myself drowning. Something had to change....

I spent a lot of time praying about what to do. I had good days when I was super woman and I accomplished all of my homeschooling and child rearing tasks. More often than not, I had bad days. Days when I could barely get through needed material with the older two and got nothing done with Lily. Not to mention, Noah who would be plopped down in front of the TV on a regular basis. I contemplated sending Lily to preschool where she attended previously. It's a lovely school with wonderful teachers. My older two girls had gone there and I honestly can't say enough good things about it. However, I was still faced with the problem of loosing three days of my homeschooling week. What would I do? I thought about doing school on Satudays and Sundays and using the days Lily was at preschool as our weekend. The big problem with that was that Carlos would be at work on those days so we wouldn't really get to do much as a family if I went that route. I worried myself sick about what to do.

Finally, I decided I would check into a preschool that was a bit closer to home. You see, when we moved to KY all those years ago, there weren't any preschools in our neck of the woods. Eventually, a few popped up here and there but we always stuck with our tried and true preschool in town. Our neighbor's daughter attends preschool at a local church and has had nothing but good things to say about it, so I gave the director a call last week. It turned out that they had just had a student move away and they had one opening in the 4yr. old class. It was mine if I wanted it! This morning, Lily and I visited the school and met the teachers and director. I was very happy with what I saw. So much so that Lily starts attending there tomorrow! Yikes!

So, for the rest of the school year, I will only be homeschooling my two oldest daughters. Lily will be in good hands and enjoying herself at her new school. I have high hopes that we will accomplish a lot on those three mornings a week that Lily is away at preschool. The nice thing is that this school is five minutes from my house, so I can drop Lily off and buzz home without missing a beat. The school also offers kindergarten through 4th grade and we are planning to send Lily there for kindergarten next year.

I really struggled with this because I had in my head that if I was a "homeschooler" then I had to homeschool all of our children. I have since realized that labels are dumb! I can do whatever I want. So, I am homeschooling my oldest two children, sending my middle child to private school and we will see what the future holds for the younger two. I am feeling a mixture of sadness and excitement today. I am sad to send Lily off to school and away from me. However, I know she will have a wonderful time. Our next door neighbor will be in her class and I will be a better Mommy because I won't be struggling quite so much. I guess in the end you gotta do what you gotta do.


  1. I worry about how my boys will do in public school simply because schools generally are not set up for the way boys learn and their more physical needs. So it is possible that if either of my boys don't respond well to public school I would consider homeschooling. But I know it would not work for me and N. She and I can barely get through math homework together. You do the best you can, as always.

  2. Hey Shelby, I don't know when you wrote this post, because being off Facebook means I don't see your new posts pop up on there! Running into you tonight reminded me to check here.

    I think you're right on track, the way you concluded this post by stating that you have to the best you can and not be hemmed in by any labels or self-imposed expectations that aren't realistic or practical.

    And you never know what each year will bring. A year of kindergarten with another teacher may produce the maturity Lily needs in order to be a good student for YOU. Or not. Either way, as you said, it's okay as long as you're making the decisions thoughtfully and prayerfully.