In an unforeseen twist of COVID circumstances, we have decided that this is a perfect time to let our curious children experience public school! The same way that many other families were able to take advantage of distance learning to try out homeschooling, we are going to use the unique return to the classroom to allow our children a chance to try out public school!
I did not see this coming! As recently as July 3rd, I was preparing our supplies for a July 26 start to our homeschool year. The next day, it all changed. To be fair, I have wondered every single year if we were doing the right thing for our family by homeschooling our kids. It’s just that, until this year, the answer was always Yes. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure.
We live in a military associated community overseas, which means they make a huge deal of Independence Day. For many years past, our kids have spent this celebration running free with groups of friends or friends-in-the-making. Maybe it was the rain, or perhaps the new location, but this year seemed to highlight just how many of our kids’ friends have moved since COVID lockdowns began and how difficult it has been to connect with new friends. They eventually joined in the dancing and fun, but it was the first time the thought of “What are we doing to our kids?” crossed my mind rather than, “I’m so thankful for what we are doing for our kids!”
A few days later, while out celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary with dinner alone, my husband and I started talking about what we had seen at the Independence Day celebration. It turns out we had both seen their loneliness. Somehow, “It sure would be easier for them to make friends if they were in school! Ha ha!” turned into a deep conversation teasing out the threads of the “what if’s” of school enrollment. When faced with big decisions like this, we work through it by asking, “what about this does NOT make sense?” It turned out that there were far fewer downsides to trying school this year than might normally have popped up.
Our oldest is only 12, but in our homeschool program she would be starting high school materials (already ready and waiting for her on the shelf at home!). While she is an excellent reader and would be fully capable of the assignments of the year, the themes and situations she would encounter take a sizable leap in maturity. A year at school would give her a chance to grow into the curriculum.
Our second oldest likely has ADHD, a diagnosis that will be easier to get if she is in the classroom. She is the most excited to be going to school, and even though she is an introvert, has been the most curious about trying out school. She is ultra creative and is looking forward to Art and Music classes and hanging out with friends.
Our 8 year old is rather precocious, but has been wishing for more 8 year old friends. If she can manage to remember to raise her hand and wait to be called on before she talks in class, she will do amazing! Not a shy bone in that one’s body; she’s magnetic!
My 6 year old is in for the biggest adjustment, but since so many kids did kindergarten virtually in our area, it will be perfectly normal to have a lot to learn about how to be in school. I worry about his eating struggles, but I hear good things about watching peer models to encourage picky eaters. Plus, it will be a relief to have more adult eyes on him to help me sort out what is normal, if immature, behaviour and where he might need some support.
And finally, my sweet 4 year old will have the opportunity to be little and get some alone time with Mommy! My 10th year homeschooling will be a reflection of my first: Pre-k with a tiny clone of myself! It’s going to be a blast!
So, whether this turns out to be a one year experiment, or a new normal entirely, you will be able to hear all about it here! Our time at home will be even more important than ever as I get to focus on being a great mom with no pressure to also be a great teacher. I think it will be very refreshing!