I always knew I'd be a homeschool mom. I trained as a teacher, worked as a teacher, and always looked forward to teaching my own children. Our homeschooling family is now active in the Spanish homeschool movement, and I have even enjoyed speaking to homeschoolers and writing a Spanish homeschool curriculum.
So why on earth would we stop homeschooling in the middle of the year?
Let me start by clarifying that while we love homeschooling and yes, even promote it, we have never held to or proclaimed the idea that homeschooling is the ONLY way to educate children or that it is ALWAYS the BEST way.
We DO believe strongly in parental involvement, oversight and responsibility, regardless of how you choose to educate your children. And we believe parents are in the best position to decide how each of their own children should be educated at any given time. That being said, here are the reasons we are not homeschooling this semester:
Reason #1 – Life
This semester we have chosen to embrace life over education. This is what Marianne Sunderland calls a Grace Year. In this pregnant season of life, with four young children and a baby on the way, the thought of schooling three different grade levels while entertaining a toddler and tending a newborn on top of our ministry and business obligations is completely overwhelming. We didn't feel that I (or the rest of the family) would be able to enjoy any of it, for the pressures of having it all to do. We believe God is giving grace to choose to enjoy life over formal learning for this season.
Reason #2 – Language
Our two oldest children are attending a local Christian school this semester, not because of the academics, but because every class and activity is taught in Spanish and every child and teacher there speaks Spanish. This will be a great boost to their language acquisition, and it comes at a great age, as they are young enough that any educational gaps can be quickly brought up to speed in the coming year.
They will also be taking music classes there, and participating in a children's choir. Great experiences that we just simply haven't had time for yet at home. We may still do some science and history together a few times a week, and read alouds are not really school (are they?). But for this season, we are choosing language for our biggers.
Reason #3 – Little People
Our two youngest often unintentionally get pushed aside while Mommy is busy with the biggers' daily instruction. They get included as often as we can include them, but they hear “Just a minute, Mommy is busy.” way too often. Because we are not homeschooling the oldest two this semester, I have more time to devote to my little people. Playing, giggling, listening, cuddling, training, and teaching Kindergarten skills. I am choosing to enjoy my little ones more in this season.
Reason #4 – Leave, Maternity Leave, that is.
Our baby is due in a few weeks and no matter what your profession, you know that maternity leave, rest, and recuperation is a necessary part of this exciting and life changing event. Our older two will not lack structure in their days. Our little ones will get the privilege of helping out more in the mornings while the biggers are in classes. And Mommy will not have to feel guilty about resting and enjoying the new baby because there won't be nearly so much on the to-do list. We are choosing to enjoy our expanding family for this season.
Reason #5 – Logistics
I googled the word logistics and found this definition: “the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies.” And it has as synonyms: organization, planning, plans, management, arrangement, administration, orchestration, coordination, handling, running, and more. As a ministry family, we have several big projects and events coming up this year that may never be repeated, and that are going to need quite a bit of logistical work.
I am not super woman, and though he is my Hero, my husband is not super man. By making certain prayerful and conscious choices for this semester, we are choosing to guard ourselves against possible burnout, in an effort to do all things well.
Do we have plans to continue this non or partial homeschooling trend? No, we fully expect that this season may never come again. And we are looking forward to personally teaching all of our childrens' academics once again for the next school year with renewed vision and fervor for having had a season of rest from it. But we are also embracing with joy the experiences, the learning, and the growth that God is providing for our family in this season.
Why are you homeschooling, or not, this year?
What about you? Why are you doing what you're doing as far as your children's education is concerned this year? Is God telling you to homeschool and you don't want to? Is he telling you that you need a grace year? or a grace semester? That you need to let someone else assist in your child's education in a certain area, or for a certain time? Don't be afraid to follow God's plan for your family.
To everything there is a season. And homeschooling, while great, for the most part, is not the most important thing in life. Life, as God wants you to live it, is the most important.