Some days are just harder than others. If it was just me and her, that would be one thing, but with a three-year old and a two-year old, it makes things that much worse on those days. Usually, we battle because she sees them playing and just wants to play. Other days it's because she wants to play with friends. And some days, let's be honest, she just wants to be defiant.
Lots of people think homeschooling in general is crazy, let alone in my situation-- with two little ones, minimal space and a very strong-willed, extremely social, easily-frustrated student.
Last month, I had another one of those days where I was at my wit's end (this is not uncommon). After a few days of research, David and I ended up visiting another charter school in our town, one where students go four days a week and have one at-home project day. We liked it for the most part, and while we could see Gigi liking it, too, it just didn't feel like the right answer for us.
I thought I might tour the school and suddenly feel convicted that this was where we were supposed to be. But the truth is, with all the research I've done, the only thing that gives me that feeling is still... homeschooling.
Visiting another school option simply strengthened my convictions and resolve to keep homeschooling (even if I didn't want that to be the answer).
It's not a coincidence that the word I chose for the year encourages me to press on in this area of my life. In fact, partly why I chose perseverance was because I knew that this was one of the areas where I needed to be steadfast, put my head down and power through, even when it's hard.
It doesn't help that since I've felt this stronger conviction, two of my close homeschooling-mama friends have decided to make a change for their families in the future. Knowing that they won't be homeschooling anymore is really hard for me. But I know that the Lord places on each of our mama hearts what is best for our own families. So I'm praying to connect more with other homeschooling families near us so I feel like we have that community support around us.
Here are the main reasons we are still homeschooling.
1. I adore the classical education philosophy. I have a lot of thoughts to share on this topic in another post, but the point is that since we don't have a classical school nearby that we could put Gigi in, I feel like I'd be letting go of a methodology I really loved if we stopped homeschooling. I'm sure she'd still become educated in another educational system, but I feel like this is the best education I can give her. And I love learning along with her, too.
2. We don't feel like she's ready to "go out in the world" yet. One of our big concerns with Gigi is that her extremely extraverted personality puts a way bigger emphasis on social interaction than on doing what's right. What I mean is that she hasn't developed a way of filtering social situations through our family's (and God's) value systems yet. We do want to send her out in the world, but we want to establish a strong foundation for her first. That doesn't mean we are sheltering her and keeping her in a bubble, not by any means (that would never fly with such a social butterfly anyway), but that we are working on building her foundation and exposing her to the world in smaller chunks, as opposed to in an all-day-every-day kind of way.
3. We really love the flexibility that homeschooling offers, and the family time, too. Taking days off to travel, doing school at the beach, choosing our own curriculum, bringing Gigi along to CBS bible study-- there really are so many benefits to not having to take her to school everyday. And of course, as hard as some days are, we're all together. It's truly an honor to get to be the one who teaches her on most days and spend all her mealtimes with her and enjoy those rare moments, quiet and sweet, with her.
This week our pastor preached through Genesis 26, where we see Isaac, up against the opposition of the Philistines, build well after well. He persevered until finally God not only gives him victory in the sense of having land to live on and water to drink, but also coming to an agreement with the opposing king, who saw that the Lord was with Isaac through all that strife.
Isaac's wells go from Esek (contention) and Sitnah (enmity) to Rehoboth (room, spaciousness) Shibah (oath). Throughout this journey we see that while God tests the faith of the believer, he also comforts and guides. Isaac's witness for the Lord is strong, and God's purpose for him is fulfilled.
So I'm moving forward, digging my own wells, and persevering where the Lord has called me for this time. I want to get to a place where we feel like we've won our kids' hearts for the Lord and we can send them out to do His will.
I want to feel confident, like Edie (she has been encouraging me in all sorts of ways through her blog), who said it beautifully:
If I did anything right, it was the courage I had to stay and tell the truth, for as long as she needed me. I stayed until I knew that she knew she was loved. She’s sure now and the weight of it crushes my doubts.
That's when I'll know it's time to stop homeschooling.