Mixed News. The end of an era?

Such a bag of mixed news today. Could explain why my feelings are mixed. Or maybe it’s mixed feelings and that’s what makes it mixed news.

The big where-are-the-kids-schooling question has been answered. Mike decided it would be best for everyone if I took a break from homeschooling this year and the kids went to our church’s school. He called today to set things up. Praise the Lord Meagan still has a scholarship, so we will only have to come up with tuition for Matthew.

I definitely have mixed feelings. Of course, Meagan loves the school up there, so she is ecstatic. No mixed feelings for her! LOL Matthew? Yeah, he’s just as mixed up as me, though for different reasons.

Don’t get me wrong… there is nothing WRONG with our church school. Good school, good environment, good teachers, good curriculum, good extracurricular activities, etc. Nothing wrong with it at all. I just don’t like giving up homeschooling EITHER kid… not that I’m losing THEM, just losing the opportunity to teach them. I really enjoy the homeschooling (that is, the way I like to/was homeschooling a few years ago… the last couple of years I have been unable to homeschool to my standards). It stung a little last year when I lost one student, but I definitely saw the special opportunities it opened up for one-on-one teaching. This year it just downright hurts.

It’s not the difference in the kids, either, although there is a difference in how each kid views this change. Meagan, of course, is thrilled to continue on in the private school. Matthew, on the other hand, is less than thrilled. He’s apprehensive at best, and terrified at worst. He has a lot of concerns about going, not the least of which is all the PEOPLE. (He is also not exactly excited about the loss of textbooks and the gaining of small workbooks… the kid likes to READ, and he’s loved reading his schoolbooks.)

The reason this year is so hard on me, is not because I’m losing Matthew this time as opposed to Meagan, it’s because I’m losing ALL students as opposed to just one. I don’t favor one kid over the other, though I’m sure to strangers it probably appears that way because of the difference in the kids’ personalities (Matthew is mega-clingy and sticks to me like glue, Meagan is super-independent and can hardly be seen with me for more than a second before she takes off to do her own thing.)

Homeschooling is all I know. It’s been my ‘thing’, my job for 10 years. It’s been my life. I don’t mean that homeschooling has been more important to me than anything else and that nothing else holds any meaning whatsoever, I just mean that homeschooling… or at least the way I like to homeschool… is a lifestyle. It’s not just what we do did during school hours, it is was the way we live d.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m excited, or that I’m even happy about this. I will say that I gave the decision over to Mike, and I will stand by what he chose. I will even do so without complaining (too much…at least… I’ll TRY not to complain!). I can’t promise I will do this without a couple of bucketfuls of tears over what I’m losing.

No, it’s not the end of the world, and yes there are even aspects of this change I AM looking forward to… like Matthew learning to pray in front of others (they take turns asking the blessing at lunch). I just feel like in the last year everything I knew, everything I did, everything I was able to contribute has been slowly but surely taken away from me. This… the homeschooling… was the biggest contribution to my family and to the world and certainly to the Lord that I was making. It was and IS the only thing I knew how to do even remotely well enough to be considered a *good* thing… and now that’s gone.

With no longer being able to homeschool even, I feel like a complete and total failure in every regard. I mean I knew I was failing at the raising of the kids in terms of discipline and making them feel loved and accepted and so forth, but at least I was training their minds academically decently. I might suck at handling sibling squabbles or chores or hurt feelings or spiritual questions, but at least I could teach them how to use a dictionary or how to do long division. I might not know what to do or how to do it when it came to the “parenting” part of raising these two, but at least I could see how they each learn differently… what they have difficulty with, what they excel in, how they think, etc… and was able to fine-tune the curriculum and teaching methodology to suit their individual needs.

Proverbs 22:6 has SO much meaning to me… so many layers. I believe that each child’s training needs to be individually tailored in every way… that is tailored based on the way the learn, their personality, their spiritual gifts, their talents, their weaknesses, their strengths, their physical, mental, and emotional help… just completely and 100% tailored for them. Train up a child in the way they should go… (pronoun choice and emphasis mine to illustrate what I mean by individualizing everything). This is what I’ve tried to do, and while the private school is a good school and the teachers are good and the curriculum is good… they can’t tailor every little thing the way I can here at home. Not because I am so much better at doing so, just that they have to use ONE curriculum, ONE schedule, and they have several kids. It is perfectly understandable that there has to be some level of standardization amongst the class… whereas here at home I only had two kids to ‘tailor’ for and a vast array of curriculum and schedule options. (Plus, I had the added bonus ‘leg-up’ of knowing each child very personally from the time they were born. lol)

Now it’s someone else’s job. I don’t doubt that they can DO the job, that’s not my problem. My problem is… the teaching was the only job I felt like I could do even a little bit ‘well’. It’s like… my academics… my knowledge… my brain was all I had to give the kids, and now that that is gone…

It just hurts so much.

And also? What in the world am I supposed to occupy my time with now?? I mean, sure, I can crochet, sew, read, learn, etc, but do you have any idea how GUILTY I will feel doing things I enjoy but have no benefit for anyone aside from my own pleasure instead of doing something else I enjoy but that actually BENEFITS the kids (i.e. Homeschooling)?!!

I hate this.

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