From all my reading on the subject of homeschooling I find relief in the knowledge that I am not the only Mom who has felt a bit like I am riding a merry-go-round in my head on the subject. I find myself literally mid thought changing my mind on the subject and the closer we get to our oldest being of age to start Kindergarten the more frantically the merry-go-round seems to spin.
To homeschool or not is a thought that dominates my mind lately, no matter how many times I remind myself that the decision doesn’t have to be set in stone I still feel like this is the pivotal moment for the decision to be made. Damien currently attends a specialized Preschool where he receives the extra support he needs to succeed. He loves his school, loves going and his teacher is phenomenal. If this had been our only experience with preschools I would feel fairly confident (despite my original plans to homeschool) sending him off to Kindergarten next fall, unfortunately this has not been the only experience we have been through. Damien was enrolled in his current preschool before we finalized his adoption and it was part of the local county supports he was involved with before joining our family. With the idea of kindergarten looming we decided it would be a good idea this past September to enroll him in Head Start so he could experience a more Kindergarten-like setting (his current preschool only has 6-8 kids in a class and is only two days a week). Head Start was complete disaster that ended in me pulling him from the program and filing both state and federal grievances that lead to an investigation. Without getting into the specifics of what happened at Head Start the situation involved many of my main concerns with public education; lack of trauma informed care, no acknowledgement of the student as an individual, rigid policy with no reason, etc. We returned Damien to his original preschool and things returned to normal and now next week we have a meeting about transitioning him to Kindergarten and I am so worried. I worry about a repeat of the Head Start debacle. I worry about class size. I worry about my son who struggles with transitions succeeding in a traditional public school setting. I worry he will lose some of the magic that makes him Damien as he conforms to the school norms. I worry about the focus being on standardized tests and not on creating a lifetime learner.
I love the idea of homeschooling and I could write an endless list of the reasons to homeschool so in that way it seems like a no brainer and yet I still go back and forth. I am concerned about sending Damien or any of our other children to public school and I am also slightly (sometimes extremely) worried about my ability to successfully homeschool all five of our children and meet their various needs. When I imagine us five years down the road I can picture an amazing homeschooling rhythm and I have so many lesson ideas I cannot contain myself, however when I think of getting started with school next year I get so nervous and I feel frightfully unprepared to juggle my first year of homeschooling and four younger children at the same time. I worry about the logistics of getting them all to the various extra activities I want to involve them in if we homeschool to add more diverse experiences and socialization opportunities.
Round and round my thinking goes. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Does anyone have a magic ball that can give me the exact right answer or some assurance that if I decide to homeschool I won’t fail my kids? Of course I know what I need to do in this situation, as with any situation when I am stuck, I need to take it to the Lord in prayer.
I pray for clarity.
I pray for courage and strength.
I pray for wisdom.
I pray to be sure the decision we make honors Heavenly Father and ultimately helps our children grow closer to Him as they grow into the amazing young men and woman they are becoming.
Have you ever been standing on the edge of something amazing; your graduation stage, the aisle of the church on your wedding day or the first step of a new adventure? That is exactly where we are right now. We are on the edge of so many new adventures it is hard to wrap my mind around it all. We are a day away from owning our first home, and two days away from moving to Pennsylvania something we have been working towards for years. We have officially started planning our adoption and we are hoping to have our miracle brought home in the spring/summer of 2014. I am also so close to graduating with my degree in Special Education that I can taste it. So here are all the new details and updates.
We are so excited to move. We are planning on moving some boxes and the kitchen supplies into the new house right after closing on Tuesday and then we can move everything else in on Wednesday. This way I can set up the kitchen Tuesday, after a long day of moving boxes and furniture the last thing you want is to have to unpack something just to eat or drink. The kitchen is truly the heart of a home and instant comfort can be found by preparing a familiar meal while unpacking and settling in the first night. I am working on picking out paint colors; all the walls in the new house are white and boring. We have a small list of remodeling plans for the new house as well, it is in great shape but a 1951 Cape Cod is going to require some updates. We are so excited to learn all about our new town; the restaurants, the stores, the neighborhoods and the recreational activities. Any good tips about Chambersburg, PA would be welcome.
Oy with the homework already. Right now is the crunch time of my degree program. I am working on my final classes concerning Specific Teaching Practices for the various subjects I will be teaching. These classes involve about 50 hours of in-class experiences such as teaching lessons, interviewing staff members and observing experienced teachers. To qualify for Student Teaching in the fall I have various check points to ensure I am keeping the correct pace for the work load. The first check point is April 1st, at this point I must have no more than 30 assignments remaining in my degree. Another checkpoint on the road to Student Teaching is passing all of my licensing exams by April 30th. I am taking my exams on April 25th so I will need to pass them both on the first attempt. This has me a little worried as the exams cover so much information. As soon as we are unpacked my life will be all about studying for the exams and trying to fit in my hours in the classroom before the kids get out of school for the summer. I just had my introductory call for Student Teaching to go over all the details. I will begin Student Teaching the first day of school and I will continue until the Christmas break. I will be teaching for eight weeks in an Elementary classroom and then eight weeks in a Middle School in a Special Education class. If all goes as planned I will officially be a teacher by Christmas.
This is all so exciting. I cannot believe we are finally moving forward on our adoption plans. We have found an agency we are considering using that is based out of Lancaster, PA. We are planning some different fundraising events for the year such as; an adoption yard sale, a donation website, etc. We are working out the details and will let you know as soon as everything is finalized. We are planning on beginning the adoption process officially in January of 2014. We are going to attend an orientation at the Adoption Agency this summer to be sure we have found the right agency for us. This year will be focused on setting up the nursery and fundraising. My amazing Best Friend Holly is planning to throw us an Adoption Party this fall to help us prepare for our new addition in 2014. We are working on a registry and Tyler is researching his heart out for things like car seats and baby monitors. I am so excited because I found the perfect crib set. There are two animals I cannot get enough of, elephants and owls. These two animals never seem to go together and that makes picking a theme hard. Well Target has come to my rescue, they have come out with a beautiful crib set with an elephant and an owl (along with many other animal friends) and the best part is that it comes in gender neutral colors. I can see our nursery coming together and I cannot wait to see our beautiful gift from God sleeping peacefully in their crib. I am so thankful to God for leading us down this path, every step we take in the direction of adoption feels like we are getting closer to the life of our dreams.
Check out the beautiful crib set: