Last summer we found out that we would be moving to Florida for Bradley to attend a six month long training. We knew that this move would take place right before school started for Isabella, and that we would be moving again halfway through her Kindergarten year. All year we would talk off and on about what to do for her education. Public school? Private school? Homeschool? There were, of course, pros and cons for each one, and we certainly tried our best to weigh all of the options, praying for wisdom as we made a decision.
Much of me wanted to homeschool. The thought of pulling Isabella out of school halfway through to thrust her into a new school environment didn't thrill me. If we homeschooled, we could be consistent for the whole year, and we'd be able to have a flexible schedule that would fit into our move this winter.
When we came to Florida in May to look for a place to live, Bradley and I visited a Christian school in the area that offered a half-day Kindergarten. We observed a classroom of students and within about two minutes I knew that Isabella would thrive in that environment.
Isabella is the girl who will look for new people on the playground, make friends with them, and before we go home ask to have them over. She waltzes into strange churches with confidence, longing to learn and participate in whatever everyone is doing. Her love of learning and desire to make friends is a great combination.
I realized that my desire to homeschool this year was mostly about me. My fears and my pride.
I was fearful of how she would handle a switch halfway through the year. I was fearful that she wouldn't receive the kind of education I had always hoped. If she went to school I wouldn't be able to 'control' her environment, her relationships or her experiences.
Deep down a big part of me wanted to homeschool so I could prove to myself that I could do it. I could teach Latin, timelines, reading, do cool Science experiments and also take care of my other three non-school age children. Somehow I felt like opting out of a homeschool education would make me a 'less-than' Mom. I know that's not true, but I struggled with it.
I also worried about what some people would think of me if I didn't homeschool. I feared judgment from all sides of the education opinion, not wanting anyone to think us foolish for choosing a particular educational route.
Once I realized that I was making decisions based upon fears and pride, I was able to think more objectively about what was best for Isabella, and what was best for our family right now.
Right now we can afford the Christian school in our area. I don't know if we will ever be able to again, but the cost of the school she's going to attend this year fits within our budget.
I really like the idea of a half-day Kindergarten. As much as I know Isabella is going to love school, I also think being away from home all day is going to be challenging for her. Starting out with part of a day will help the transition.
If we had decided to homeschool I know I would have stuck with it and given it my best effort. However, I also know myself and I know the needs of the rest of my children. Providing Isabella with a good education right now would be challenging because of the immediate needs of my other children. Our weeks are about to be filled with therapy sessions for Mason and we aren't able to choose the times for these appointments. It's quite possible that we won't receive in-home therapy over the next few months, so having one less person to take will make it much easier. Keeping to a regular schooling schedule may have been challenging, and ultimately frustrating for a routine person like me.
In short, I think Isabella's education would have seriously suffered if I tried to teach her this semester. And, we have a great option that we're all excited about.
We won't know our next duty assignment until sometime late this fall, so we'll have to re-think the whole education thing again, and we may choose something different for next semester.
But for now, God has been so gracious to provide us with this option. And I am so thankful.
It was a relief to put away the curriculum catalogs I had been pouring over for months.
I am rejoicing that I don't have to sit up at night looking over lesson plans, trying to figure out what to teach the next day.
I love that I'll be able to have a few hours in the morning with my three youngest. Mallory is particularly excited about this, as she will be the oldest for a while, and I'm glad she has this opportunity. It will be fun to see how all of our children develop over the next few months.
And, come 12PM every day, when we pick Isabella up from school, I can't wait to hear about her day, the friends she makes, and the ways that being in school will change her.
As we go through this big change for Isabella, and for all of us, we're continuing to pray for wisdom as I know there will be challenges along the way; this would be true no matter what type of education we chose.
Our biggest prayer, though, is that we would continue on as parents who are training our children up in the fear of the Lord, and that Isabella would grow in her knowledge of God, believe the gospel, and have a deeply rooted faith that would bear much fruit.
All images via Callie Murray, Achor & Eden