H & G.
(Hello and Good-bye, for those who don’t catch the reference.)
First Day of School.
I know, I know, what kind of state are we living in?
The kind that wants Christmas Break to be right at the mid-point of the year, so the testing they do at 1/2-time isn’t compromised by kids having been recently unplugged from The System for a couple weeks.
So we ship our kids back into The System in the hottest part of the year, sweating it out with their saintly teachers in rooms with no AC. How anyone learns anything in that environment, I’m not sure. And I think if I were a teacher in that setting I’d lose my living loving mind. They are truly among the most dedicated, loving, awesome group of people I know, and it’s partly because of them that I willingly, even happily send my children there.
But this year.
Ohhhhhhhh, this year, my friends.
It’s been rather like the camel and the tent analogy. You know, the one where he starts with his nose, then his ears, then his neck. I guess it started last year…
First it was the Kindergartener, who was totally ready for 1st grade. I went in there, told them we’d homeschooled Kindergarten & could I get an application for our 1st grader, they processed it, several weeks later he went to the first 3 days of school, no problems —
and then we got a frantic phone call from the Vice Principal. There’s been a mistake. He’s got a September birthdate & the cutoff is August 1st.
Yeah, we know. So what?
So he has to go to Kindergarten, I’m SO sorry about that mistake. I don’t know how it happened.
The best offer we could get out of them was that after 3 months in Kindergarten they’d have him tested and he might be eligible to skip a grade then. We were like, um, how about he does 3 months of 1st grade, you test him and “demote” him if he fails?
We aren’t stupid. You don’t have to know a great deal about child development and education to KNOW that if you stick a 1st grader in a Kindergarten class long enough, he’s going to be performing at that level. Mr Smith just couldn’t stomach sending to a full grade below where the kid was ready. It was all him.
So we “homeschooled” the K-1 hybrid and it was fine. A little louder and busier at home than it would have been with just the 4 & 2 yo’s, which was stressful because I was still dealing with quite a lot of healing/processing stuff…
But we got by. Mr Smith took the math, I took the reading, and we didn’t even try to do writing because, hello. 6 yo boy. He’ll catch up when his fine motor skills have caught up. And then, mid-year, when I’m freaking out because reading isn’t happening like I think it should, Mr Smith takes that over too and gets it done.
This is going on waaaaaay to rambly and long. Blech. Hate when that happens.
That year was fine. He’s good, I’m good, we’re good, it’s all good.
Back to where I was before the rambling, now.
Mr Smith spent a *lot* of quality time with the kids this summer. A lot. About 2 or 3 weeks into it, he realized that if all went as planned, we’d be sending our 5yo to Kindergarten.
Let me interrupt myself here to point out that this would mean all 4 boys would be in the same school. K, 1, 3,& 6th grades.
Only the 3yo at home.
I’d be TOTALLY lying if I didn’t say I was looking forward to it.
My whole life, planning to homeschool and dreaming of homeschooling and never really being up to it
(literally, I’m not being a wuss here, I really couldn’t)
I finally accepted it’s just the way things are and embraced the beautiful easiness of sending all 4 boys to the same nice little elementary school. I did have serious reservations about sending our 7th grader to middle school, but she was determined that she wanted to give it a shot, so I had made peace with that too.
Back to my story.
He’s looking at our blond-haired, blue-eyed, cherub child – our beautiful baby boy, who still can’t quite say his L’s and who almost daily runs up to Daddy (full speed, it’s so funny to watch!), hugs him around the knees and says, “I yuv you so much, Daddy!”
Away from home from 7:30am – 2:30pm, every day.
He couldn’t handle it.
Here I am, finally NOT beating myself up or even wishing it could be different this year…
And MR SMITH SAYS LET’S HOMESCHOOL.
I kid you not.
And when Mr Smith wants to make it happen, it totally happens. If I had seriously disagreed, he would have probably bent for me, because he’s great that way and pretty much lives to make me happy — But hello.
It’s not me being in charge of it this time.
It’s not me planning it.
It’s not me being held accountable for making it happen.
It’s all him – with my expert-level in put and assistance, of course.
We are pretty amazing duo when we intentionally use our strengths to put something together.
Him, big picture.
Me, what works in the moment.
Him, math, sciences, aviation.
Me, art, English, music, etc.
Him, long-range planning.
Me, short-range survival.
Me… Um… trying my best not to derail it.
Me… Um… learning to play.
Him, open-minded & logical.
Me, energy-working, foot zoning, empathic hippie.
Him, following God’s plan & directions.
Ah, yes, we’re a fine team. I love it.
That said, I still feel like I’m in some Twilight Zone. For reals. Is this really happening?
Yes, it is.
He decided the 1st-grader and the Kindergartener will be homeschooled. The older kids have the option if they want to.
We had a little family council and let the kiddies know what was going down.
C was, of course, resolute in her choice to go to middle school.
D & E were conflicted. There are some pretty epic field trips in 3rd and 6th grades.
Eventually D succumbed to the pull of unlimited math and chemistry and after about a week of thinking it over decided to homeschool.
So, okay. 5th, 1st, and K at home. No biggie.
And THEN, 3 days before school starts, C says she’s changed her mind.
WHAT? Not you too!
Oh my heavens. Oh. My. Heavenly Heavens. For reals, child?
Again, the irony! It’s hilarious! I spend 3 full days thinking, “No, she can’t have changed her mind. This isn’t possible. It was one thing, thinking she’d be the ONLY kid homeschooling. This makes 5 of the 6 at home, then, all day, every day… WHAT ARE WE THINKING???”
And this was the very same child that had me spending the last half of her 6th grade school year thinking,
“No. She can’t really want to go to middle school. Surely, no. Anything but that. I never did go to middle school and I never missed it. It’s such a dark place, it really is. There is light there, too, and there are SO many kids in this community who come through the stronger for having been there, but but but…”
It just doesn’t help that when Mr Smith was in middle school (6th grade, I’m pretty sure, but maybe 7th) someone propositioned him. Like, for married-only activities. (He had no idea what she was talking about.) And that was like what? 25 years ago??? It just does not fill me with any kind of confidence that this would be a place I should send my child. I don’t even want to think about how much junk goes on there now.
But I am just slow to change plans, I guess. I should have been overjoyed at her new decision. It took a while. There is a tiny little spark of giddy-ness that still thinks this is too good to be true.
I wasn’t expecting this.
But here we are.
Isn’t that just life? Wasn’t expecting it, but here we are.
Homeschooling 7th, 5th, 1st, and K. With an amazingly vibrant, charming, passionate 3yo to play with, too. I fully expect that the 3rd grader will want in on it, too, after Camp Erdman is over.
It’s a good thing Mr Smith is so freaking awesome. It’s a good thing I have figured out that K & 1 are pretty much a piece of cake. It’s a good thing I’ve always wanted to do this. (I’m quite happy to have made friends with public school now, though. Really. It’s nice to not be anti-anything-except-sin.)
It’s a good thing our kids are so smart. It’s a good thing I can send them outside to play all year long. It’s a good thing we live Hawaii.
(That’s not a typo, btw. Lots of people live IN Hawaii but don’t really live Hawaii.)
It’s a good thing I know how to take care of myself better now. It’s a good thing that I know Heaven truly is looking out for us and guiding us here. It’s a good thing I am in a better place now, personally, than I’ve ever been.
I’m closer to God now than I’ve been since I was a little child. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is just so different now than it was Before Ground 0. My appreciation for my Savior goes beyond what I can put into words here and I find myself rendered completely speechless when I try to describe what He means to me, and how much closer I feel to Him. He’s walked with me through every step of the last 2.5 years-of-hell, and has brought me through to a better place.
You never are quite the same after you go on a journey like that. You know things you didn’t know before. You feels things you haven’t felt before – good and bad.
So yeah. Compared to all that, this is going to be fun. I’m not worried about it.
More journeys. More adventures.
Hello, New World.
Nice to meet you.
Good-bye, Old Plans. No offense, but I think we’re getting something better.