Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day

Sometimes I think I am really terrible when it comes to making decisions. Somethings I think I am open-minded to a fault, and so persistent when it comes to analyzing pros and cons that I simply don't know when to let a subject be. Sometimes I think I lack conviction, and am too easily swayed by the incidental comments or experiences of others, or by the more purposeful discussion with friends and family close to me. Sometimes I think I have a perpetual case of "the grass is greener". Sometimes I think I have too much time on my hands. Sometimes I think I don't have enough. 

Sometimes it helps to remember that "even a spotted pig looks black at night" and to shelve my thoughts for the night, to be revisited in the morning. 

All the time I have three amazing children, and all the time I want to make the best possible decisions I can on their behalf. 

Which is a long, and odd, way to begin a post about our first day of school. 

Amy and William happily went off to a new school today, William for the first time ever (two-day preschool, mornings only). I picked them both up happy, too. William takes the prize, I think, for best attitude and most detailed recounting of the day. He admitted to crying a bit after I left (his teacher had told me that, too), but was able to summarize his morning in an incredibly mature and circumspect way and decide that on the whole, it was a very good first day of school. Amy, old school-pro first-grader that she is, was predictably positive and had a fine day with lots to report as well. While they were both gone, Caroline napped and I had One. Solid. Hour. totally to myself in my own house. William and I played with the tools in his tool box after a special Happy Meal lunch this afternoon. He couldn't believe his renewed good fortune, to have the chance to hold court without Amy around to interrupt. 

It was an entirely lovely and successful day. 

But something is off in my heart. Amy already doesn't want to go back - I think she wanted the thrill of the first-day newness of school without crashing back into the day-after-day school routine that thoroughly exhausted us all last year. 

Did I mention that we have been out of school for an entire 13 weeks? That's three months, 1/4 of a year, exactly, having left an early-ending school district and joined a late-starting one. Thirteen weeks seems to have been sufficiently long enough for me to have forgotten all the things I hated about the school routine. 

There's plenty to like: the routine, for sure. The early bedtime. The time to spend with the younger children. The diversity of experience. And, since this is a Christian school - a good helping of Bible instruction thrown in for good measure. I sure didn't mind those few minutes all to myself this morning, either. 

But the dislike column? Rearing it's ugly head again and making me RETHINK, AGAIN the whole school/homeschool dilemma. Bullets on the dislike column include: 
-Reports of other unruly, snarky children that my angel children must keep company with
-Homework. In first freakin' grade. 
-Even in a three-grade blend, it still sounds like Amy is ahead of things and yet
-The workload, and length of day is tiring for a six year old, no matter how smart she may be
-Detailed instructions from the school as to exactly what a lunchbox may contain
-Playing chauffeur (and stuffing Caroline in the carseat) up to three times a day for drop offs and two different pick up times. And getting Caroline out of the car and back in again at each of those. 
-Packing a lunch, setting an alarm, rushing through bedtime, and generally feeling STRESSED OUT for five days a week. 
-Feeling once again beholden to the school calendar and knowing that we are basically trapped on this weirdo coast for the duration of the school year, because a trip back east would invariably mean missing days of this expensive school that I somehow though would be a good idea to pay for. 

Ahhhh!!! Perhaps it's better I just go to bed and revisit this all after we've all given it a fair shake of more than one day. I'm venting here to avoid venting to Amy and further confusing her own emotions on the subject. Incidentally, none of this applies to William - I really feel that six hours of preschool a week will benefit him, and us, tremendously, regardless of what I decide to do with Amy. My angst is for the full-time student. 

So, that's my story. Now, can I stick to it? What is a mother to do? I was quite convinced for months that homeschooling would be the right fit for us here, then I let a summer of chaos and moving and traveling and visiting and crawling baby and arguing siblings drive me to the proclamation "Off you go! School for all!!" 

We will give this a fair shake, and if nothing else I'll spend a few weeks going through my lovely books already purchased

and see if I can't wrap my head around what homeschooling would mean for us, whether it begins in a month or a year. That's really all I need, enough mental space to wrap my head around the subject at hand. That mental space was really lacking in the last few months. 

Anyway, thank you SO much for listening to this long rambling diatribe from a crazy mom who can't make up her mind about school. See ya tomorrow!

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