We’ve been mulling over this decision since before Eva was diagnosed with severe allergies at a year and a half. Even then, we weren’t sure we wanted her to go into the public school system. At the time, we were thinking about other (private) options and not homeschooling (because homeschooling, ew!) but we were definitely talking about it. And then there was the diagnosis and all the reading and the debating and the talking to the schools and talking to the doctors and everyone told us we didn’t really have to worry until it was time to start Kindergarten but we worried anyway just to be ready.
So, Kindergarten. Are we homeschooling?
I am 95% sure that homeschooling is the right decision for our family. This isn’t limited to Eva – I am 95% sure that I’ll be homeschooling all three of the kids. We like the fluidity of curriculum and learning styles that homeschooling would allow. We like the relaxed schedule. We like the extra time to take advantage of resources and unusual opportunities and traveling to new places. And, being honest, we love that our homeschool would be totally allergen-free even if that only ends up affecting one out of three students.
But we’ve still enrolled Eva in school and she starts in just a few weeks.
Here’s the thing: school is a very big deal. For most kids, school is the default core of their childhood. It’s the thing you frame everything else around. It’s a huge bulk of your memories, your experiences, and the way you approach being out in the world. So, if you’re lucky enough to have choices when making school decisions as a parent, you also have the burden of doing your research and that includes learning as much as you can about each possibility.
I think I know what “regular” school would be like for Eva, but that’s based on my experiences and Kyle’s experiences and things that I read on the Internet. That particular bundle of research has led me to the conclusion that regular school would not be preferable to homeschooling BUT I’m not getting any of that info from Eva or from the actual school she’d be attending or from first hand experiences of being a parent to someone going to school when it isn’t just daycare with a fancier name.
And so, Eva is off to school. It isn’t going to be our local public school because we did try that out last year and it didn’t go well, but she’s also not going to the fanciest private program that was on our list. It’s somewhere in the middle. She’s going to a school that is not nut-free, a school where I think the classes are too big and the curriculum is underwhelming. I have to have no less than four meetings over the next few weeks to get Eva’s Eva-ness into the official system and then we have to drop her off with all the crossed fingers in the world that I won’t be getting that dreaded she’s-in-the-ambulance-our-bad phone call from the main secretary. (Again.)
Will she make it through the year? I don’t know. Will we pull her out and homeschool to finish? I don’t know. Will we love it so much that she’ll go again for first and second and someday we’ll shake our heads that we ever considered homeschooling? I don’t know. But the next six weeks or so are planned and that’s something, right?