Friday, August 21, 2015

School n' me

Last Wednesday, Johnny had his first day of school.



I posted a picture and a few people were like huh? Don't you homeschool? Why aren't you homeschooling? I did mention it briefly here but short story is that Johnny is muy muy active and our house is muy muy small and I wanted at least this year to be able to homeschool the girls (who will be in grades 2 and 3) in a relatively uninterrupted window of time between the hours of nine and noon ***exhale***. We are lucky enough to have a super tiny little Christian school one short block down the street and when I put together the active (almost constantly teetering on the edge of well-meaning naughtiness), the one block-away school, the half-dayness, and the fact that can I drop and pick him up without having to pile everyone in a car... well, all that = send him. 

And so we did and I HATE IT. Maybe hate is strong. I dislike it. I DISLIKE IT! So far.

I think it's mostly just growing pains. I am realizing that because I have homeschooled the girls we have had 8.5 years as a family who just does everything together. I take my kids to the grocery store and to Target and to dentist appointments and it's almost always a pain in the ass but it's also the way it's always been and I really love it, ass pains and all. To have someone out of the mix feels odd and a little sad. I am sure once the girls are doing schoolwork in the day, the tone will change. We will all be in the same flow, we will eat and get dressed and settle into school at the same time. I imagine it will feel better then. But right now it feels strange. Even after I dropped $87,878,997,697 on miniature uniforms, it feels strange. Because we are all still in Summer mode I feel like I'm shipping Johnny off for no reason (even though school, yes school!). I don't like it. I'm sad I'm not ordering Handwriting Without Tears or cracking open 100 Easy Lessons or buying overly priced crayons in cute tin cases. And I know that even if I did homeschool him, I probably just couldn't do it. And he would get the short end of the stick every day. Maybe that's the hard part, too.


It hasn't been the easiest for him, either. Which makes things extra crappy. Even today he teared up when I dropped him off. The first day he went to the office saying his whole body hurt, and the next day he told me he stared at the wall and tried to see through it towards our house because he missed me so bad.

Breaking my heart, J!

I know I need to give it a little more time, and I do think he will really love it but right now it's taking everything I've got PLUS a sensible husband to keep me from canceling Kindergarten all together. Screw you, Kindergarten. SCREW YOU*. ( *MY FEELINGS)


I think part of the thing is that I am seeing a future that I thought would never come. I am realizing that half day will become full day and just Johnny will eventually, probably, be everyone. And I will be alone with just littles in the day which sounds amazing on paper but kinda sad and lonely in real life.

I mourn the fact that this season of "everyone home all the time" could be over. I want to hold on to their togetherness but also, you know, be reasonable about how completely normal and average kids going to school is. These are foreign waters to me.


Now come the real questions...
AM I BEING A PSYCHO?
ARE YOU ROLLING YOUR EYES AT ME?
AM I TOO SENSITIVE?
TOO DRAMA?
AM I THE MOM WHO SECRETLY WANTS TO HOMESCHOOL THROUGH COLLEGE FOR MY OWN SELFISH REASONS/AT THIS RISK OF MY KIDS EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING?

***you: you're so lame it's only Kindergarten****

But really...
WILL IT BE OK???? sobsobsobsob






75 comments:

  1. I have no idea, but my heart hurts for you! My TWO YEAR OLD is breaking my heart because he's (doing the normal thing) growing up. We've talked about homeschooling and traditional schooling, and I just.can't.seem.to.send.him.away. But I know that he would be fine. We've got amazing options. But he's so wild, I just think a traditional classroom setting would be good for him. I dunno. Blah!

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    1. Also, yes. I realize Kinder is 3 years away but I'm already freaking out.

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  2. It's normal to be upset! I cried like an insane person when I sent my daughter to kindergarten. Now she's 10 and I have two boys ages 3 and 1, and my 1 year old is extremely active. Like holy cow, where did this kid come from? Which is lovely! But I get it. I totally get it.

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  3. I think you've summed up my feelings about it. Sending my oldest off to kindergarten next week... The school only has all day K, but the state says they have to allow parents to pick up after lunch and have it not effect their attendance, so that is what we are doing. I want him home. But am I going to make him *that kid* who leaves when everyone else stays? But he needs to be at school, I know he will do so much better than if he stays home.

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    1. We did that! It was no big deal and she went full day the last month to help prepare for first.

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  4. To answer your questions: No. No. Nope. No. And I don't know, but it seems unlikely. And finally, Yes, I think it will be okay.

    Go ahead and feel all the feelings. Who knows, this might be the only year he 'goes' to school and can successfully homeschool after that. Be of good cheer (as much as you are able) and know you are doing the best for your family, and that is what matters most!

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  5. This is making me feel terrible, because all I want is for my kids to GO AWAY. Actually, I would happily keep my first-grader home, but she loves school and is looking forward to going back. She and I would have a great time coloring and reading and hiking and having reasonable conversations free from tantrums and demands. But I couldn't homeschool her, even if the other two, almost three, kids weren't here to make it impossible. Anyway, long story short, God bless your nice mama heart and pray that I grow one, because I am the Grinch over here and I'm hating feeling this way. And don't worry about Johnny, he will have a good time and learn a lot and you obviously made the decision to do what's best for everyone at this time. Doesn't mean it will always be that way!

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    1. Nope. You need to feel your feelings, too! Even if they are different than blythe's. I've felt all of those and ITS OK!!! You can still be a good mama, even when it's hard. And I'm sure you are, rosemary!!

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  6. All change is hard. I give new changes 6-8 months. If they still feel crappy, I give them up! I understand (as much as a mom whose oldest is 5 can) and I think you're doing the right thing even if it doesn't feel right yet. Xxoo

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    1. Yes I think this is KEY. Give my self a window of time to maintain the change and wait tp evaluate until after. Golden advice, Nell!

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    2. I sent my introverted phlegmatic philosopher boy to school and it was heart breaking for the first couple of months there were melt downs and he was totally fried. Then all the sudden he started loving it.. But it did take several months! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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  7. I think you should give it a little more time but remember it's just kindergarten. If you don't do anything with him at home but run interference, he'll be ok. Maybe your two older ones will gain some independence in school work (maybe you can set them up for that... I pick not-perfect-texts regularly just because they allow a child to be independent) maybe you can bring him home.

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    1. Maybe I should add that I will be homeschooling 6 children this year, and have two more. My oldest is in seventh grade. It's exhausting but I love it. And it's taken years (and is always a work in progress) to find balance. The right books, making sure everyone gets what they need. Simplifying where possible. I think the set up you have there (good school, close by, half day) sounds almost ideal but I'd probably just see it as for fun/a little help for me. I'd still pull out 100 EZ Lessons. I'd still teach him.

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    2. Maybe I should add that I will be homeschooling 6 children this year, and have two more. My oldest is in seventh grade. It's exhausting but I love it. And it's taken years (and is always a work in progress) to find balance. The right books, making sure everyone gets what they need. Simplifying where possible. I think the set up you have there (good school, close by, half day) sounds almost ideal but I'd probably just see it as for fun/a little help for me. I'd still pull out 100 EZ Lessons. I'd still teach him.

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    3. This is a great point about still teaching him. I think you're totally right. I should still do 100 Easy and some catechism and I think I will feel better still actively participating in his education.

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  8. That's the beauty of homeschool! You are able to tailor each child's specific needs to that child and sometimes that means sending someone out of the home. But it also means that you can bring that child back home if it's not working out the way you hoped. And I'm pretty sure that even if you didn't homeschool your kids, you would be sad/emotional/doubtful when sending that first (oh heck, all of them!) to school for the first time. Hang in there!

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  9. I think you should give it a little more time but remember it's just kindergarten. If you don't do anything with him at home but run interference, he'll be ok. Maybe your two older ones will gain some independence in school work (maybe you can set them up for that... I pick not-perfect-texts regularly just because they allow a child to be independent) maybe you can bring him home.

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  10. I think you should give it a little more time but remember it's just kindergarten. If you don't do anything with him at home but run interference, he'll be ok. Maybe your two older ones will gain some independence in school work (maybe you can set them up for that... I pick not-perfect-texts regularly just because they allow a child to be independent) maybe you can bring him home.

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  11. I'm just about to send my oldest off to (all day! we only have all day here!) Kindergarten, and though it has always been my intention to send my children to school (public, at that!), this is so hard for me. So no, I don't think there's a thing wrong with you. I think it's natural to fret about sending a child off, even if for just a few hours at a time.

    That said, I also think it will be okay! Everyone will adjust and you'll just end up with a different kind of good than you'd expected before you made the decision to send him to school. You'll be fine. He'll be fine. (And I'll be fine too.) ;) Best to you!

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  12. You are me 2 weeks from now. My eldest was homeschooled and is headed off to regular old public school in September. And I am heartbroken.

    I know he will do well, but he will also miss his little sisters very much. I will miss him. His sisters will miss him. It is going to be the worst.

    My DH can't understand why we have to work around the school calendar for vacations and time off now either. And regular school was his idea.

    I am already crying. At least I'm not alone. Solidarity sister.

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  13. Um, well I think the main problem is that he is so handsome. Of course you don't want to be away from him. ;)

    But also, I have felt all those feelings and they are totally totally super normal. And one of my fave ladies is the exact opposite and needs her kids to be gone. Totally has never experienced these feelings and can't fathom them. :) So I think don't worry about what is normal and instead really really pray about what those feelings mean for you. Have you ever read The Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Gallagher? It is an easy explanation of Ignatian principles of discernment but one of the things that stuck out to me was that if you make a decision from a place of peace and consolation, don't second guess it when the temptations come. So I think I would tell myself I made the decision and am going to stick with it until [whatever date] and pray the heck out of the constant anxious gutwrench heartbreak feeling. And then reevaluate at that time. You totally can do some school and some home. Where you are now is not where you will be forever. But you are doing the thing!! You made a decision and are moving forward with it and that's how you gather info for the future. Hang in there!!

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  14. Ahhh!!!!! I totally get it, but you are right…part of the yucky feelings is that there is no real routine yet. I bet once you start school with the girls and he gets settled into his school a bit more it will all be easier. And remember, nothing is permanent. If it doesn't work for you this year, you can always change things. We made some adjustments with our kids this year - my oldest is off to a new school and it's been hardest on me…

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  15. I've sent five kids off to school so far, and the first day of their first year is just the hardest. It takes a little getting used to, but if it's right for your family, it will all work out. Give it a chance and you'll get your answer either way. I personally can't homeschool because I have to work outside the home, but I have much guilt over all that too. Stinking mommas hearts :(

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  16. I like lists and feeling like I made decisions based on rational analysis. So, we are sending my oldest to parochial school for kindergarten simply so I can know what we would be choosing against if we decide to homeschool. It seems like that's what you are doing now: learning what it will be like to focus more on the schooling of your older two while providing Johnny with an outlet. Agree with other comments (and you!) that if this doesn't feel right by Christmas, pack up that big baby and take him to Egypt. Wait, I meant keep him home.

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  17. I think what's making it hard is that he doesn't like it, and he misses you. That would break my heart too. I just put my social/bubbly/talkative daughter into half day kindergarten after being a part of a homeschool coop for two years (preschool and a little kindergarten). I did it because I am due with baby number 4 in November and have two boys 1 1/2 and 3. Anyway, even though I didn't know what to expect (so many horror stories of public school) I've been pleasantly surprised. She loves it. I love it. It's given us a really good routine, I appreciate the time I have with her way more. I appreciate the peaceful time with my boys when I can take them to the park or take a cuddly nap. I try not to think about the 8 hr day away from home next year if this continues to be how we school, but for now it has been a huge blessing. I am sure if he liked it (soon he will if he makes friends) you will like it. And you can still order the awesome crayons and supplement at home! I'm sure it's overkill but I read her Seton readers and teach her the saint of the day.

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  18. I absolutely love this post! Not the part about you being sad about your little heading off to school, I promise I'm not mean like that. I just love hearing about how much you love spending time with your children. This is the time of year I hear people screaming from the mountains how happy they are their kids are back in school and it honestly makes me a little sad sometimes or like I am a weirdo because I would miss my son terribly when/if he heads off to school. I think this is beautiful and your mama heart is so beautiful. I think I would also want to selfishly keep them until (even through?!) college too. ;-)

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  19. I sent Frankie to day camp four mornings per week all summer and . . . LOVED IT. So much was accomplished while we were stinker-free. :)

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  20. I have identical twin boys who are 4.5 years old who constantly "teeter on the edge of well-meaning naughtiness" (love that expression :) and I don't know how I could home school, so I totally get how crazy life is with well-meaning little boys. our boys are in a montessori program and we also have them separated because they tend to run wild together &, well, basically, as much as I HATE the cliche, they are very much "double trouble". so for what it's worth, i think you're doing the right thing for your family right now. he doesn't have to be sent out of the home for school forever. maybe next year 1 of the girls will want to go to school & Johnny will stay home.

    Last year we tried to enroll our boys (3.5 years old at the time) in a catholic school and I had SUCH HIGH HOPES and it was a disaster. the teacher was maybe 21 years old, had 30 three year olds in a prek3 class, a fresh college grad and my boys just ran all over her. to make matters worse, the school seemed to emphasize the negative behavior. we had no support from the administration. the principal would call me daily with tiny little things the boys did when we knew the problem was the inexperienced teacher (I should mention I work f/t outside the home so the boys had been in daycare 40 hrs/week since 18 months old). The reason why i'm telling you all this is because it was really stressful on my kids and, as parents, my husband and I knew it. we saw how hard the situation was on our kids. we only kept the kids there 4 weeks and then moved them to montessori where the school dynamics -- from staff to classroom structure -- were simply a better fit for our kids. It was hard for me to take them out of Catholic school because I thought this particular Catholic school was an answer to a prayer, but I prayed about it and talked to a priest and realized how much my kids were suffering and we needed to turn the situation around, which we did....

    I promise, if it's not the right fit for Johnny, you will know. Give it a few more weeks, is my advice. And remember, whatever the future holds for your family...God is already there :)

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  21. maybe also let him keep a pic of you two in his pocket. when he needs a quick mom fix, he can whip it out and it may make him feel better?

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  22. Kindergarten sounds reasonable and also heart-wrenching. I hate the end of summer and it most definitely IS lonely with just littles. All your emotions are understandable and thank God for sensible husbands because I'd be pulling kids out and putting them back into school all the time if it weren't for my sensible husband.

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  23. I may be a dissent from the commenters but I say with a compassionate and sensitive tone, from one mama just trying to "figure it out" to another: is there maybe a third option? If you are just venting about your feelings and know that this is the right decision for your family at this time, then you can stop reading my comment now. And I support you, girl. Sincerely.
    But If you are truly not sure about sending him to school and it doesn't seem right for your family, it's ok to change your mind, too. Even after the money spent on uniforms. ;) I am a big promoter of following your mama heart and intuition, so if it truly doesn't feel right, change what you're doing until it does. Do some major brainstorming. So he's really active.... Could Johnny be enrolled in something like Soccer, Gymnastics, Swimming which would get him out of the house several days a week and allow him to burn off some of that energy so he's less "into everything" when he's home? (And from a fellow wild child, I felt more pent up energy from being in school, like a caged animal, lol so I used to explode more at home. My mom eventually homeschooled me and I am forever grateful). Plus, if a friend or grandma could take him to his activity, then you could have quality time with the girls then! Or are you friends with other homeschooling moms and you guys could work out a wonderful system that works for all of you. It can be made to fit whatever your individual wants and needs are but here's a suggestion: like 2-3 of the moms taking the littles and the ahem "wild ones" while 1 of the moms teaches a class of her specialty (art, math, Spanish whatever!) to the older and/or more docile kids. Or just the kids who want to sit in a chair and learn. We did this as kids and it was a lot of fun learning different subjects from my parents' friends and going over to their houses on alternate days of the week.

    Anyway, I've written a novel but my heart broke for you reading this post and how much you seem to hate sending him off and how it's breaking your heart. So I wanted to offer you the opportunity to brainstorm other alternatives that maybe...won't break your heart so much. Maybe? And I know there are even more options than what I wrote!
    But ultimately, what it comes down to, is laying this all before the Lord. Pour out your heart to him. Cry your eyes out to him! Be raw and vulnerable and let him see what you're going through and ask Him if this is a cross your called to carry at this time (and give you the grace to carry it) or if it's His will that you should do something else. And Mama Mary who totally gets what it's like to "ponder all things in her motherly heart" will help you tambien. Then just allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and Kirby to make the right decision. You are a great mom who obviously loves her kids so insanely much. That's the most important. :)

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    1. I really appreciate this and all your suggestions. I do think anything more structured would kind of cripple us (more activities, places to go, etc.) but I do think I need to just stay really aware of what I'm thinking/feeling and be open to pulling the plug on this plan if more time passes and it doesn't get better. Like Nell said, I think committing to a certain window of time to stick it out and then reevaluate is kinda key! Thank you for this sweet, sweet comment.

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  24. That's so rough. Just remember that this doesn't have to be permanent. For right now, he's in a private school, but that doesn't mean he will always be. If it's still not working in a couple of months, maybe reevaluate then? If it helps, I cried every day for a looooong time when I first started school (but I was a little weenie) and ended up doing just fine. When I dropped my daughter off at school for the first time last year, it was SO WEIRD and so QUIET without her, but it was so good for us both. She needed more activity, time with other kids and listening to other authority figures, and more structure than I tend to give. Hope that it gets better really soon!!

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  25. Ummm...I totally hope it is normal as I have almost daily freakouts and my son is.....two (for.two.more.months!!). I should hold him more...read to him more.........oh my goodness....

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    1. Oh yes, I know!! Still feeling all of that with the littles

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  26. I would feel the same way. You're doing a great job. That's all I've got!

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  27. Don't hate me for saying this, but don't forget, kids play on our emotions and manipulate us. (and yes, I do have kids) Most kids turn the tears off as soon as mom leaves. Stay strong, Mama, it takes a while for a new dynamic to settle in. Look at it from his perspective: he's having fun, learning and meeting new friends, learning to take small group instruction, learning to play in a group, learning sharing and taking turns. And this from a crybaby kindergartner back in the day! :-)

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  28. ALL OF THIS ADVICE IS SO WONDERFUL.

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  29. Maybe your homeschooled clan could also wear uniforms BECAUSE OH SO CUTE!!! He looks so sweet and grown up. Although I only have preschool-aged littles right now, I can imagine some heart hurting sending one off while others stick around. I even wince at the thought of 1 half day a week at playgroup without the rest of us. Moms be moms.

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  30. Totally get this. We started a Catholic homeschooling hybrid this week and I had all the feels and the crazy. We figured we wanted to keep us all together so myself (now a tutor at the site) and my 2 yo are there as well as my little pre-k 4 (the little guy was just craving something new and to-do on the regular. We go only two days a week but after my youngest being in a room next to the room I'm tutoring in (crying no less) I came home sobbing and saying maybe we should all pull back minus the older who is loving it. All I know is I'm thankful ours is just two days and will always be two days. Told my husband if it was anymore we'd be out and homeschool all day erryday foreva and eva. rain or shine. amen. Prayers for you! He's absolutely adorable! And, the peace I have is that I know that we would not be here were it not for a discernment process that I know we asked to be guided in. At the end of the day, His Will be Done, Jesus we Trust in You, and all things work for good. ;) Big Hugs still!

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  31. I dunno, his comments and response would have caused me to pull him out there and then. I think he would still be getting a rich and happy childhood being at home with you. BUT, you sent him there for very really reasons and only you can know in your heart if this is the right thing for him or not. Big hugs, and remember your only acting on your love for your children, which can NEVER be a bad thing. xx

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  32. Oh my, I know this feeling. I sent my oldest to preschool two mornings a week before we knew we were going to homeschool, and I didn't like it and she didn't like it, and it turned out fine (she went for a whole year plus one month before we decided to homeschool), but it was SO HARD. I don't think you're overreacting or being dramatic at all. I want to give you a hug! I hope it gets easier soon.

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  33. It really does sound like you've got a great plan in place. I bet things will get better with time and with getting the girls on their school schedule in the mornings too. Don't think about this as a long term solution: one year at a time, right?

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  34. This made me cry! Poor little guy! Poor mama!

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree with Nell. I will hug you this weekend (right?!) and then we can discuss it all in greater detail.

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  35. I haven't read all the comments but my guess is Johnny senses your ambivalence about sending him to school, so he is not liking school because he feels that you don't really want him to be there. Maybe try being super positive about it for a week or two little while and he will start to like it?

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  36. Hi Blythe! Not sure if I've commented before, but I really enjoy reading your blog. You and Grace are inspiring to me; I love the way you live your faith and talk about what that looks like on a day to day basis. I really resonated with this post. I have two sons and only homeschooled for a year when we thought we might move and wanted to save the cost of preschool, but I will say that sense of losing your nest, your completeness is real. It's very hard to let them go, because it truly is a special place and time that you currently inhabit, a protected space of togetherness. It's beautiful! The good news is that when you do let them go (if you do, don't feel like you have to now if it still feels wrong to you in a few weeks) they come back a) totally fine and b) with this whole other world of experience to reference and share. It's pretty amazing. Your home won't be subsumed into this new tide of otherness, although sometimes it feels that way. The space that you've provided and will continue to provide is seminal, it's primary and it continues to abide. That said, things are a lot more rushed when all the kids go to school and it can feel like family time is minimized so it is a change that requires restructuring of routines and more so, a mental shift. But the time that the kids are away (if it ever comes to that) can also lead to a new calling to other projects or service, so I think it's all in the spirit of change, not loss and I think it's ok to mourn that change and know it's all right at the same time! Wishing you the best, and Johnny too! :) Samira

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  37. Okay, I'm not trying to stress you out even more by mentioning this, but maybe God is calling you to reconsider your living situation. I know. Buying/selling a house SUCKS. We just moved from a tiny house in a really expensive city to a bigger house in the country, and the process nearly killed me. But our lives are totally better off for it after the smoke has cleared, and I feel way more comfortable about my homeschooling future here. Just something to consider, though you're probably right that you'll feel better about everything after you've adjusted. You are doing a great job and will figure it out. (-:

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  38. First, Johnny looks incredibly handsome in his school clothes. I bet all the kindergarten girls are secretly swooning. Second, I felt exactly the same way when I started letting my big kids stay home from the grocery store. Exactly like you said it, that we wouldn't all be doing everything together any more. (Seems silly now, because going to the store alone is awesome.) I think change is just sad. But your family is awesome and even if all your kiddos end up in school, they'll never stop being awesome Fikes. xxoo

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  39. I just wanted to let you know that I know of 2 homeschool families do kindergarden on purpose. One reason is to have another person observe the educational process over several months. The two families who've done this have 8 and 5 children. Of those 13, 11 have gone so far. Of that 11, 4 have had learning disabilities identified. Another has had a physical disability identified (gross motor skill). We're talking near 50% here. Only one of the children, now a sassy teen, seems to have been affected in a negative way, being very angry over what she perceived as her rights that were taken after seeing the over-indulged, spoiled fellow students. Now, that said it's very possible that this would of happened in a homeschooling circle anyway.

    I don't have kids yet, and I'm not sure that this is a path that I would take. I do see it's great merits. Kids and learning styles vary greatly. There are so many styles of homeschooling now. I talked to an HS'ing mom in Colorado who kids participate in FLEX which is a program where kids go to school for art, science, music and gym two days a week, half days. This has worked so well for many families that it's allowed some to continue in some difficult situations.

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  40. I was that smug homeschooler who used to say "What do they need preschool for? I can do letters, numbers and crafts at home." Then my fifth child became preschool age. My son teeters on the edge of actual naughtiness to get attention. And sometimes he doesn't really teeter ;) He started preschool last week, he really likes it so far. I am homeschooling my older four and I was deliciously quiet while the little one was in school. They got to do snap circuits without him ripping it apart, and built a model catapult without interfere. We will see what happens in the future. For now, it's nice not to have to worry about him getting I to trouble while I help the older kids. We are on a year by year, child by child approach to homeschooling :)

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  41. I predict Johnny and you will adjust beautifully! And the three hours he's gone will give you nice structure to get school done with your older girls. Your schedule will adapt to his, everyone up, breakfast, Johnny to school, you work with the girls, Johnny home, lunch, quiet time, etc. you'll barely even notice he's gone!

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  42. I am a protestant, contraception-using, regular-schooling Australian mum who lurks amongst the awesome collection of catholic mummy blogs in America. I don't know why. My American sister in law post links to these blogs in Facebook and then I just kinda fell into this corner of the internet and couldn't find my way out and then decided I really quite like it here. So I've settled in with a few sandwiches and a thermos for a few months now. (and found myself reconsidering another pregnancy after an eight year gap. hmm..curious.) ANYWAY, I love your blog but haven't commented before. But this post so made me want to comment because...in the battle and dance to figure out what we believe and how to live well I am always impressed when folk are vulnerable about not having all the answers. In fact, I'm more impressed by passion/idealism coupled with moments of "Arrghh I don't know what to doooo" then just passion and the "We've got all the answers. Come, learn at my knee" approach. I'm also really interested when people move from pockets of idealism into compromise, especially when faith choices are concerned as the temptation is to say "This is the RIGHT and GOOD way. We're not moving". I think it takes guts and intelligence to do say "This was the right way for us then but now we are not sure and we might have to experiment for a while to find out what is best." It can also be lonely for a while if all your mates are doing things differently. So, I admire that you moved from home-birth to needing an epidural advocate and I admire that you are trying out school. Gutsy. I don't really know whats best but keep experimenting! I think idealism and passion are ace and strive for that in my own life but I also think families need creativity, courage and flexibility. I also love it when someone throws a question out to the void and this lovely community of women all fire back with their very individual thoughts and experiences. That's a lovely expression of faith in and of itself: the heart-felt responses and long comments that go on forever. Oh. yeah. long comment. sorry.

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    1. I love this comment. Thank you! So happy you're reading and commenting and thinking and being awesome.

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    2. Best comment ever, Shelley Knoll-Miller.

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    3. Ditto to all of this, Shelley!! From a Protestant (Lutheran- gasp!), IUD using, gettin' ready to preschool mama lurking in Western WA. Blythe, you rock.

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  43. Hi Blythe,
    I'm a relatively new reader, and haven't commented before, but I felt like maybe (?) my experience could be helpful to you. I read through all the comments and none seemed to share my experience, so I thought I'd chip in, though you've really received a lot of good advice here.

    I'm a working mother in graduate school with one in heaven, a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and one on the way (due in March!). Everything you are describing--your intuition, your feelings, the dilemma of being torn between two good things, the heartbreak--these are all completely normal and ok things to feel and think about. They are the exact same feelings I had when my babies went to daycare when they were 3 months old. And I feel them every fall when we start care again (summers are a kind of down time for us). I am always fighting the feeling of being torn in two directions: am I doing what's best for my kids? Am I choosing this because of selfish reasons? Am I doing what Our Lord would want me to do? What is the True Good among all of these partial goods?

    But the more I think about it, the more I realize that this question/inner battle is never meant to go away. If I stop asking that question, it doesn't mean I'm at peace. Peace is when I can consistently keep battling this, and consistently choose the True Good. From my perspective, all mothers are bound to feel this wave of emotions in the face of this particular kind of change, no matter what. It's just that you are feeling it at this particular point in your life, with this particular child. And maybe it's the first time you're feeling it, which is particularly painful. And I really don't say that to be dismissive at all. These are real feelings of separation, of sacrificial love, of motherly instinct. The reason we will all feel it is because at some point we can't all be together all the time. I know you already know it. We just don't want it to come *yet.* Some moms get to that point when they have to go back to work, some when they send their little ones to kindergarten, some when they send them to college.

    All this is to say that I validate your feelings and your battle. I think you are doing the right thing to reflect on it seriously, to keep re-evaluating. At the same time, know that the separation does get easier with time. And if it doesn't get easier, then you know what to do. In all things of this manner, my constant recourse is to ask our Blessed Mother for guidance. She will be with him at school. She will be with you at home. She will help you be the best mother, for your child(ren) in your circumstances.

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  44. I have 8 kids and I always home schooled. 2 years ago, I put the top 5 in school. I decided one week before school started....I just shoved them all in! It was nauseating! I literally felt physically ill.

    But then, we got used to it. We are blessed to have a small classical Catholic school. The kids met great friends. I met great friends. I saw my kids being a blessing to others and I was hooked! The school is not perfect. But homeschooling 5 kids while chasing 2 toddlers and nursing one infant isn't perfect either.

    I will pray for you and your little guy! You have such a beautiful family.

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  45. I have 8 kids and I always home schooled. 2 years ago, I put the top 5 in school. I decided one week before school started....I just shoved them all in! It was nauseating! I literally felt physically ill.

    But then, we got used to it. We are blessed to have a small classical Catholic school. The kids met great friends. I met great friends. I saw my kids being a blessing to others and I was hooked! The school is not perfect. But homeschooling 5 kids while chasing 2 toddlers and nursing one infant isn't perfect either.

    I will pray for you and your little guy! You have such a beautiful family.

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  46. I have 8 kids and I always home schooled. 2 years ago, I put the top 5 in school. I decided one week before school started....I just shoved them all in! It was nauseating! I literally felt physically ill.

    But then, we got used to it. We are blessed to have a small classical Catholic school. The kids met great friends. I met great friends. I saw my kids being a blessing to others and I was hooked! The school is not perfect. But homeschooling 5 kids while chasing 2 toddlers and nursing one infant isn't perfect either.

    I will pray for you and your little guy! You have such a beautiful family.

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  47. I needed this post tonight! We're kinda homeschooling our girl but she's so super social, so we're sending her to our church's PreK two mornings a week and....I'm heartbroken. So yeah...totally get it!!!!

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  48. I needed this post tonight! We're kinda homeschooling our girl but she's so super social, so we're sending her to our church's PreK two mornings a week and....I'm heartbroken. So yeah...totally get it!!!!

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  49. I needed this post tonight! We're kinda homeschooling our girl but she's so super social, so we're sending her to our church's PreK two mornings a week and....I'm heartbroken. So yeah...totally get it!!!!

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  50. I don't know...if I were feeling that way and he were feeling that way, I would probably pull him out. I think it would be hard to have one in school unless that child wanted to go. Every year I think, how am I going to do it? And every year God provides some way...maybe encouragement from a friend, maybe some pinterest-idea that helps a kid with their learning, something to pull me through. But I know how angst-filled these decisions are. May God give all of us guidance.

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  51. Ok...I get some of this. When I was POSTPARTUM and sent my kid to full day kinder, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I missed her so.
    First of all-- three hours. That is really not that long and so appropriate for kindergarten.
    After the year I had with kinder I decided to homeschool..somewhat for my own selfish reasons..not being lonely etc.
    Well my daughter is back in school this year and Loving it very much. It's ok to outsource some stuff! Really! He will be ok, and do check and see how your hormones are playing into this, and also is it like "oh crap I need to make really good use of the three hours that he is out of the house". This can be good.

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  52. BLYTHE YOU ARE ME AND I AM YOU AND I NEVER WANT THIS TIME TO END AND LETS NEVER SEND OUR KIDS TO SCHOOL EVER.

    i'm actually serious. i could've written this post myself minus the fact that i couldn't because i don't have a kid named johnny. but really.

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  53. I can understand what you're saying, but! Have you considered the little red school house? My sisters did great there followed with Sacred Heart and St. Bonnie, and they've done so well. (Don't send the kids to Fillmore public schools if you ever find yourself considering it!) anyway, the little red school house is a great community, and actually a few great (big) Catholic fams send their kids there. It's so small & with the mixed classrooms, it bears a passing resemblance to homeschooling. Something to think about if the whole appeal of just strolling down the street ever loses its luster. (I'm sure it won't, but hey, it could happen.)

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    1. Ha! Yes! All the kids are on the wait list there:)

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  54. That last picture of him looking toward the great big beyond that is Kindergarten.... A picture does speak a thousand words sometimes.

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  55. I was right where you are several years ago with four little guys at home having the time of my life. Then school started and I put my first in kindergarden. We all missed her so much but we plugged along. Then number two and three started going and we were busy, busy trying to keep up with all the demands of teachers etc. So when the oldest was in fifth grade we pulled everyone out and started homeschooling. Every year after that we would just re-evaluate and see what worked best. Homeschooling got a lot easier and more fun for everyone the older they got. Just know you can always shift gears at the drop of a hat. And remember even if children are in school, you are still homeschooling with homework in the evening. It's just at the crappiest time of the day.

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  56. Go for it! He will have fun and you will have a break and everyone will be the better for it. I homeschooled 2 sons from 2nd grade (mid year until high school). Each year we used a program that seemed to work for each one. By highschool I was feeling burnt out and I wanted to transform my role from coach to cheerleader so we found a hybrid program. With boys especially, this was an awesome transition. I could be a fun mom again. And they could grow into men. I realized that I didn't ruin them by homeschooling them. And they both went on the college of their choice.

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