I quit homeschooling.
It was a surprisingly easy decision. Not that I didn't hyperventilate the night before their first day at public school. Not that I didn't question our decision when I learned that one of my children locked themselves in a bathroom and cried because they didn't know how to shoot a perfect basket in P.E.. Not that I didn't wonder "What am I doing??" when waking up at 6am to make sure that everyone had time to eat a good breakfast and had their lunches packed and had clean clothes and backpacks ready. Not that I didn't cry a long, long time worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong.
I did all of those things.
But the reason we quit remained.
I think that there are times when you know that you aren't necessarily making a choice that will solve every problem, but that will trade you your big problem for some smaller ones. That is what is happening here right now. I have a big reason and some small reasons for not homeschooling right now and public school solves those problems while trading me for some other ones.
The big reason is that I realized that on most days, not just some days, Allie & Nolan were not getting good "Mom" time. Allie is starting to get a pretty wicked little temper and she needs focused discipline. Unfortunately, what she was getting was sloppy discipline. She was not getting near enough attention and has been acting out in a MAJOR way. My Gator needed her Mama to look at her and really SEE what was wrong, not just distractedly parent by guesswork. And Nolan needs all those great snuggles that I gave the other three. Unfortunately, what he was getting was distracted nursing time while I tried to maintain a regular teaching time with the big kids. It's hard to revel in your little nursling while you are helping another child read and making sure the other one does her math :). I wanted to be able to really focus on Allie's behavior issues and to spend focused time with her doing those wonderful preschool things I was able to do with Taylor and David. That just wasn't happening, though, while I was focused on teaching the big kids.
Now obviously, it is perfectly possible to homeschool and give each person the attention and parenting they need. Lots of people do this and they do this well and find that homeschooling actually makes it easier. But I, personally, was struggling with it. Dave and I have always said that we would homeschool as long as it was the best choice for each member of our family. We would not sacrifice any one person's best interest on the alter of homeschooling. For now, it's not in Allie's best interest, or Nolan's, for us to be homeschooling. Or mine, for that matter. I still heartily recommend homeschooling to any and all that think it would be good for them. Homeschooling is GREAT. It's just not great for us right now.
The small reasons? Those are the ones that I would never have quit over. I was tired of not having the time to keep my home as clean as I prefer. I was tired of being too tired to enjoy cooking. I missed feathering my little nest. I missed having some free time and the ability to go to a Dr's appointment with less than four children. I wanted the kids to have more friends their ages/genders. I was tired of using my every free moment planning and problem-solving. I was tired.
I probably wouldn't have quit over just being tired, though. It was the combo of being tired and really feeling like I was giving the little ones the shaft. And who wants that? Homeschooling is awesome, but not at the expense of enjoying - really enjoying - these little years. I wanted Allie and Nolan to have the same attention as I was able to give Taylor and David and I wanted Taylor and David to be able to write me a sweet little note without me feeling like I had to correct their punctuation and spelling. Everyone needed me to just be MOM more and it wasn't happening. Throw it all together with a house that is never quite as clean as you would like it and meals that are thrown together in haste instead of love, and you have a household that is surviving, but certainly not thriving.
And friends, I want this place to THRIVE.
So that's it. We decided to quit homeschooling so that we could get back to thriving again. I'm only a week into this new life, so I can't say for sure how it will all end up (like you ever can), but for now we are finding our way.