Here is part two of our story. We went from having a full on ‘it’s homeschooling or nothing’ mentality to sending our children to public school and eventually finding peace.
We were all prepared for homeschooling at the beginning of this year. (2017) I had ordered all the curriculum we needed, shopped for supplies like lead pencils and notebooks and had made up a schedule that looked doable.
I had been feeling a bit stressed with the children home all summer holidays though. It does seem to get to me a bit after a while. All the mess, demands, questions and sibling squabbles that go on when all the children are home at the same time for a long period of time.
Other parents I knew COULDN’T WAIT for their children to get back to school
…and I guess I can understand why. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children so much and love being around them and spending time with them. It is a true blessing and privilege to be given children by God and I do enjoy caring for them. But sometimes I do need a bit of quiet to catch my breath and perhaps think a clear thought.
Also one of my children has some very intense moods, and that, has always made homeschooling very challenging. He reacts in anger and when he’s in one of his ‘moods’ the whole household suffers.
By the fourth week of term one I was not very well. I became so stressed that it pushed my nervous system completely out of whack. I was in bed for days and couldn’t function properly. I guess I had some sort of nervous breakdown, I’m not really sure what to call it. My shoulders were so tight and painful, my pupils constantly dilating and in ‘flight or fight’ mode, and my body wouldn’t stop trembling. I was so wound up and began taking it out on my children by snapping and screeching at every little move they made. This triggered off my anxiety that I also suffer from. I saw doctors and a psychologist. I was put on medication, which I only took for a month because of the awful side effects. I did a lot of research and dove into some natural remedies and a herbal supplement regime instead. I was in bed for days and didn’t go out anywhere for weeks. It took me a few months to fully recover.
While this was going one Luke and I made the decision to send them to school.
It was clear that the pressure of homeschooling really got to me, and to him as well.
We did a lot of prayer, discussion and wrote up pages of notes on the weight of our decision. It became pretty clear that school was the right move to make. Our first choice was a private Christian school 25 minutes away in a nearby rural city. However it was sadly beyond our budget. Our second choice was a small local public primary school only a few minutes away from our house.
We are really happy with this school. It has small classroom sizes and a good behaviour management system. It seems to care a lot about each individual student. Being close to home means the boys feel secure that mum and dad aren’t far away and has made the drop off and pick up doable.
The first couple of weeks were hard. The boys didn’t really want to go and all the packing of backpacks, lunchboxes and buckling everyone in the car took some getting used to!
It was hard emotionally as well. I felt like a failure.
Was it really happening that homeschooling was not working out yet again!? Why can’t I be like other parents who make one decision for school and stick to it? Will my children recover from the roller-coaster ride of being pulled in and out of school? I felt lost for a few months and didn’t quite know what to do with my time during the day when I was usually homeschooling. Even though I still had 3 little girls at home to care for.
I knew I needed something to take my mind off the two boys being in school so I began a project of setting up a veggie patch in our backyard. Something I had wanted to do for ages but just hadn’t had the time for while I was homeschooling.
As the year rolled along I began to see how the Lord has used this situation for good.
Many positive things have happened through us sending our kids to school. – I have began getting out in the local community more and actually meeting other mums from this town. I have been taking the younger three to playgroup – something I couldn’t do while homeschooling and I have had the opportunity to witness to other mums.
I now get excited about all the new opportunities that our children are having at school like doing a swimming carnival and being involved in a musical. The boys are now thriving, have made friends and have both won respect for learning awards. I like doing other ‘regular school mum’ things like watching my children swim at the school lessons and seeing all the creative things they have made. The little crafts they made me for mothers day was so cute – I’ve never had that before because they have always been homeschooling during mothers day. Just little things like that make me smile.
My nervous system is so much better. The pressure of managing their education is off and I can just be mum instead of teacher. I no longer feel wound up and am better able to deal with stress. I have noticed that I am enjoying my boys so much more because I have a break from them during the day . When I see them at 3:10pm I get excited and can’t wait to hear about what they’ve been up to. I am well rested and a calmer, better mother than I was before. Having a rest during the day charges me up for a full on evening of homework, after school activities, dinner and bedtimes. I have been able to give the younger ones more focused attention too.
I have replaced worry with prayer.
Everyday I get up and pray for the Lords protection over them physically and spiritually as they go off to school. I pray for their salvation and pray for the Lord to lead them out of any temptations. It has bought me deep joy to see the boys being a witness for Christ in the classroom. They have given their classmates gospel tracts, Super Book DVDs, and spoken to others about Jesus numerous times.
We have nightly discussions about what the children at school do and say and how we, as Christians are to behave different. For the first time in their lives they are hearing swearing and atheist concepts like evolution. However, it gives us a chance for us to explain to them what the truth is and for them to see how unbelievers think and behave. They’re seeing for themselves how lost and hurting many people in this world are.
I’m now actually looking forward to having three children in school next year. As miss Savannah joins them for her first year of school. God is using our family for good in this community and in our local school. I’m excited about this next chapter of our lives. I know they will be okay – they are in the Lord’s hands.
It’s possible that we may try homeschooling again in the future if we feel like it’s the right thing to do. But not for now and not next year either. We will assess at the beginning of each year what the education path will be for each of our children individually.
How about you? How do you deal with the stress of homeschooling?
Have you sent your children from homeschooling to public school?
Are you plagued with guilt and fear from sending your children to school or have you also found peace?
May God bless you as you press on with the challenging and important role of parenting your precious children.
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