Sometimes, just sometimes, okay, usually. The RIGHT choice isn't always the EASY choice. For some reason, the decisions that I ponder the longest and hardest, usually turn out just fine. Aaron always gives me grief for being indecisive. I'm not indecisive. I just like to make the right decisions. All the time. So I think. Alot. Obsessively almost.
We decided when Annabel was about 2 to homeschool her and any other babies that came along. Our older 4 kids have all, and still do, go to public school. The experience has been fairly average. Not awesome, but not crappy either. We researched a ton and decided to homeschool. Our older kids were given a choice, and for 6 months, Juliette did try homeschool, but she decided to go back to public school. We fully supported either decision.
Fast forward to this summer. I was getting everything prepared for Annabels' schooling. Workbooks, pencils, and science stuff. We restocked her art cabinet with all new supplies. We continued working on her name, her phone number, the alphabet and counting. Did we ever 'sit down at the table and drill knowledge into her' ? No. She learned as she lived. We counted how many bites she had left to eat at the dinner table. She learned to subtract a few smaller numbers by eating. ' I have 5 peas left. I have to eat 2, so that leaves 3' ! We buy Scrabble Cheez-Its and she loved to find all the letters in her name. We would look for other words too and when she found them, she could eat them. Just to name a few things. Learning through living. It how I believe it should be.
Then I had to really open my eyes. I wanted nothing more than to continue with homeschooling. I knew that while Annabel was learning, so were the other 4. The babies can count to 3. Delilah is doing small subtracting too.
But. The babies are getting so.damn.hard. It's all I can do most days just to eat. I'm quite overwhelmed almost every day and keeping my sanity has to take priority for just a minute. (Which, by the way is where my photography steps up and heals my mind) Even if it sacrifices some of my own philosophies
Aaron and I had to step back and really ask ourselves if this really was the BEST option for Annie. Now, don't get me wrong, I still truly believe in homeschool. I love the theory of un-schooling (Aaron and I don't agree on the subject of un-schooling, but that's okay) and we've been her teachers for 5 years now. We all have. And I think we've done pretty damn good. I am confident that I can continue to be her teacher, why would I suddenly question that? My biggest question was, can I be the BEST teacher for her right now?
We are so fortunate to have lived in the same home for almost 11 years now. Which means we know the school. And the teachers.
My son, Noah, had the most amazing Kindergarten teacher. We'll call her Mrs. D. She was a storybook teacher. The kind they show in movies, or write about in books. She was the perfect combination of loving, and kind, yet stern and consistent. Every child felt loved and knew what was expected of them. I felt safe sending my child to be in the care of this wonderful lady for 2.5 hours a day. I knew she loved him as her own, and wanted nothing more than to teach these children all that she knew. The most amazing part, is that she was able to make each and every child feel that way. I felt my son was getting the same level of love and knowledge that he was getting at home. It's not easy for a teacher to make a parent feel this way. She truly loves her career and it shows.
We decided to send Annie to school. BUT. We had it 'under one condition'. IF we could get Mrs. D., we would send Annabel to school. And I am driving her because what happens on a school bus is for a whole 'nother day. :/
ANNNNDDDDD.....WE GOT MRS. D.!!
We talked with Annabel about it and she's quietly excited. Very typical Annabel reaction. Sweet, sweet girl.
We decided to take it year-by-year. We'll look at it every summer, see how things went and.....just see. I do feel a little guilty. But when I look at the situation as a whole, this is the right choice for us for right now. And best of all, it's the right choice for Annabel, and all I want in all my parenting adventures, is to make the choices that are right for my family. It's all Aaron and I ever want.
Today, right now and this minute, I am excited for my baby girl.
And she is pretty darn thrilled too. She couldn't stop giggling as we were taking her pictures.
Thanks Mrs. D. For being the kind of teacher that loves each and every child for who they are. And thank you for sensing my almost anxiety attack as we were registering her for school and hugging me. You reassured me with one simple gesture how much you already love my daughter. I can't wait to see Annie grow this year, with your knowledge, your love and your guidance.
♥ ♥ ♥