I have had quite a few people ask me about our school year this year, so I thought I'd give a little update.
As most of you know by now, we had 2 foster children, 7 and 9, come to live with us over the summer. Before they came, we were fully committed to homeschooling Lily, Jonah and Kate again this year. Curriculum was already bought and organized in our homeschool room and Lily had even started her new math book already; she was too excited to wait until the start of the school year! ( I still have it if anyone is interested in a grade 4 math curriculum....)
C and S came to us as an emergency placement. We were not expecting to have any more children come to live with us for a while, if at all, because of where we were in the process with Sam. C and S coming was completely unexpected, and even though we were very slow to say 'yes' to them, we felt God's hand in the situation and knew that they were meant to be with us for this time.
Foster children can not be homeschooled, so saying yes to them meant that we needed to have a discussion about schooling and that we had to be open to possibly changing the plans we had for the school year.
After being a family of 8 for a couple of weeks, we decided that it would be best to send all of the kids to public school for this year.
I was relieved, because the thought of homeschooling the 3, and then having Sam at home when he is becoming more mobile by the day, and then having 2 in school, was really stressing me out. But I was also really really disappointed. Our school year last year was really difficult, but it was also really great and the kids LOVED being homeschooled.
We told the kids our decision about school and Lily and Jonah both cried. A lot. Kate on the other hand, was thrilled, since she's the only one that has never been to public school before.
We talked to the kids about it throughout the summer and little by little they were becoming more okay with the idea.
Meanwhile, I was having doubts and was feeling really sad about sending them to school, especially about Kate since she's been home with me for so long. I was really questioning whether or not this was the best choice for us.
We all went to 'new student night' at the school and that really sparked a lot of excitement in the kids. They saw their classrooms and their desks and cubbies. They saw their friends names and who was in their class. They toured the school and met the principal. For me, it was so strange to be back in that setting and especially to see Kate's name on the desk in her classroom. But after that night, the kids couldn't wait to start!
This week is their 4th week in school and so far, it has been GREAT! I really didn't know what to expect, having 2 kids that were starting a brand new school (after joining our family less than 2 months before), 2 kids going back to public after being homeschooled, and 1 that had never been to public school before.
All of the kids love their teachers (and so do I!), Kate is thrilled to be in school, C and S are making friends and Lily and Jonah are enjoying seeing their old friends again.
Even up until the first day of school, I was still feeling really sad about not homeschooling and was praying hard that this year would be a positive year for all of them. But after that first day, I have felt so much better. The kids are all happy, they are getting a break from each other and get to be around new and old friends, Jake and I are getting lots of time with Sam which has been just awesome, and Jake and I are getting time together, which has really made a huge difference in our days, our weeks and in our marriage! We have even started going out on weekly breakfast or lunch dates with Sam and it has been wonderful.
So, for now, I can say that this year, sending the kids back has been the right choice for us. We will see how much the kids are still loving school once the homework starts coming home, but for now, I am thankful that we are off to a great start and I feel peace about sending them off to school instead of guilt.
I don't know what we will do next year, but we will see how this year goes and we will take it year by year. I am thankful that we do live in a town with a great school system and that we have the choice to do what is best for our kids each year.