The kids start school next week. We're pretty much ready, after buying five million dollars worth of clothes and supplies (sigh), but we still have a few things to do. I'm going to have kids in 8th, 6th, 5th, 2nd, and Kindergarten! Holy cow! Only #6 will be home with me for four hours every morning. First of all, how did this happen?! And second, I don't feel one ounce of guilt for rejoicing in this. No tears (well, when I send #5 off to K, then I might be a little sad --but not yet).
Some mothers have recently come under great scrutiny and judgement because they are thrilled their children are going back to school. Of course, these women are celebrating with photos and publicly shaming their children --not something I condone. But at the same time, I might be one of these mothers. I am THRILLED my kids are going back to school. Why? Two reasons: my sanity and theirs.
We need a routine again. We schedule, stability, mental engagement. We need time apart. They need structure and friends and homework and other adults instructing them (ones they will listen to). I need peace and quiet for some hours of the day. I need to regain some control over the household again. I always have these great expectations for summers, I plan these wonderful schedules, and then... I seriously completely fall apart. Every year. Every summer. Sometimes it's because of travel. Sometimes it's because of pregnancy. This year it was because of pregnancy and mental crap. Whatever the case, it's frustrating and I always feel like a failure (in this instance). Who am I, who cannot muster up enough energy, motivation, and resolve to give my kids some great structure that will make them better people!? Stupid brain.
I thought, once, that I could homeschool my kids. Why not? I'm capable and smart and... this summer has taught me that I am beyond grateful I don't have to because I really don't think I could. Or can (and for more reasons than the ridiculous PA homeschooling laws). I am so grateful for public schools! I'm grateful my husband works so hard in his career so we can live in an area that has amazing public schools. I'm grateful they are "free" (when compared to private schools), and I'm grateful my kids are doing well. I've been shown my deepest weaknesses this year and it was eye-opening to see that I simply cannot do everything for my children --not even close. They need school, they need church, they need others to help teach them.
My 11 year old is gifted and has been given tremendous gifted education where she has thrived (both in UT and PA). My 10 year old has an auditory disorder and the schools have been incredibly helpful and accommodating with his 504 plan to help him succeed. I understand that not everybody has been as lucky/blessed as we have been with public education, but I'm not going to be looking a gift horse in the mouth, you know? I understand all the fears of Common Core and the frustrations with miscommunication or bad teachers or lack of funds or, or, or... but I do not have the need to be upset with my school district. And that's a good thing, because the option of teaching them at home does not exist. I simply cannot do it. I do not have the mental or emotional capability to do it. Not at this point. But luckily, I don't have to! Their schools are great!
Anyway, this is why I don't feel guilty for sending them back to school (and for liking it). I'm not quite giddy --but I'm happy. Our routine will begin again: scriptures, prayer, breakfast, getting ready, out the door... and then I'll be able to squeeze in appointments and grocery shopping during those four hours it's just #6 and me (until the baby comes in February and then we'll just start all over). He and I can read books and go on walks and watch TV and clean up the house.
Sure, come May, I'll be anxious for summer again, but I think that's what is awesome about this --it's just like the seasons, you know? In March, we're praying for July. In August, we're praying for December. One season ends just as we are ready to start the next.
P.S. I love my children fiercely. Just in case that wasn't apparent in this post.