Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Journey

You know that moment when you have just started to emerge from the other side of a journey and there has been just enough space to let you look back and realize how big the journey was?  That is the moment I am in right now.

If I am completely honest with myself, I have had difficult times and situations within other difficult times and situations!  I am exhausted!

This year is our first year to home school our children.  I am so thankful we made the decision to home school!  The changes we have seen in our children are wonderful!  We still have some more things to iron out, but for the most part, we are doing really well!  We have a better relationship with each of our children, as a family, and their relationships with each other have dramatically improved!  I love the development in their problem solving skills!  I love that we can tailor our lessons for each child, focusing on their individual strengths and weaknesses!

Of course, with every up, there is a down.  I am honestly not sure why I didn't see this coming.  Really, I should have expected it, but I just didn't.  The loss of friends.  I had a friend that I thought was a great friendship, our families did quite a few things together for a few years.  Then once we made the decision that was best for our family, that person changed; cut off all contact.  We went from being a large part of each other's lives to nothing, overnight.  My children and I did not understand why our decision to home school, the decision that was best for our family, could affect them to that degree.  We felt used.  Hurt.  It was just as difficult for me to understand as it was for my children.  We would see them out in town and the comments made by their child were hurtful, and it was obvious he was repeating things he had heard.  But, honestly, I am glad it happened.  Better to see the true colors, and it gave us an opportunity to teach our children through it.

Home schooling also affords us flexibility within our schedule.  I could not be more thankful for that flexibility!  We had a family member become ill, out of state.  Our lives suddenly became full of car trips and hospital visits.  We could adjust our schedule and activities as much as we needed, it has been an absolute blessing!  We no longer had to worry about excused and unexcused absences; we were able to be there for our family when we needed to be, without any added pressures.

We have learned to be more flexible.  Yes, we have our schedule, and our appointments and commitments; but we no longer feel like our lives are run by the clock.  We can have fun without the worry of being late because we are in control of every aspect of our schedule.  If we realize a few weeks into our curriculum that we are no longer loving it, we can just change it.  We can change it multiple times per year, if we need to!  We can focus on books, 100% online, or a combination of.  We can spend more time on a concept if we need to.  We get to use more hands on methods as well.  We can study art, then go to the museum and see pieces.  We can go to the science museum and test concepts.  We can have fun with PE, and our cafeteria always has the best food!

In all seriousness, while our decision may not have been the popular decision for our "friends," it was the best for our family and I do not regret a single minute of it.  I am thankful for the changes we have experienced, for the closeness we have developed, for the freedom we now have.  What a blessing this experience has been!

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