This past weekend, several people asked me this question or one similar to it: “Aren’t you soooo glad that school will start back next week?” The implication being that having both girls home for two weeks must have me ready to pull my hair out. I was surprised both my friends and myself when I answered “not really”.
In years past, I would have been chomping at the bit to get M back to school, but not this year. I thought about why and realized I’m much more comfortable hanging out at home with my girls that I’ve ever been. When M was a toddler, I would do anything to avoid an entire morning or afternoon with just the two of us at home. I needed to get out and do something or have someone over for a playdate. I was amazed by friends who could stay home with kids all day and not go nuts.
After C was born, I knew I was teetering on the edge of a post-partum depression diagnosis, and I sought out all the opportunities for socialization that I could get since being around other moms helped a lot. But last summer, I decided not to sign M up for the summer session of preschool nor did I engage a sitter for a morning or two a week as I’d thought I might. We did a few weeks of camp at her new school and took a few trips, but, for the most part, all of us were home.
I was nervous that I would have a hard time finding enough activities for us with lots of M’s friends spending many weeks out of town or in camp. So I decided to make up a homeschooly schedule for our mornings, and use it several days/week. We’d chosen a three day/week option for M for kindergarten, and I knew I wanted to do school work with her on the two mornings she was home so I thought getting into that routine in the summer was a good idea.
I was nervous, about our unscheduled summer and my ability to work with M as a teacher, but things went better than I’d imagined. There were days when M was too grumpy to focus on work and days when C was too fussy for us work over her crying, but in general things worked surprisingly well. And slowly, without my even realizing it had happened, as we’ve tried out homeschooling in this part-time way I grew more comfortable just being at home with my girls, doing crafts, cooking, playing, building, and reading, lots of reading.
I remember having read an article about homeschooling which addressed the question of “will I go crazy being home with my kids every day.” The article (I’ve sadly forgotten it’s title and author) said that as you began homeschooling, everyone in the family would grow used to being with each other and learn how to co-exist at home, that in fact, that was the most important thing you would do in your first year of homeschooling.
We’ve enjoyed having both school and homeschool days, and we are planning for M to go to school three days/week again next year (I can’t believe it’s already time for school re-enrollment). But I’m so thankful we’ve had a chance to grow more comfortable with each other and to know that homeschooling full time is a viable choice for us.