Day 24: Should We Change the Way We School? {Part 1} THREE Questions to Ask.

31 days final big button

As one who barely has enough confidence in her own decisions, I tremble at the very thought of this post. Who am I to tell you whether you should consider a change in your educational path?

Not an expert, that’s who.

But as one who clung tightly to a beautiful vision of homeschooling for nearly five years and then did the unthinkable by plopping my children down in public school, I’ve learned a thing or two. Along the way, I’ve talked with others who have struggled with the same issues and certain commonalities emerge.

And so I simply share what I’ve learned, personally and collectively, along this journey. Here you go, three questions to ask yourself. {I’ll offer three more tomorrow.} Only you can interpret and apply the answers. I’m just here to get you thinking in a fresh and honest direction.

1. Am I breaking down?

I can’t provide a clinical assessment. But ask yourself, your spouse, those closest to you — Is this taking too much out of me? If you homeschool, has drudgery replaced delight? Are your days marked by complete exhaustion? Are you depressed? Do you feel like you’re operating at about 20% capacity? If you’re kids are in school somewhere else, are there particular stresses that are consuming an inordinate amount of your physical and emotional energy and it’s showing up — inwardly and outwardly? If you answered yes to any of these, take some time to think, pray, and discuss the situation {and options} with your spouse.

2. Is my marriage suffering because of this?

Mine was. And that’s why I’m putting it out there. For me, homeschooling took so much out of me, there was little to no energy and resolve left for my marriage. There were other variables too. My husband worked all day and two to three nights a week during those years; the backdrop of our life was worn and threadbare. But when margin in your life is already thin and a crisis comes along, you’re left with deficit everywhere you look. Marriage can bear the heaviest burden.

Though the alternatives for your children may be less than ideal in your mind, if your marriage is teetering on the edge, it’s time to make first things first. This might sound impossible. I hear you. But take a step back and consider the alternatives: a broken family, devastated children, the practical and emotional baggage of a marriage on the rocks or busted up altogether. I don’t write these things to throw guilt around if this is your story. There is always redemption. I write these things because I’ve lived these realities. My marriage is here and my family intact by the grace of God alone.

I know this is heavy talk for a nice little series on educational choices. But none of our decisions happen within a vacuum. One part of life affects another part of life and always we must consider this.

/////

These first two questions deal with non-negotiable issues: your physical, mental, emotional health and your marriage. Call me harsh but your kids and their education don’t trump these. Here’s the last question for today.

3. Is life off-balance? For you, your child, or your family.

 

Homeschool, public school, and private school — there are specific ways each of these options can monopolize our time and energy to the point that balance is non-existent. Maybe the commute has taken its toll. Maybe the full-time mom + full-time teacher gig has taken over your sanity. Maybe the long school day + homework + after-school sports mean that you are never ever together as a family and that your child is exhausted. Maybe your finances are margin-less because of tuition and this affects everything else.

There are legit seasons of sacrifice and busy-ness. This is real life as a family. And as our kids get older and pursue their own endeavors — even when we impose limits — there’s still more on the calendar and less time together. Life gets a whole lot pricier too. These are normal expectations. But sometimes things heat up so gradually that we fail to notice the water is boiling and it’s time to get out. Quick. This is the off-balance I’m referring to.

Once again, take a giant step back. Remember your core values and priorities as a family. Consider the wholeness of each person and your wholeness as a family. Be brave and make the fruitful decisions that feel too hard, even if it feels like you’re the only family.

/////

Tomorrow we’ll continue this conversation with three more questions.

Have you switched educational paths with your own children? If so, what have you learned?

For all the posts in this 31-day series, go here.

I’m linking up with The Nester and her tribe of 31 Dayers.

Don’t want to miss a post in the series? You can subscribe and have each post delivered right to your inbox. As always, you may unsubscribe any time you like. {I promise not to sell your address to pirates, aliens, spammers, or The Gap.}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *