Another friend put four of her children into a school. She and her husband do not make decisions lightly in this regard. It's a good school, and I'm sure her intelligent children will have a happy stay there.
But she is the fifth friend this year to put at least one child back in school from homeschooling, and the third to place almost all of her brood in a school setting. I am feeling as if I am the Lone Ranger, out on the range sans Tonto, cooking beans by the campfire, sleeping lightly in case I'm attacked by the bad guys, hand on the pearl-handled pistol in my holster.
Everybody has their reasons why they choose a particular academic environment for their children. I know at least one of these families went with school for economic reasons, so both parents could work full time. One family did it for health reasons, the health of the mother. One family did it because the homeschool environment was causing what they felt were sloppy work habits in the children, to the point where a brick-and-mortar school was going to teach the children about how good they had it at home. The others choose to keep their reasons private. They have their reasons, good ones.
We have our reasons for continuing to homeschool.
I have cash, at present. I now live in a community where I can get around on beautiful bifurcated buses that run on natural gas, saving money on a second car. The buses are beautiful, but the public schools are well, working their way up from years of decline.
In each of these cases, I'm older than the mothers in question; in fact, I'm old enough to be their mother. Being an older mother has its advantages, for once. Again, having saved money over time, as well as decades of learning home economics first-hand, I can cut back to the bone and still homeschool, which some young families simply can't do and stay ahead of the bouncing finances. I might not be as healthy or robust as younger moms, but I make up for it with brisk walks, vitamins and a daily nap. Bike riding is coming along slowly, but it is coming along.
The Mister has a graduate degree, as well as undergrad in another field. His teaching style has vastly improved since the days he taught various classes for a corporation (Our Eldest and the Boy will remember those days and shudder). Not that it's necessary to homeschool- and can be a hindrance at times- but I've had elementary classroom experience, and some experience with middle school as well. Both of us have extensive experience with technology, which is indeed helpful in 21st century academics, wherever those academics might be held and taught by whomever. When it comes to academics and technology, we have it covered, continuing to keep up on the latest in both fields.
So far this year- and remember we hold school all year, no summer break- I've only had to nudge Belle a few times to work. Baby not only does the work willingly, but comes up with extra projects on her own. The projects are admittedly not what one would see in a classroom, but they are learning experiences just the same.
Who knows how much Internet research experience as well as post-1960s history Baby learned during her Clint Eastwood phase? How much comedic timing and speech delivery she learned in Lucille Ball/ Fran Drescher phase? For that matter, Belle accomplished a great deal during her infatuation with High School Musical, on the piano as well as voice. We all still learn a lot from Pawn Stars, Modern Marvels, Green Screen Adventures, Extreme Couponing, MythBusters and Who Do You Think You Are.
Still, I am sure Belle and Baby could easily pass whatever test to go to the gifted school or a magnet. We would want more information on the program, and that currently isn't as forthcoming as it should be. The one Catholic school worth the money and transition experience has no room for Belle, and would put Baby in her grade of age, not her current academic grade, despite test results to the contrary. The other Catholic school offers a safe haven for kids who would otherwise go to public school in a rough neighborhood, but academically and technically isn't what our kids need. Would it be in their best interest to send them back to school now?
The Mister and I can only pray for guidance, and continue to do what we do for their benefit. That's the gist of raising children, their benefit, "the best interest of the children" when it comes to bringing them up to be responsible adults. For now, God has made it clear: Homeschool, alone or with others. Who are we to argue? There are obvious reasons to do so.
God has His plans, and apparently His for us is to continue to homeschool, even if I feel I am the Lone Ranger at his lone campfire eating beans and drinking coffee alone, excepting the kids, the Mister, and of course God. God's plans for other families is school; some public, some private, all brick-and-mortar.
Good luck and good schooling, friends! You're doing what's right for your kids, and we're doing what's right for ours. It's wonderful that we live in a country where those differences don't exclude us from each other's lives, allowing us to follow the path God has chosen for our families.