After much thought and prayer, I was finally able to admit that my children needed more than I alone was able to give them at home. The opportunity came for my children to attend a very rigorous classical co-op. I felt very strongly that was the direction we needed to take for 5th and 8th grade- not so much because I agreed with the philosophy of teaching, but because my kids needed to be pushed hard so they could experience what they were truly capable of. Also, they needed to be accountable to someone else for their lessons. Abby and Ben had adopted the idea that I was "just Mom"- that I didn't need their very best and that grace would always abound.
That was the most difficult year of our lives. We spent many nights schooling until 10 or 11 at night and we spent many days shedding tears with each other. Not only was school difficult, but Andy's job of 15 years took a turn towards an uncertain future. Come April, with a light shining at the end of the school year tunnel, Andy was laid off. We finished the year strong. I was so proud of those kids! They did things they just didn't believe they could do! They were challenged and they met their challenges with strength and determination, never giving up.
We fixed up Cainberly and put her on the market, sure that God would bring a job and a buyer in record time. Six months later, no job. The house had sold and, I'm not even kidding, the DAY before the movers came to empty her Andy got a job offer in Rochester, NY. (This was a huge answer to prayers of its own, but that's a post for another day!) We had already begun homeschooling for the year because we had no idea where or when we'd be moving so with so much transition it seemed the easiest thing to do. Turns out, my friends, that the suburbs of Rochester host some of the top ranked school systems IN THE NATION! God blessed us with an amazing house in an amazing neighborhood in an amazing school district!
Last week my kids became homeschoolers no more. Ben was dropped first, eager and excited. Abby was dropped, nauseous and terrified. After 3 days Ben hit his wall and Abby let me know that, perhaps, we hadn't made such a bad decision about schooling after all! Ben finished out his week strong, but I think PE may be his personal nemesis for a bit! Abby talks about lots of new friends and how much she loves her Military History class.
So why am I sharing all of this? I think I have learned a few lessons in my ten years of homeschooling and this may be the most important......life and people change. Homeschooling my children was the perfect choice for them and for our family. Choosing to discontinue homeschooling was, also, the very best choice for them and for our family. At the onset of our homeschooling journey, I was convinced that everyone should homeschool and that once begun, you only ended with graduation-That there was shame in "quitting" and that it would signify some lack of love for Abby and Ben. Since then, I have learned much more about grace- and about my kids in particular. I've learned that God's plan for us may not look the same as everyone else's and that I should perhaps listen more to Him instead. He holds my children's hearts, and their futures, and He loves them so much more than even I.