So summer is winding down. Not necessarily weather wise, but free-time wise.
I went back to work this week and K will be starting at public school next week! We had a pretty nice summer. Didn't get a chance to do anything very different or particularly exciting, but I enjoyed getting a little more time with the kids. We had a garage sale and our usual visit to Ohio for Jim's family reunions. The kids did the reading program at the library and a few of the events they offered as well. We finally got our beach time in last week (can't believe the weather and schedules didn't cooperate until AUGUST for us to finally get to the beach).
After two years of homeschool, we decided K is ready for public school. I was pretty much ready last year, but I didn't feel like K was emotionally ready yet. He's a pretty sensitive kid who has some personality quirks, so we felt it was still best for him to be home as he continued to develop. We wanted to give him a strong character base before sending him out to test it in a larger arena. But last year was really difficult for me, and therefore also for the kids. I was sick a lot, and often depressed and overwhelmed. It was hard to find motivation to keep teaching K while doing everything else that needs doing with two kids, a husband, a home and a job (among other things).
All the struggles brought me to a point of realizing that despite the pluses of homeschool, I don't think it is right for K and us this year. We decided early on that homeschool would be a "one year and one kid" at a time endeavor for us. Jim and I both liked school as kids and both did well in that environment. While we are very aware of the negative aspects of public education, there are plenty of great things as that I think we were ignoring for a while.
K very much needs a schedule. He thrives in knowing what is expected and what comes next. And I am not organized enough to give him that the same way a teacher in a school will be able to. He's also ready for more challenges, from other kids and from a professional teacher. As an intelligent but also very strong willed and negotiation-oriented kid, we were hitting so many barriers to him learning from me. Add in my exhaustion and constant sickness and I just didn't have enough oomph left in me to fight him tooth and nail for every scrap of learning that took place. He is a relentless seeker and loves to be in charge. I also like to be in charge, but try hard not to be over bearing. And the only way to move forward with K a lot of the time is to out work him, out think him and out plan him. And then you still only have a 50/50 chance.
We decided in the spring that the public school would be our choice for this year's schooling. I started with the eye exam and making the other doctor appointments, and then otherwise prepping him for the change. We got registered a couple of weeks ago, have most of the supplies bought and packed in his backpack, and have talked and talked about what we think it will be like this year. Yesterday we found out who his teacher will be, so that's exciting. Now we just have to wait until Thursday!
I don't expect public school to fix all of our problems with K's behavior and learning. But we're all really excited for a new chapter to start. I'm looking forward to finally having some time with S one-on-one. K tends to dominate any interaction he's involved in, or egg things on when it's difficult, so it will be nice to be able to focus on S. Especially since he's three now and needs more disciplinary attention. (Ah, the joys of three.) But now I'm free to take S to story time at the library, maybe sign him up for a Park District class or two. It sounds nice to have just one kid around for part of the day!
K is super excited about school for himself. We've discussed that it won't all be perfect, but we all feel it will work really well for K's personality. He's excited to make some new friends and have gym and lunch time and his own classroom and desk.
I'm taking the new school year as a cue to try some new things for our schedule too. The looseness of our homeschool "schedule" was a bit tough on me also since I work well having deadlines and guidelines myself. So I have some plans to have a morning and evening routine that will help make the school year run more smoothly. It feels like a new beginning. And that's always fun!