Sometimes we make decisions in life, that while we know deep down are good and right for us, still scare us to death. Such is the nature of the change we are about to undertake in our family, beginning tomorrow morning.
Now that I have school aged children, I have been forced to contemplate the goods and the bads of the public school system. Good, like when my children have teachers that are wonderful and that they adore. Bad, like a principal who thinks his PhD gives him super intelligence while simultaneously turning all parents in to idiots. Good, like a few moments of peace and quiet during the day. Bad, like finding out that all but one of your son's friends (aka the other boys in his class) at school is on a behavior plan. The world is such a different place now from when we were in school, and Jon and I had long discussed the probability that eventually we would no longer feel comfortable sending our children to school for a variety of reasons. I knew that schooling my children at home was likely in my future. I just pictured it further down the road! Several months ago I became aware of the public online school option that is available to families via a number of companies these days, thus offering a way to supervise my children's education more directly without having to totally go it alone. It also didn't hurt that the programs are free and offer tremendous opportunities for socialization and extra-curricular activities. As a result, I began researching one company in particular, and although it was extremely difficult to make the final decision, two weeks ago we officially enrolled Derrick and Abigail in Connections Academy for the coming school year. At this point I ought to be a paid spokesperson for them because I have shared my research with 3 other families in our area wards who have now enrolled 6 more children between them. Our curriculum materials arrived on Friday along with a loaner computer, and classes begin tomorrow morning. If I'm being perfectly honest, I'm a bit terrified. This is going to be incredibly difficult and I've had several moments of doubt as the reality of it all sets in. Ultimately I must remind myself that we chose this for the best interests of our children. That while social influences were a contributing factor, our main reason for choosing to switch at this time was mostly academic and that my job is to provide my children the best education possible with opportunities that aren't available to them in a small town, even if that means I have to do it at home to make sure their abilities are nurtured instead of ignored because teachers are spread too thin. I can do this. I might go crazy in the process, but at least my children can start to learn a foreign language to yell at me with!