Do not sow a crop of good intentions in your neighbor's garden, but cultivate your own with diligence.~St. Francis de Sales
I came across this quote recently, and it seemed especially appropriate in light of our decision to end homeschooling with the completion of this school year.
The one thing I've discovered about myself through all of this is that cultivating my own little family is so much more difficult with homeschooling. That doesn't really make sense to me...you'd think having the kids here with me all the time would make all that goes into that so much easier. All of the things I normally do to make our home a haven - from cooking and baking to cleaning and even decorating - have become more of a burden since we began this school year, as has simply being mom.
I've been so frustrated by that fact. I had this vision that bringing the kids home would be this idyllic bliss and it's been anything but. As prepared as I was, and as realistic as I was about how difficult it would be and the work involved, it wasn't enough.
Not in this season of our lives.
I'm still questioning the decision to send them back next year just a little bit. I've been told that the first year is the most difficult, and there is part of me that clings to the hope that next year could be better. It hasn't been a failure...just difficult. In no way has this changed my commitment to homeschooling, either. It is an important and viable option for many families and I do still wish that it were one that worked for our family, and one that I will consider again if the time arises.
And then I read this blog post this morning on Life As Mom, and it struck so deeply.
What are my goals?
What is non-negotiable?
Does this activity fit this season of my life?
How are these all working together...or are they working together?
Right now, homeschooling isn't meeting our goals, it is most definitely negotiable and it's become fairly evident that it doesn't fit this season of my life or my children's. It's not working.
That, ultimately, is why I've felt the need to send the kids back to school next year.
The positives have definitely out-weighed the negatives of this homeschool year... and if it were simply a case of pros and cons this would be so much easier. Cultivating our little garden takes so much time and care...the decision rests on so many different needs and necessities. Next year, I do pray that tending my family will be a bit easier.
Side note...apparently, I've sparked a bit of gossip with my earlier post about choosing not to homeschool next year and I do feel a need to address it. I would certainly hope that people would have better things to do than speculate about the finances of the Widlund family. Yes, the budget was a big factor in our decision in sending the kids back to school next year. But here's the thing - no one really knows what goes on with our finances but me...so please don't feel it's your job to go around telling others that we're in dire straits. That's simply not true. Like just about every other family I know right now, things are tight. As responsible adults, we're simply prioritizing and making choices based on where we feel God is leading us....just like we've done with every decision we've ever made as a family.