This picture is from their first day of school this year. Caitlin was going into 4th grade, Hunter into 2nd.
Our district launched a language immersion program the year Caitlin started kindergarten. "Perfect!", we thought. And it is perfect. For Caitlin. She loves everything about it. The public school environment, with all its rules and schedules, fits her little law-abiding heart perfectly.
Hunter, on the other hand, is a square peg in a round hole. He is an August baby, so we considered "red-shirting" him. But academically, we knew he was more than ready for school. This child taught himself to read when he was 4 years old. He read the first three Harry Potter books before his 6th birthday. However, from the first week of kindergarten, he has hated school. Gradually, that feeling has morphed into an apathy about learning in general... which breaks my heart. We saw a reflection of all this negativity begin to emerge in his behavior, as well. The youngest in his class, Hunter was easily influenced, and this often led to notes from the teacher and phone calls from the vice-principal.
Over the years, Chris and I had countless discussions about what we could do to help/discipline/change Hunter's attitude about school. We tried punishing him, we tried rewarding him, we tried reasoning with him, we tried ignoring the situation. We thought about pulling him from the immersion program, switching him to a different school altogether, or perhaps just shipping him to the moon.
One option came up again, and again. Homeschool. But we never took it seriously. There were too many reasons why it wouldn't work: I was in grad school, Caitlin loved public school, we couldn't afford to lose my income. We couldn't have one kid in public school, and one at home. That was crazy talk. Then, while digging through her archives (a treasure trove of ideas, by the way- I highly recommend it), I read this post from The Nester, and it was like someone lifted a weight from my shoulders. We needed to do what was best for each of our kids, even if that was something totally different. That was all I needed. I started to research homeschool like crazy.
One of the biggest sources of inspiration I have found is Edie's blog. Although I had devoured every other section of Life in Grace (oh, those kitchens! I die!), I had studiously avoided the homeschooling posts. And here's why: I was jealous. I wanted that. I wanted to teach my children, read with them, explore with them. But I was letting worry, doubt, and insecurity stand in my way. With a lot of prayer, a few family meetings, and a leap into the unknown, we are moving past that.
Next year, Hunter will be homeschooled. I plan to follow Edie's example and use a classical model of education. I am so excited to begin and, more importantly, so is Hunter. I know it won't be easy, and we are going to have to make some sacrifices, but this is where God has led us. This is what is best for our family.