Motherhood is full of decisions. I guess in many ways I knew that, I was somewhat prepared for that, but it is only whilst you are living through it you realise just how many decisions you have to make in a day. This is perhaps part of the reason I give my girls choices on things such as their clothing. That way it is one less thing for me to have to decide. Of course sometimes these choices are taken away from us and decided for us. Breast vs Bottle for example; I have both chosen to bottle feed and had that choice forced on me (to my benefit I hasten to add but my hand was forced). I thought that was one of the biggest decisions I would have to make for my daughters. It was the start of their life after all. But then Ellie hit school age. Holy Cow what a stressful time that was; visiting local schools and choosing which one to pick. Then, someone mentions homeschooling! WHAT?! I didn’t know that was actually something that was an option. Well, as I sit here now, typing away whilst Ellie is in school during her third week I can very safely say I am glad we didn’t homeschool her.
The Merits of Homeschooling
I am not totally narrow minded; I can see the merits of homeschooling and why people choose that route for their children. The slower living; learning on your own schedule and on your own terms. Spending all day outside exploring and spending quality time with your children. Yep, I can see the appeal. But it still isn’t for us as a family. Realistically it was never even on the cards but on the dark winter months last year whilst discussing the pros and cons of the local schools it did cross my mind as an option. Ellie just seemed too small.
Fast Pace Living
We live our lives at a fast pace, it isn’t for everyone but we are happy in cities and driving around towns. We are not country folk, not yet anyway, and a slower living pace only appeals to us when it is 30 degrees on a beach somewhere. Slowing down to homeschool will only stress me out more.
I like the social side school can offer my children that I can’t. Yes, I have friends and yes, most of them have kids. However they aren’t all the same age as my children and realistically there are not that many of them. I strongly believe social skills are important for children and whilst some kids may well get that at home my two do not. They have each other and most days they are inseparable. I can already see them as two ninety year old spinsters sat in their shared living room watching Eastenders on the TV. It is lovely that they are so close but I feel it is important for both of them to learn to be without the other and to have their own friends outside of the house.
Routine is so important and whilst I am known as the Routine Queen in my family it does help having an authoritative figure back me up when I say things like ‘Don’t eat with your mouthful’. When a teacher backs up my rules Ellie realises it isn’t just me nagging her again. I am enforcing actual life rules. Ellie likes rules; Ellie likes routine. This week she has been coming home and playing ‘teacher’. It is quite the eye opener to what she does in a day. Everything about her role play is positive and she is obviously very happy with the rules and routine of school.
As an ex-nurse people assume I am super patient. Well, I am not. I do possess a higher level of patience to some people (looking at you Hubby), but my patience does run out very quickly. It always has. And as much as I hesitate to admit this… My patience is extremely short with Ellie. There is something about the way we react to each other and speak to each other that can
at times all too often cause us to get cross with each other. To be frank she seriously knows how to push my buttons and I react far more than I should. I am working on it but it is tough. Homeschooling would push us over the edge on a daily basis.
Ellie is Thriving
One of the main reasons I am glad we didn’t homeschool Ellie is because of how her transition to school has gone over the last couple of weeks. I don’t want to jinx it but I am going to say this anyway. Ellie is THRIVING! She has always been shy and timid, I have always felt that she puts some of this on and that really she has more confidence locked away somewhere inside. Well I was right. She is so happy in herself. Yesterday she skipped all the way home. She tells me all about her day without me having to ask leading questions. Apparently she has even made a new friend and she told me her name! When Ellie was at preschool I used to have to guess the names of the other kids and hope I eventually landed on the right name (there are a lot of names in this world!)
Obviously school isn’t for everyone. I loved school but Hubby hated it. Some children will thrive more with home schooling and some need an educational setting. The process of having to find the right school to fit my kids was unbelievably stressful last year and it really made me question everything we were doing. Two weeks in I already feel we got the best school possible for Ellie, and hopefully Trix in a couple of years. There will be challenges over the years to come; their will be fall outs with friends, there will be nits and sickness. But for now we are happy because Ellie is happy. I couldn’t have wished for a better transition and that is why I am glad we didn’t homeschool.