When we began homeschooling we said that we would keep doing it as long as it worked. I usually said it in a bright and chipper voice which I hoped conveyed that I was no homeschool fanatic; I just chose to do this for now. "My educational decisions are in no way a judgment on your educational decisions" was my message.
It was an act. I freely admit a the tiniest bit of smug superiority, for I loved my children enough to give them my whole life. I was doing for my children all that it was possible to do..... The higher the pedestal we place ourselves on, the further we have to fall when we come thudding down to earth.
I enrolled #3 in public school this morning. Forgive me a residual homeschooler shudder if you will, please. We got to the place where there was no other option. I don't have the time, knowledge, or resources to effectively teach a child with learning disabilities. The teachers in the public school do.
It took mountains of paperwork. It felt like signing my child away. I'm giving a portion of his upbringing up to a woman I've never met, a system I despise. I have to find a way to move beyond that, a way to retrain my 9 years of homeschool experience to adjust to the idea that this will all be fine.
I'm making out my order for next year's curricula right now. I keep running across books and activities I know he would like. I shake myself mentally with the reminder that there are no books to order. His desk will be empty this year. His pencils and crayons will be in another teacher's classroom. His successes will be his and hers, not ours any longer.
He is excited to go and play for the whole day. (I think he may be surprised when he gets there.) I am dreading the mini-loss of my child. I keep thinking about the pictures in our family photo album and how many of the ones I treasure most were taken on field trips to the zoo or a museum, of rainy days spent splashing in the rain in front of our house and calling it "recess", of cookies baking in math class. He will not be there for these things now.
So much of my children's closeness has its roots in their togetherness. Is putting him in school placing him effectively outside of their circle? Have I made of him an outcast? Am I making this a bigger deal than it is?
Most families deal with the agony of leaving a child with strangers when they are small. We've never left our children with anyone other than family for longer than a day, and those people were interviewed and fully vetted. We've agonized over this decision. We've prayed over it. We've talked it to death. It is time to make a leap of faith. I know in my mind that this is the right decision for him.
So how come all I want to do is cry?