Martha was diagnosed with her syndrome in March, and then hospitalized for a third time in May. We were in the middle of our first year of homeschooling a kindergartener, our middle son was about to turn four, and our youngest boy hadn't even turned two. It was a difficult Spring and we were challenged to question the plans we had so happily made for our family.
One thing we've been forced to consider is moving. We live in a rural area more than 2 hours from the Children's hospitals and specialists. We don't have access to the feeding, nutritional, and positioning experts that a metro area provides. We may have to move. We don't want to, truly. But we've been forced to at least consider it so our family can function.
The second thing we had to take a serious look at is homeschooling. Just like how I love where we live, I love homeschooling, too. But we've had to reevaluate everything we thought we were going to do.
I will admit that deciding whether or not to homeschool this year was one of the most difficult things I have ever questioned. Trying to make the right choices for your children carries with it such an incredible pressure that it actually weighed my heart down. For the better part of two weeks I was brought to tears thinking about the subject.
The children are home. For now. And it's going quite well. We get up early in the morning, and get started and finished before the distraction of Legos and weapon-building commence.
But there are multiple phone calls interrupting our happy learning. I wake up sleeping babies to run to therapy and appointments. I have to rearrange every day to fit that day's agenda. It's a lot to manage. Some days I am prepared to take the pressure of educating my children off of my shoulders and delegate it like I have needed to with several other things in our life. I want to live my ideal, but at what cost?
If the days that don't work take over the ones that do, the school down the road is ready and waiting to accept them. I will honor that. It might be too much. I can say that. I may need to focus on a different child's needs that only I can provide, and let someone else work on the reading and writing. I don't want to, but I will.
Thankfully our family has an army of supporters at our back, each giving us the encouragement we need. Some are my cheerleaders and support every decision we make because they know we are putting our children first. Others know my heart and can empathize with my blubbering ramblings. There is no judgment. I'm a hot mess when it comes to this schooling business, and I'm always so thankful when a friend or family member let's me pour it all out to them. They're amazing, regardless of the decisions we end up making.
Our family doesn't see putting a child in school setting as a failure, or even less-than-desirable. It's just that...for us, we want the kids home, to have our family function in this particular way. To give that up, well, would be difficult, just like moving would. But we also see educating our children as an incredible responsibility. In fact, as one of our greatest responsibilities. And so, if at any point our wants conflict with our responsibilities, we will choose the latter. When that day will come, I'm not sure. Anytime between now and college, which leaves a lot of years for wavering.
I believe this pull of my heart will never go away and I will constantly wrestle with trying to do the "right" thing for each of the children. This year brought a full house, but also a different deck of cards that I hadn't planned on playing. Every option must be considered, and prayed about ultimately. Our daughter is already taking part in the school system (more on that later), and that impact alone requires constant evaluation with how that impacts the rest of our family. It will change our plans, and maybe even our ideal.