It is interesting reflecting on the series of events that lead you to a given place in your life. I think the past two years have fairly led a lot of people to unexpected places. One of those places for me has been homeschooling. We have turned into a homeschooling family.
My oldest was sent home in the spring of 2020 when he was in kindergarten. Then, my middle child started kindergarten the following fall in a virtual setting. About a third of the way through the year, we realized virtual learning did not work well for our family and we had the ability to pull our kids from that platform and homeschool...so we did. Then, fast forward to the fall of 2021, we had every intention of sending our kids back to traditional school. It was to be in-person learning and my oldest was to start the second grade and my middle child was nervously awaiting first grade.
We live in the southern United States, and while numbers of COVID cases were low for the summer, they saw a huge spike at the end of July. School starts at the beginning of August where I live, and my partner and I made the decision that the risk was once again too high to send our kids back to in-person learning in a traditional setting. Thus, we once again decided on homeschool.
It has looked different this year opposed to last year. I have been able to find small group activities for my boys to participate in with children their own age. I feel so privileged that any of this was even a possibility for my family and both of my older kids have really enjoyed homeschool routine, which I try to keep challenging yet predictable for daily stability. We have decided that we will finish out this year as it is, without throwing the kids into traditional learning mid-year, and then make a decision for what is next this coming summer.
And that seems to be what life has turned into a little bit. We live in the moment, make decisions that are best for our family and hopefully our community, and then see what happens. I don't know what to do for next year, but that's okay. It's a strange place to be, I definitely acknowledge that. We never saw ourselves as a homeschooling family, that wasn't our plan, but clearly plans change. Now I have two school-aged children who have really only experienced homeschool. My youngest is going to be preschool age next year and he has absolutely loved having his brothers close by- he really doesn't know anything different either. They all seem happy and healthy and it makes me feel perhaps this is actually a good fit, at least for now.
It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is. And I guess this is an acknowledgment that maybe there is more than one route that is right and more paths depending on the needs of you and your loved ones. This accidental homeschool has worked well for our family; but it would not work well for every family, nor is it even possible for some. It has been both rewarding and exhausting, but I know I am lucky. I probably spend far too much time fretting over it, worrying if I am somehow damaging my children by doing something different, but when I let that go I feel joy.
Maybe I can just embrace this happy accident.