Did this past year of school, in whatever form it took, wipe you out? Did the long, chaotic schedule of traditional school, lots of evening homework and rushing about cause too much stress on your family? Did the lack of structure, the desire for a break, and just the plain old exhaustion of planning and implementing your homeschool nearly kill you?
nOne of the greatest lessons I've been learning in my adulthood is, "You have more power to change your circumstances than you think. You can make changes. You can do something different. You can try something new." This is a motto I've said to myself over and over the past two years as we launched The Classical Academy.
As a previous full-time school educator, and now a mom of five kids under age 9, I quickly grew weary of both schooling traditions- the five day a week, full-time outsourcing of education know as public or private school, as well as the full-time, being in charge of everything type of education known as homeschooling.
As a full-time teacher in a traditional five day a week school, I left school at the end of every week thinking to myself, "This is insane. I love teaching. I love the classroom. I love the community. But this schooling system we've created for our children is out of control. It just keeps getting far more reaching into young children's lives, far more pressing with testing and regulations with every passing year. Even in those full-time teaching days I weekly said to myself, "Give me half the time, along with dedicated parents who take charge of their child's education, and we can give a stellar educational opportunity that absolutely offers the best of both worlds."
I'm an educator. I know there is great value in professional teachers and the school community. But, I'm also a mom and when it came time for my oldest to start kindergarten I simply couldn't put him into that kind of schedule or system. I couldn't launch our family and their childhood years into that kind of exhaustion.
So, somewhat on default, we launched into full-time homeschooling. It had all the perks I was looking for: more time with my kids, the ability to have a little bit less chaotic day to day life, no homework evenings, the ability to craft how they view learning without overemphasizing grades and who is better than who, the ability to avoid over-testing and over-categorizing of students' academic achievements, and the list goes on!
Fast forward 5 years. We added 4 more kids to the mix and life was anything but getting easier. The kids loved being able to have a more flexible home schedule but they also desired to have a little community of friends outside of home and church. They wanted to enjoy teachers besides mom and school community functions that their full-time schooling friends had. So, we did what most homeschoolers did. We joined co-ops. Co-ops work for lots of families, but they didn't work for us. As a mom of five I simply found them utterly exhausting. Not only did I have to drag the three littles along, and usually during naptime, but I had to volunteer and teach, and stay there all day. It was my least favorite day of the week.
I began to research and brainstorm, and had many late night conversations with my husband about what we most desire for our kids education and our family. Jon always asks good questions and this time he said, "If nothing was stopping you, in any way, what would you want for their education and for our family?" The big long string of desires and values that I so easily rattled off came down to this.... the best of home AND the best of school. So with a sleeping newborn tucked into the crook of my arm that night, he said, "Launch it. Let's do it." I looked at this baby and thought of the other four kids older than her and thought, "Surely he must be crazy. Right now? In this season of life?" But the reality was, if we wanted something different, we had to make a change. We had to try it.
So, I got a part-time job and began funding the launch of The Classical Academy.
What about the educational piece of your child's life do you want to change? Either with traditional full-time school or with full-time homeschooling?
*too many hours away from home
*no time for anything in the evenings
*too much focus on testing
*too much homework
*siblings barely ever seeing each other
*no break for mom
*the headache of curriculum choices
*worry over their progress or lack thereof
*just wanting them home more without having to be in charge of everything
*better social environment
*a childhood where they get to actually have more time to play and be a kid
If you want MORE....no one is stopping you, but YOU. Finances? We've been there. We are always there. Get creative! You can most often find a way. You want to see your kids more? You want a more flexible schedule? What are you doing about it right now? The best thing I've learned over the last two years is that we all have choices. If you want to live a different life then you might have to make some different choices. You can't keep doing the same thing and hope for different results.
Scary? For sure. Is it going to cost you? Yes, yes it is (in more ways than you probably think). Is it hard doing something new? It sure is. Is it hard going against what society says you should do to educate your kids? Yes, definitely. But is it worth it? Oh goodness, absolutely!
Change is always hard, no matter what category of life it's in. The difficulty increases when it costs you time, or money, or simply a new way of viewing something. If the change goes against the natural grain of what society is doing, you may experience more difficulty or more peer pressure to not go out and try something different.
But what if the change brought you the breath of fresh air your family was looking for? What if the change allowed your kids to grow up at home with their siblings, to spend more unrushed hours at home than away from home? What if the change allowed less stressful evenings with no homework, time for sports, friends, and family nights? What if the change gave your kids something for themselves- a school community that provided them with all the fun aspects of school but yet didn't overrun their lives? What if the change meant that you gave up planning and choosing the curriculum for the trade-off of getting a break to be the best you can be for your kids, as well as being able to enjoy the days your kids are home, helping with their schoolwork instead of doing ALL the full-time schoolwork? What if the change gave you a break and made you a less stressed out mom?
You may never know the answer to any of those questions if you don't take a step into the unknown, into something different, into something less traditional.
Tired of whatever you are doing that is simply not working or draining the life out of your family? Contact us and come see how Fishers first classical, Christian, university-schedule school may be exactly what you've been looking for!