My dh recently decided that it would be in our best interest for him to take an additional year to finish his PhD. The original plan for for him to be done at the end of this school year, so now he will finish Spring 2009. I am really OK with it. We live in a nice house. We love Colorado. We have friends here. Yes, our dying stuff (computer, dryer, car, couch, etc.) will have to last one more year, but overall we are happy to stay another year.
Because of this news, my perspective has changed on many things. We have a program in our area where homeschooled kids can go to classes one day a week and it is (mostly) paid for by the local school district. It seemed like a great opportunity, but we already have a co-op that we go to one day a week and Arwen is too young to go this year. With this in mind and thinking that we would be moving before Arwen would be old enough to go, I decided to stick with our co-op and hope we could find a program like this wherever we moved. THEN we find out we're staying another year. At this point I thought it was too late to sign up, but just a few days after finding out about our change in plans, a friend emails me to tell me that she signed up at the last minute and that it was still not too late to sign up.
I had one day to decide. Thoughts whirled through my head. In the end I decided that the advantages for my older girls would be worth possibly having to entertain my lonely youngest one day a week.
This is week 2 and I am so happy that Sierra and Kali are able to go to this program. My motivation for signing them up was for them to have the social experience of going to classes with other kids, learning to be more independent by being away from mommy (and each other), and for me to have one day to myself each week (well, next year when Arwen can go...) What I didn't consider was how much they would learn in the classes. Sierra is taking Ameritowne, Music, Drama, Art, PE, and Geography. Every class seems to be teaching new things that we haven't learned at home and things that compliment what we are learning at home. Kali is taking Science, Math, Drama, Language Arts, Art and PE.
It is such I wonderful feeling to not have to teach EVERYTHING. This program seems to be a great compromise. They get the learning experiences of going to school one day a week and get to be homeschooled the rest of the week. I get a day to myself one day a week, but don't have to send my kids away 7 hours a day 5 days a week.
Even with Arwen home, I am getting a lot done during this one day a week. Arwen has mostly been happy to play on her own. I am also taking time to "do school" with her while her sisters are away. It is really nice to be able to teach her to read and do simple math activities without having to fit it in on the same days that I am working with the older girls.
Now I just have to decide what to do about our co-op. I am already committed to teach Poetry to the older group and Picture Books to the youngers in the Fall. Luckily, it is only a 7 week session. There are a couple of other moms doing OPTIONS and co-op and we are going to push for a shorter spring session, maybe 10 weeks. For previous sessions, I have taught drama and put on a short play. I would like to do one more play in the spring. For next year I am definitely up in the air. I think I will want to quit the co-op and just do OPTIONS. Three days a week may be not enough time to "do school" at home and we like to go to Park Day on Friday afternoons. Who knew there would be so many homeschool "options"???