I guess it probably started about the time AJ* (the child formerly known as Fidget) started kindergarten, which is coming up on three years ago already. Mack* (formerly Peanut) had been in school for two years already and I'd always had a problem with how long the school days are, particularly in the warmer months. But obviously, the length of the school day isn't really the strongest argument against public school and so we just left things the way they were.
Every now and again, I'd look into homeschooling a little more seriously, especially since, after a few years of blogging, I'd gotten to know a lot of homeschooling mamas and had begun to see it in a very different light from what I had always previously envisioned. But as always, our convictions weren't strong enough and so we just left things the way they were.
This spring it was different. We REALLY wrestled with it this year. This time, we were [this close] to deciding to make the switch, but just couldn't get past how much it would affect the girls socially. I can't imagine how much it would hurt Mack to be removed from the three friends she's been close with since kindergarten. Even if she had weekly scheduled play dates with her former school friends, it wouldn't be the same. She'd forever be "out of the loop." There is no homeschool group in our area that we'd be meeting with on a regular basis that would have other kids our girls' ages. There are very few homeschooling families in our Valley. And our church is so tiny that even there, there are really no other kids our girls' ages who attend more than about half the time. So "replacing" her school friends with church or homeschool group friends isn't even a possibility.
AJ, on the other hand, would have an opposite, but related problem. She is an incredibly random little girl, giving very little thought to potential benefits/consequences to her thoughts and actions, but when it comes to playing, she always has a preconceived notion of how it's going to go. And when it doesn't go that way, there's almost always a bit of a meltdown before she pauses to reset and move on. (usually with a bit of adult 'assistance') Removing HER from her friends at school and not replacing them with new friends, we felt, would likely only exacerbate this problem.
The school has my girls during their peak learning hours virtually every single day. By the time I get them, they're tired, sometimes frustrated, and ready to relax and do something FUN for a couple of hours before bedtime. I don't blame them. They have a few small daily responsibilities around the home and yard, but I want them to enjoy their "carefree" school years. Saturdays are supposed to feel like a change from routine, too, and though they have a few weekly chores they need to complete then, too, Saturdays are generally reserved for play and FINALLY getting more than just half an hour to do what they feel like doing.
And then I thought of (what I feel is) a brilliant solution: a compromise.
Which I will discuss next week because this post is already too long! ;)
* I decided it was time to move on from calling my girls Peanut and Fidget because they're kinda outgrowing the cutesy names!! Peanut/Mack is 10-1/2 and Fidget/AJ is going to turn 8 next month.