We aren't sending Owen back to school this year.
It's been a decision long-in-coming, hard and yet very simple at the same time. Debates rage all around the issue of schooling, and yet all we can do is be true to ourselves and the desires we have for our family and our children. Our peace about the decision has come as we did our best to block out any "supporting" arguments one way or another and trust our hearts.
One year ago I got Owen dressed in a new outfit, packed his lunch and put it in his backpack, took his picture on the front porch, and walked him down to school with his little brothers in the stroller--along for the ride. I dropped Owen off to line up in the gym with the rest of his class, then waited down the hall for his class to walk by on the way to their room. I saw him walking along with the other kids, took his picture as he smiled at me, walked on past us, and disappeared into his classroom. I sighed a brave sigh, then turned around to see this:
Kindergarten was great for Owen. He made friends, learned to read, had a great teacher, and didn't even get in trouble 1/8th of as often as I had expected. There are always little things that bug you, but the main thing that bothered me was simply: Owen was gone from us. And as the year went on it was the same issue: he's gone all the time.
I have always acknowledged homeschooling as an option for my children. We did a "mommy preschool" for Owen, and when we started Owen's speech therapy through the school district services I was a little wary wondering--but what if I don't put him in the school district kindergarten afterwards "will they be mad?". I started considering homeschooling more seriously mid-year for Owen, and felt immediately strongly drawn to the idea. But at the same time I did not feel an urgency, to remove him immediately.
But the more I thought about it the more I felt like this is what we wanted. It's as simple as that. Not "it's the best choice," or "most beneficial," or he'll be the smartest this way," or anything like that. Simply--it is what we want.
What we want is for him to grow up with his brothers. That's how we always imagined our family. For them to learn together, and play together, and develop invested relationships that they can each fall back on for strength later in their lives. We want them to be outside in the natural world. To spend uninterrupted hours playing out in the beautiful fall weather that will quickly be here. I want my children to recognize me and Jeremy as sources of knowledge and guidance in their lives (though not the only source of course). And I want to be privy to watching my children explore and learn, develop and grow. But back again to the most important feeling--that I want them to do it together.
Looking at that picture of Jonas breaks my heart. If the major goals of sending Owen away to school can be accomplished without sending Owen away to school--then that is what we choose.
We choose together.