Big changes are coming our way! And no, we're not expecting another baby!! We are sending one of our children off to school. No, not AWAY like to boarding school, but to a classroom school setting. After 6 years of homeschooling Grace, she will be attending a small, private school for 6th grade!
I am a die-hard homeschooler. I really, really think that homeschooling has many, many benefits over a classroom setting. Like the writer of this article over at Passionate Homemaking, I love homeschooling because it lets Richard and I be the primary influence in our children's lives; it cultivates strong family relationships; it encourages a love of learning in our home. With homeschooling, we are assured that our children's education is focused and centered around Christ. We are able to fine-tune their schooling to fit their strengths and weaknesses. Our kids are taught by a teacher who knows them best, loves them most, in an environment that is most familiar and safe to them. An added element with Grace is that she visits her biological dad every other weekend and has influences there that go against much of what we believe. She also is 7, almost 9 and 10 years apart from her younger siblings. These factors make us that much more purposeful about strengthening her family ties and being the strongest influence in her life.
However, I do also understand that homeschooling doesn't work for every family, and it doesn't work for every child. There are seasons! So although in the back of my mind I had always thought we would always homeschool, we have come to a season in which a classroom setting seems best for our oldest daughter.
There are several reasons we felt lead to putting Grace in school, things that can't be helped - like the large age gap and needs of an older child and much younger children - and things that are unfortunate realities - like my lack of discipline and structure, and Grace's difficulty in independent study. Although we still have desires for Grace to learn at home with me as her teacher and her siblings as her classmates, we believe she will benefit more from the structure of a classroom setting. However, this school has many, many of the aspects we love about homeschooling tied up in it. In fact, I think it might be considered the best of both worlds, or at least the closest thing you can get to homeschooling in a classroom setting!
RiverTree School is a Charlotte Mason school. It is small, Christ-centered, filled with good books and nature walks and music and teachers who lead students on a journey of discovering great ideas. Although there is part of me that is sad not to be the primary one going on that journey with Grace this year, I am very excited about this school and I believe whole-heartedly in their philosophies and approach to learning! I think this will be a great year.