& so begins my catch up blogs… I have been very lax in getting my thoughts down ‘on paper’ in the last few months, but in my defence, there has been a lot going on. Hence the several posts that will follow this one. So, get a cuppa, find a comfy chair, and put the kids in front of a suitably awesome PG movie so you’ll have a good hour and a half of peace and solitude.
During 2016, I started to have lots of things about a local state high school come across my radar, whether it be in person with a friend, a FaceBook post, something in the local paper etc etc. I didn’t think too much of these things coming up as we do know quite a few kids that go to this school, so I was really encouraged to hear these positive things about a school that years back had quite a bad rep. It was encouraging to also find out that young adults from our church were heavily involved in chaplaincy programs there.
As more and more things kept pooping up on my ‘radar’, I began to seek The Lord on these issues, originally simply asking why it kept popping up, and then I began asking what it meant (if anything) for our family. I strongly felt lead to begin looking into the school itself, made a few calls, met with a few parents of kids there. (Does this sound at all familiar to the beginning of our HS journey ?? ha ha)
As I have each of the 3yrs we’ve been a HS family, I would ask the kids around the time of the September school hols if they are happy to continue with Distance Education at home, if they’d like to return to mainstream school (I never wanted to be a HS Mum that MAKES her children stay at home.) Master 11 had had a particularly rough school year, part of this was because he had some serious eye issues, needing 2 surgeries in July & Nov, but mostly because his older siblings had moved onto online DE curriculum, while he remained on the ACE paces. Compared to what they were doing, his looked boring, uninteresting and without end. Now, a quick disclaimer here… I am in no way bagging out the ACE Curriculum as I think it’s great !! I’m simply relaying HIS feelings about it. We know a good dozen or so adults who went through their education with predominantly, if not all, ACE curriculum, and they went straight into Uni and onto successful careers. 2 of them are teachers at the local Christian school. So it would seem ridiculous to not see the ACE curriculum for what it is, a full & comprehensive educational material.
So, I wasn’t at all surprised that Master 11 was the first to put his hand up… and rather quickly at that. There were some health issues to deal with first though, but that’s for another blog post.
Master 14 was quietly interested in the idea, but wasn’t at all committed to the decision until a good two months later. Miss 15 was barely interested at all. I was fine with that as I was only going to do what was best for each child. If that meant one back at school and two still at home, that was fine with me.
We went along to our first meeting with the school guidance counsellor. DH wasn’t able to attend, so I dear friend of mine came along, which I was very grateful for. To get her thoughts and opinion on the school, the staff, their practises etc etc was a blessing beyond measure !! Coz, guess what… sadly, some people are so willing to paint a negative light on a decision you are considering… whether it be to homeschool, return to school, sell your house, have a baby (I’m not), follow the Lord’s leading in changing churches, etc etc etc. With this in mind, it’s always GREAT to have a good Godly friend to walk alongside you. Their wisdom will help you through the fog of negativity and/or confusion !! Even better.. (if you’ve read my previous post re getting yourself into a Lioness Pride, you’ll see this coming), have yourself a PRIDE of warrior sisters…. it’ll help you so much in any decision making process, as well as just life in general !!
We headed home from the school that day with the enrolment forms (and copious amount of other forms etc) with 2 children completely on board with going back to school. Master 14 was now quite excited about it, which would end up building up to an almost annoying excitement which involved a comment nearly every day that went something like “Why do we need school holidays? Why can’t we do back to school now?” I simply said to him that the many students that have been in mainstream school all year would strongly disagree with him.
Miss 15 was getting more and more interested in going back to school, but still had concerns about the distraction element. She loves that she can work uninterrupted and without having to deal with break time social dramas. She eventually made the decision to go back to school, knowing that she needs to be very conscious of making good friendship choices and also have good time management skills. She sadly decided to not continue dance in 2017 in order to be able to knuckle down to her schoolwork. I’m not really sure how I feel about this decision as for one thing, she’s very good at it, and two, we all need an outlet to keep us balanced. I’m hoping the walk to and from school each day will be enough physical activity in the beginning, and maybe once she’s found her rhythm, she’ll also find time for another interest etc. Having said all that, YAY for her commitment to her long-term goal of being a Paediatric Nurse !!
Now, speaking of walking to school… that in itself was another clink in the chain towards going back to school. To walk to this school from where we live now would be approx 45mins, if not more. While we do have a school bus stop right at the top of our street, I wasn’t keen on the kids getting the bus. This is more about me being far away from the school if I was needed for some reason, then me having any issue with them getting the school bus. So began the more intense hunt for a house close to the school and the shops (for me as I don’t drive, and for the kids to get to work.) We had already been looking around at houses for months, as well as slowly prepping our house for sale, as we wanted to downsize, so it was simply intensified.
We had almost given up finding anything when this lovely home became available. It was super close to the shops and school. We went through the motions, but sadly those motions included finding a nice termite infestation in the walls of this lovely home. While it was super upsetting at the time, it became apparent that God had His hand over the whole thing all along, as just as this contact went belly up, an even greater house came on the market. It is a little further from the shops and school, but still very walkable, and all in all is a much more suitable home for us.
Our house went on the market as soon as we’d signed on the first home we found (the bug eaten one), but as yet we haven’t had a buyer put in an offer. Lots of interest though, so that is promising. I would have loved to have moved by start of school but even if we can’t, we know that God has it all worked out and we trust in His plans !!!!
While all this was going on, we continued with our interviews at the school, as each child needed a seperate enrolment interview with their respective year level HOD. All 3 of the kids were getting really excited about going back to school, while Mum was a little (ok, a lot) teary at the idea of sending them off each day and not having them at home. We bought uniforms and ticked all relevant boxes for what needed to be done prior to commencing school. (well, except for stationary supplies… I’m still to do that job.)
Master 11, going into High school, was able to attend a ‘High school for a day’ orientation. It involved an assembly/sorting of classes and a tour of the school, both of which parents came along to. Once those were done, the parents headed home and our little grade 7s were left to finish their full day at school. At the end of the day, there was much excitement about new friends, new teachers and new routines. He was a little anxious about knowing where he needed to be and when, but I assured him he’ll pick it up in the first week.
Master 14 had been beyond pleased with the subject selection he had access to. He seriously was blown away by the subjects he had available to him. (Hence his daily excitement and anticipation to return to school.) Each of the kids know people in their respective year level, so none of them are heading back to school with any nervousness re friendships. I think this is a HUGE blessing for them heading into a new school !!
Also, personally knowing the President of the P & C has set this Mumma’s concerns to rest. Being a Christian family heading into a secular school, I have my concerns if I let my mind run away with them… but The Lord has constantly been laying on my heart we are to be Salt & Light to the world. This has also been a talking point with all 3 kids, that they are going into this school as a follower of Christ. They have a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. I’m so pleased to be able to have confidence that all 3 have taken this onboard.
There are such exciting times ahead !!! Still some uncertainty with our house not being sold etc, but as I’ve already said, we TRUST in the will of The Lord !!!
Here is a couple of verses that have been particularly helpful to me thoughout this time
Psalm 77:19 – Your road led by a pathway through the sea – a pathway no-one knew was there.
& of course…… Proverbs 3 – Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and will make your paths straight.
And so….. Day 592 was our last day as a Homeschooling family. This day was sad in lots of ways, but also very exciting. We have learnt so so much in these 3yrs being together basically full-time !! We haven’t always gotten it right.. and we still have so much to learn about ourselves and each other, but while our schooling situation may be changing, our TEACHER has not !!! We continue to lean on HIS teachings, and strive to live by HIS ways.
Blessing Peeps !! xox