All I can say is, "Phew". For anyone who thinks they are missing out by homeschooling their children and not putting them in school. Well let me just tell you to get that thought out of your head right now.
Though I loved St. Thomas this year I'll admit there were some pros and lots of cons to brick and mortar school. I'll start with the pros first:
1. We met so many wonderful families. The girls made some friends this year ( something that was almost impossible to do homeschooling in our area)
2. My girls had wonderful teachers that truly cared about them.
3. We, as a family are finally all belonging to one faith. This Easter we completed the rest of the Sacraments and become full fledged members of the Catholic church. For the past 16 years we never went to a church as a family. I went and bounced around to many Protestant churches and my husband was NOT interested in joining us. Though he did a few times. My husband was brought up Protestant, attended Catholic schools all his life and was a Catholic at heart. I was baptized Catholic, then my parents converted to Protestantism sometime in my young life and I was brought up Protestant. I attended both Private and Public schools and was familiar with the Catholic faith but never had the chance to receive all of the Sacraments. So this Easter I was able to receive Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation. My two youngest were never baptized because I could never settle down and find the right Protestant faith. So Hannah and Maggie were baptized this year.
4. My girls did learn a lot. I was impressed at times with what they did learn. They did improve in some areas that I had a difficult time getting them to do here at home. Especially in the area of writing. Not so much Marilyn but she did improve a tiny bit. And Katie and Hannah's handwriting improved as well.
5. The girls really did have a good time. Father Tom is a super priest. He loves the kids and they love him just as if he were a grandpa to them. And we can't forget Deacon Bill who loves pirates ( good pirates of course :>) Fr. Tom loves John Deer tractor and if you gave him a reason to use it , he would. So there has been hay rides for the kids , riding on the floats at the parades in town. The teachers had fun with the kids too.
6. Marilyn graduated with her class of friends. It was a day of being proud and lots of tears around.
There were some cons for my family though. I wish there wasn't but there's always cons to everything.
1. Getting up early. I admit. I am NOT a morning person. Never will be. Neither is my 11yr old. and 4yr old. It was like trying to get up the living dead.
2. The scrambling in the morning. I'll admit school is 9 months long. Well we never did get a good morning down. Ever.
3. Not knowing what they were learning. Aside from Katie's teacher , I had no clue as to what they did in school, what they were learning and most times wasn't notified of problems with learning concepts until they became a real problem. I did try my hardest to match up what I had here at home but my curriculum I have from homeschooling and their curriculum was totally different.
4. The attitudes. Those started surfacing up.
5. Dealing with Maggie's health problems. She was way more sick than I would have liked her to be. Going to the school made me a prisoner of my own home as I would have to go to the school twice a day. We did hire a nurse but I was still back up when she couldn't be there and every time I left the house the school was calling because , a. Maggie had an accident (either poop or diaper didn't hold the pee) or b. the nurse was sick or she had to be somewhere for something else.
6. Having teachers not meet eye to eye with me. I agreed that Katie needed to be placed in the 4th grade. Katie struggles with school. But I didn't agree with the 1st grade placement with Hannah. I really felt she would have done fine going on to 2nd grade this year. There were times I felt Hannah could be challenged and should have moved up in things but her teacher didn't seem to agree with me. I'm not sure if my children weren't showing their potential at school or what. But I know they are WAY more capable of what their teachers thought they could do. There were also times I wished they didn't move on with a certain topic because they struggled with it and really needed a little more time to understand and digest whatever it was they were having difficulty with.
7.That the school decided to end at the 6th grade. This was Marilyn's first and last year at St. Thomas school. So back to homeschooling we go. Out of all 4 of my girls, honestly, Marilyn is the hardest to deal with when it comes to getting her to do her work. But I refuse, just whole heartedly refuse to put her at the public high school here. Its a despicable place that I don't want her at 6 hrs a day. She may want to play sports or do some extracurricular things there. But she is not going to spend 6 hrs a day there to be teased, tortured, bodily harmed and well, to be dumbed down in the name of wanting to be where her friends are. We can find other ways for her to keep in touch with friends.
I'll admit this was a big year for us with everything and I'm most glad that summer is here and I can get a break. To be honest I am finally feeling a little more relaxed today and feeling a little better than I have all year since the girls are home now. With all that said , Katie and Hannah want one more year. So I say fine. Not thrilled but fine. The school only goes to 6th. Marilyn will be home, and Maggie maybe too. Its still a question mark because I'm really pondering about whether I want to do that all over again. To be honest I don't.
All I know is that summer is finally here and for that I am so glad.
So in the spirit of summer my girls haven't quite got the memo that its summer vacation. They are still in the mood of doing school work so I'll take that. I've decided we'll do school lite during the summer. Just keeping up with reading, math and maybe some writing skills thrown in here and there. Of course with lots of physical activities to round out the fun.
Maggie has decided that she loves 'dribble'. Now I know your wondering what the heck 'dribble' is. Dribble is actually math drill. I'm not sure how she heard dribble when I would ask Hannah to sit and do her math drill. But 'dribble' it is.
Maggie doing her math 'dribble'
We're also going to Washington D.C. for this year's VACTERL Conference. We're really looking forward to it as its the only time we're around anyone who knows exactly what we deal with everyday with our children. Its nice to meet so many wonderful families. Its actually a very humbling experience. Plus its nice to see the kids as they are all in different stages of their lives. It helps us learn what to expect as our children grow up. I truly need this conference this year, I think more than I ever have. I've always have been thankful to go to the conferences, but this year has been such a struggle and such a challenge dealing with school stuff that I really whole heartedly need a good vacation. I need to see these families, talk with them, and glean from their experience.
So here's to summer and all its glory!