Monday, May 28, 2012

Making Decisions

Sometimes I feel incapable of making the decisions I need to make for our family. Every choice has advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes I can think myself dizzy through all of the options and still not come to an answer.

I am currently trying to make a large decision about homeschooling for our family. I shouldn't say "I." I should say "we." For of course Jason and I will make this decision together. We have been doing a lot of research, reading, discussing and praying. But in the end, although I will have Jason's input, he will basically trust me to make the final decision because I am really the one doing most of the homeschooling. Of course I appreciate his faith in me. But do you ever feel like you just wish someone else would make your decisions for you?

For the past two years, we have been enrolled in the Edmonds Homeschooling Resource Center - Edmonds Heights. It has been wonderful. We have met a lot of other wonderful homeschooling families, which was our main goal when becoming enrolled. Joshua has taken some fabulous classes - Spanish, American Sign Language, Legos, Math and Science. He has enjoyed them all and has made some good friends.

However, one of my main frustrations has been the amount of time this has taken out of our schedule. All of these classes were electives. They're great and all, but after reading The Well-Trained Mind, I began to realize that I need more time to teach the basics and teach them well. ASL and Lego class are fun and all, but they become a hindrance when they are taking up my time to teach math, reading and writing.

There are only so many hours in a day and I am continuing to realize and become more adamant in my need to be very selective in what we do with our time. I simply cannot justify spending hours a week on electives when I don't have time for the basics.

Last week I became aware of another program. It is another A.L.E (Alternative Learning Experience) that supports homeschooling families called Meridian Parent Partnership Program or MP3. It provides much of the same support that Edmonds Heights does, except that it also has an extension program, meaning that we do not have to take classes on campus. We can have their support and do all of our learning at home, supplementing with outside lessons and tutors just when we think it's necessary.

We will still have an advisor who will help us to create a Student Learning Plan. We will still have a lot of support from Washington State and will have assistance in understanding homeschooling laws and with student assessment.

We would also have more freedom and more time. But we won't have the community that we have at Edmonds Heights. Joshua has made friendships with many of the children he has had several classes with. I can see the advantages of both scenarios. Edmonds Heights gives us more of a community, but it takes away from our time to be teaching important subjects. MP3 doesn't offer the community, but gives us more freedom and time.

What's more important? How do I decide between the two?

Well, right now I am just buying myself some time. Both Joshua and Noah are enrolled in Edmonds Heights for the fall. And tomorrow I am mailing in the registration forms for MP3.

I have also talked with the boys a lot about it and asked for their opinions. I've let them know what we are considering, how things would change and how we would make it work. They seem to be accepting of the idea of change.

If I had to decide right now, I would choose MP3. I feel like it will be easier to make up for the disadvantages of MP3's program than it has been for me to make up for the disadvantages of Edmonds Heights' program. I can more easily create and work on friendships and community for my children than I can create more time. If we decide to go with MP3, I will make a large effort to stay in touch and continue to nurture the friendships that Joshua (and Noah and I) have made at Edmonds Heights.

When it comes to decisions like this, I am comforted when I remember that nothing is permanent. If we make the switch and don't like it, we can always switch back and that's okay.

It's just too bad that homeschooling and life do not come with instruction manuals :)

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