There's a funny thing that happens in the life of a blogger; you start to live two lives.
One occurs in real time with real people, real messes and events of the everyday variety.
The other occurs in story and photo, shared with a broader audience made privy to details that otherwise don't come up in regular conversation.
Once in a while, those two worlds collide.
I'll have coffee or a phone call with a friend I haven't spoken to in a while and she says, "Oh I know all about what you've been up to, I read your blog."
Or I'll write something on the blog and assume those around me have read it and make an offhand comment about something and a friend or family member will say, "Really? When did this happen?"
two different lives that converge and diverge all over the place.
I mention this because this post has been a long time coming and yet for some of you it's old news. Like really old news... for some of you that I don't chat with on a daily basis, it might be just news and for those of you whom I've never met or will likely never meet, it will be some interesting anecdote or cut out the interesting and it will be something no one really cares about much at all....
But it's time I stated to the blog half of my life where the whole Homeschooling Adventure has gone.
And the adventures is over more or less....
But the exciting thing is that the Going-to-a-local-private-school adventure has just begun.
Or is about to begin I suppose.
All summer I've been sitting on the decision we made back in June to send Ava Grace to Covenant Christian in our new town.
I agonized (many of you know how I agonized at length) about whether we should put Ava in a public school or homeschool or in a boarding school on the other side of the world....(okay so that last one was NEVER a consideration...but there are days I tells ya!!!!)
In the end I became pretty comfortable with the idea of myself as a homeschooling parent and even adjusted to the idea of being the strange lone ranger that those parents are often viewed as. " I've been considered a little odd my whole life (believe it or not) and so I may as well homeschool my kids to boot" I figured.
But the penny that derailed the train was when I stopped and wisely decided to just observe Ava Grace. All on her own without my prodding or "guidance" into what she should choose or be excited about, I watched her. The way she played, the way she learned, the way she performed and interacted with other kids and other adults.
It was like "Ava's in the Mist" the way I watched her prayerfully over the rim of my coffee cup or library books, folding laundry and really listening to the way she talked down the hall in her room with her toys.
What I heard really stopped me in my tracks.
She was playing her favorite play game which is ....school.
All of the stuffed toys and dolls etc. were seated around the room as she played teacher, bossing them about in a way that live playmates won't allow.
One of the teddies spoke up. " I don't get to go to a real school... I stay home and do school at my house."
Dolly picked up the conversation "Oh, that's neat."
Teddy replied "Ya, but hopefully someday I will get to go to a real school".
She was like Dorothy on Aunty Em's farm for crying out loud; the big yellow bus that goes down our street was her ticket to a world somewhere over the rainbow and I don't think she was feeling like "there's no place like home."
I sat and thought long and hard after overhearing that little dialogue and the conclusions I came to felt solid under my feet.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that. I believe that some children do really well with a smaller village than others. Just ask my sister, her son's village only needs to consist of her. Ava Grace needs a larger village. She always has.
Ava Grace needs a city.... and not one of those tiny cities that get's that status because they happen to have their own hospital... I'm talking metropolitan area here.
I've long been aware that even from the time she was a tiny baby, Ava Grace's world never comprised of me alone. Of course we've always been bonded and close as mothers and their babies are, but she always loved her babysitters, friends and other family members.
I saw first hand how her preschool teacher last year could get her to try and achieve things that I hadn't been able to.
Even the small amount of homeschooling type activities that I had tried to do with her this last spring were often a struggle. Keeping her motivated and producing was a little exhausting and suddenly it dawned on me how detrimental to our relationship in the long run it might be for me to try and fill the roles of teacher, coach, muse and cheerleader all at the same time.
Of course in different seasons and on different stages I will always be all of those things for Ava Grace as she needs me to be. I am her mother and nothing, if not capable of wearing multiple hats. But the separate offices held by those who might educate her best is where I've decided to throw my lot and trust that teaming up with a great school is going to be in her best interest.
The observing won't stop. I'll probably have to pay much closer attention to my little tadpole out in a world of frogs this year. The prayerful thinking won't stop, nor even my natural mother-anxiety. But with anxiety comes intuition and I feel that I've tapped into that in making the decision to open up the windows and coax my little bird out of the nest just a little more.
Of course she's over the moon; picking out glue sticks and kleenex boxes for the class list was the most exciting errand she'd been on in a while ( and believe me, we've been on some great excursions this summer)
I'm not discounting that there will be some rough adjustment. There will be disillusionment, disappointment and frustrations (mine and hers) and there will always be constant re-evaluation of where we're at and where we're headed. That's the job of being a parent, I believe and that is the most important hat I could possibly wear.