I sent Remmy to school yesterday. I had warned myself this would happen, which is why I hold on to decisions with a loose grip and murmur things like “We’ll try it for now” and “Never say never” and “I could go for a bag of Cheetos right now.”
Let me first of all say that I love homeschooling, and I think homeschooling is a fantastic option for a lot of families. Last semester, Remmy and I had a great time sitting and reading and learning about math via playing with Legos. It was so nice to have one-on-one time and watch her mind work. Her reading skills are on point, she loves writing stories, and the fact that she walks around a bookstore and nearly wipes out after hitting a stand of bookmarks because she’s busy reading the book we’re about to buy makes my heart swell with pride.
The major reasons that made me want to keep her at home no longer apply.
1) She’s no longer a young five. This sounds ridiculous, I know. I KNOW! But she’s five and a half now, and somehow five and a half is way different than five. I cannot explain the maturing that happened in six months time. I would like to chalk it up to the time we spent together, but it probably has more to do with age development or the vitamins I’ve been giving her or something.
2) Her school is peanut-free. I kept thinking about how kindergartners aren’t exactly the cleanest lot of humans on the planet, and how even if Remmy was at a peanut-free lunch table, some kid who didn’t wash his hands very well could touch a doorknob, then Remmy would touch that doorknob, and I’d have heart palpitations thinking about how crucial the minutes are between peanut exposure and a swift stab of an Epi-pen into her thigh. Sophie had the tiniest exposure to an allergen two weeks ago (deets here), and within a minute I had popped a Benadryl tab in her mouth and had an Epi-pen raring to go should her throat start closing up, BUT I’M HER MOM. And as their mom, I am well aware of how poisonous certain foods are to their bodies, so I react swiftly, and without hesitation. I cannot ask that of a five year old.
3) Our household dynamic is sort of changing. The conveniences we had before (flexible work hours; Rachel here four days a week) have changed a little. I’ve taken on more work, and Rachel now comes one day a week (Jack and I have shifted schedules to accommodate the change), so I had to recognize that I cannot fully give Remmy what she needs and also stay sane (which is absolutely what my family needs). Now we keep afternoons until bedtime gloriously work-free, so I’m happy to get some quality time with all three girls sans internetty distractions. Call me if you want to setup a play date. We’ll fire up the Learjet and meet you in Indiana or whatever.
To top it all off, I received a lovely note from a friend of mine whose daughter is in Remmy’s class with an essay about how Remmy (and eventually Sophie and Minnie) would absolutely thrive at having Mrs. So-and-So as their teacher. I read it and was like, “Well, this is compelling,” showed it to Jack, and it was sort of the final nail in our homeschooling coffin. Sounds sad, right? I don’t mean it to sound sad. With all decisions, I’m holding onto this one loosely as well. I’m totally open to homeschooling again, if the circumstances were right. In the meantime, there are lessons to be learned in the everyday, so I’m planning on teaching them how to code my website, blowout my hair, and give backrubs. (Kidding! Mostly.)
As for Remmy, her excitement has been palpable. She’s enjoyed the time at home, but over the past two months, made it clear that she’d like to be at a school every day. FINE, Remmy, more Cheetos for me. ;)