Backpack, Activate

parenting, storytelling

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.

no-more-homeschool(I mean, look how old she looks here. I didn’t have my first laser background until I was eleven. Eleven!)

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. ;)

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  • Reply Titania Jordan January 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I tried homeschooling today because school is cancelled due to the POLAR VORTEX. It went well for about 10 minutes. Let’s just say my child is now watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and I am seeking refuge in your blog. I raise my fist of solidarity to you for rocking it with the homeschool as long as you did. It’s something I wish I could do, but sadly, I don’t think it will work for us.

    • Reply Natasha January 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Oh, hey, did you see Netflix has new episodes of Jake? Not that we’re doing the exact same thing….or anything….they’re building a fort while watching, so that’s totally math skills….

      • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        Hahahahaha now I have to go to Netflix to look. I’m waiting for them to release new episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

        • Reply Natasha January 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

          We haven’t watched Daniel Tiger yet….they switch between Jake and Justin Time mostly. I actually really like Justin Time haha-it has a strong female character :)

      • Reply Titania Jordan January 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

        Love it, Natasha. Totally.

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Wowwww the polar vortex reached Atlanta, huh? Crazy!

      • Reply Titania Jordan January 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        Let’s just say I tried that “throw boiling water (far away from me while my kid was inside) in the outside air” thing and IT WORKED.

  • Reply Homeschooling Update. Subtitle: Legos For Real, Y'all - Neon Fresh January 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

    […] Is it hard? Yeah, sometimes it’s hard. I happened to take on a little more work at the same time, so honestly, the easiest thing would be for me to send her to school and have one fewer child home during the day. However, our time together is really sweet and beneficial, IMO, so we’re going to see the year out. [Edit: JK, update here.] […]

  • Reply Titania Jordan January 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Also, you + cute Remmy + laser backgrounds = killing me right now. Love it.

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Reppin’ the 90s haaaard, son.

  • Reply Meagan January 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    oh man, right there with you. first semester was semi-successful homeschooling and now my (also young five year old) just spent his first day at school yesterday. hurt a little, felt a little like a failure. but with a toddler and being 23 weeks with our third plus just moving into a new house, i couldn’t give him the time and attention he needed. I’m open to trying again down the road but i will be way more prepared and also less pregnant and crazy!

  • Reply Cathy January 7, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I’m chuckling looking at the picture because I had the exact same pattern of jumper at my Christian school MANY years ago. Guess some things never go “out”, lol.

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      They’re classic! Kind of like twerking.

      Just kidding.

  • Reply Andrea January 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

    They had school today? Here in N.C. they had a 2 hr. delay b/c it was cold out (no snow, no ice, but 7 degrees is taken seriously ’round here). I homeschool mine and we’re even taking a delay, or I’m being lazy today… Hm. Seriously though. Good for you! Ultimately you choose to give her and you the time you both needed to at home and now you’re both happy about her going to school, I call that a win/win situation.

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      They did! Some towns in our state didn’t, but our schools did. Definitely cold, though.

  • Reply Natasha January 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Pretty sure I wore that uniform K-8. She’s waaaay cuter than I was. Yep. Except they let us wear pants too, but not shorts, because skirts are better on the playground…..?
    Hey, you guys sound like you did excellent last semester, and if you gave her the confidence for in school this year, that’s great :) none of my kiddos (yet, we’ll see how the vampire I’m growing turns out) have allergies, but it must be terrifying to send your kids to school if it’s not allergen free. Kids are dirty, and not the best at washing hands. I’m on board with schools going peanut free, Lu’s 4th grade class is peanut free and it’s NBD. Like, she can have peanut butter at home.
    We’ve kinda been homeschooling Emmett-we’re kinda in the same ‘young 5’ boat. His bday is Oct 9, and since we don’t start until after Labor Day, he could go to Kindergarten in the fall. BUT he will be 4 when he starts, and it’s all day erryday. So I think we’re going to wait a year.

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Hahaha at least she gets to wear sweatpants at gym class, and not culottes. ;)

      I need to send out a PSA that says sunflower seed butter is pretty darn close to peanut butter. Maybe more families would feel better about going peanut-free for the sake of classmates with food allergies.

      Even kindergarten should mostly be about play-learning, IMO. :) But I’m no expert. :)

      • Reply Natasha January 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

        We get sunflower seed butter for variety sometimes :) it’s good stuff. And Nutella….that’s just as healthy…..riiiiight?
        I’m with you on Kindergarten. I like how the Swedes do it.

  • Reply Mary H. January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I did the opposite … well, with my son, at least. He was in public school up until 6th grade. HE is the one who actually asked to be home schooled! I thought he was crazy (or that he’d drive ME crazy). That was 10 years ago. I might be a bit crazier, but it has worked really well for our family and has become more of a conviction than a desire. My son graduated high school as a home schooler, and my daughter, who is now 13, has been home schooled since day 1. She does attend a “school” 2 days a week for subjects that are beyond me now (math & science), but for all intensive purposes, she’s home schooled. When I’ve considered putting my daughter in school full time, whether public or private, I get sick to my stomach (that whole conviction thing). To be completely honest, it would be easier… I could work full time and bring in some much needed income, it wouldn’t look like the library threw up in my dining room, and we could shop at Target instead of the thrift store (although I do love thrift stores). Bottom line – it works for us and for our kids. Traditional school works great for so many families – and I’m sure it will work great for you, because you’re involved! And let’s not forget how smashing your daughter looks in the uniform! Oh my goodness!!

    • Reply Katherine January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I was just with a mom this morning who is doing this with her two oldest, except she is pulling them out for half days of 5 and 6th. She said she was very happy with our school system until they got out of elementary and then felt like she needed to supplement. All that’s to say- I like hearing from people who navigate things in a way that works for their family. There’s no K-12 commitment to any one approach in this house- we’re figuring it out as we go along.

  • Reply ColleenwithJustPaintIt January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    My boys were grown before home-schooling was even a “thing” so I wasn’t faced with this difficult choice. But I will say this, there are TONS of positives about non-home-schooling. (was gonna say “public” but then there’s the “privates” too and that just sounds weird.)

    The whole socializing thing is big. BIG. At least, was for my guys. Remmy will rock this because she HAS had such a solid foundation, and will continue to have that core. So, Congrats, Mama. One more step to raising a very happy, healthy daughter. :)

  • Reply Kim January 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    There is a huge maturity difference between 5-6 that blew me away. They go from being a tall toddler to being a big kid somewhere in there and it is stunning to watch.
    I want to home school badly but my husband insists that the interactions and such are important and our girl is a social butterfly (and LATE birthday). Remmy will do great and I’m sure that you’ve given her a great foundation to build on.
    But seriously – we are having the longest Holiday break ever (because we can’t handle 5 degree temps in GA so they cancelled school) and I think that I would really stink at homeschooling. We have not left the house in a week. Yes. Really.

    • Reply Roo January 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

      We totally get cabin fever. Last year we had a ridiculous storm that dropped thirty six inches of snow on our town. We pulled out every single activity we own, I think.

  • Reply Patti Veeraplin McHugh January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    About the backrubs… my sister and I spent many years giving my mom arm and leg massages. So I laughed a little when I got to that part about backrubs. I guess it’s a benefit of having trainable children. :)

  • Reply Elizabeth January 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Teacher to parent, you deserve a gold star for focusing so much on her readiness for kinder!

    • Reply Roo January 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

      For real, this comment made me tear up a little. Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

  • Reply Kristin B January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I did the same with my daughter. She was a young 5 and so we home schooled for the first half of the year. Then she made the choice to go to school on January 18th. (Yes, I remember the day….that she left me!!!!!) She decided that she would enjoy more socializing with children and less time with her mom {whomp, whomp}. We let her finish kindergarten; although they tested her prior to placing her and she tested out of k and was somewhere in the middle of 1st. However my little girl is a very timid and shy sprite and I didn’t want her confidence being busted by being in a class with 19 others and not have the full attention of the teacher, should she need it. It worked out wonderfully. She made lots of friends, is very confident in herself now, and it was the best choice we ever made.

  • Reply Bill Davis January 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Relax. They were INVENTING the laser when I was eleven :)

    • Reply Roo January 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Bahahahahaha! Bill, that seriously made me lol.

  • Reply Kristin January 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I absolutely love your open-mindedness about this subject! It really shows that you do what is best for your children and family and when its not the best, you’re open to change it up. Kudos!
    I have been toying with and praying over the idea of homeschooling. Right now its just not financially feasible and my kids are happy at school. My 7 yr old daughter says recess at homeschool would be the best ever since we have a trampoline. :)

  • Reply Anna January 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Remmy is killin’ it! Congrats to her getting back in school and congrats to you getting more one on one time with your Cheetos.

  • Reply Marypat Sampson January 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    “I hold on to decisions with a loose grip” …. best parenting, mothering, teaching, life living advice EVER!!! You rock Roo.

  • Reply Leigh Ann January 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    How exciting for her! One glance into our homework time makes it perfectly obvious why I don’t homeschool. I am terrible at the juggling of everyone’s different needs. My girls are BOTH in kindergarten, but they have different assignments and both need my help, and even once given a separate task, there are just so many distractions, and none of them ever seems to desperately need my attention like they do when I’m trying to help one of their sisters. I’m glad you are happy with your choice!

  • Reply Laura @losingrace January 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I love that you gave the home schooling a try, but can also recognize when things are ready to change. Schedules change, needs change, life changes and being able to adapt accordingly is a great skill. You are such a great mom to those girls, they are incredibly lucky.

  • Reply Sandy@The Fearless Scribe January 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I think about homeschooling every time I hear about some tragedy at a school. I can also understand about the health issues. My son is a type 1 diabetic and so far his Elementary School nursing staff have been a-mazing. Next year he starts Middle School and I am nauseous just thinking about if they will take the same good care of him. I think as long as we (as parents) stay on top of our kids’ schooling (and all that it entails), we should all be fine. *fingers crossed*

  • Reply Kelly G. January 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I think this is great! You tried it out, and then did what works best for your family. Also, Remmy looks awesome with lasers.

  • Reply Tara January 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

    No shame in sending her to school! You and jack are great parents because you focus on doing what’s best for your family in the moment! Also, Remmy can rock plaid jumpers like a boss.

    • Reply Roo January 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Thanks, Tara! And she totally can. The plus side is she loooooves wearing it, too! :)

  • Reply Kelly January 9, 2014 at 10:04 am

    As a parent who has done all of the above when it comes to schooling options I 1000% support you on this. It always seems like a single choice, but in reality we choose to do what works best for our family and each child. All 4 of my kids are in school right now, but in the past we’ve supplemented at home, homeschooled, unschooled, and done any number of things that worked for them and our family. I think Bieber has it right when he says ‘Never say never,’ we do what we need to to make sure our kids get what they need.

  • Reply Erin January 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Would you ever consider writing a post about your newly reshuffled work schedules? I really enjoyed when you wrote about Rachel and how that worked. I’d like to hear how you and Jack shifted things and how you came to those decisions? My husband has a flexible schedule with his photography business and I’m thinking ahead to the future and what that could look like with kids and me still having a bit of a career, and I’d love to see some awesome examples. Help me!

    • Reply KNatGU January 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Ditto Erin, My husband works nights and I work full time. Roo, if you can keep sharing about the things that work for you. I feel like a lot of families have non-traditional arrangements these days and there isn’t a great web community for us.

  • Reply Amber January 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I prefer the high backed wicker chair school photo background. So many props in the 90s. Kids these days will never understand the gloriousness.

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    Whoa, great website page layout! How long are you blogging and site-building with regard to? you earn writing a blog seem easy. The overall glance of this site is magnificent, much less the material material!

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