Saturday, September 7, 2013

School's Out... Forever?

There is so much emotion involved when sending your firstborn baby off to her first day of school, and I will openly admit that  the week leading up to her big day I was a hot mess.  Behind closed doors I secretly wept, I worried,  and I prayed that she and I both would be okay on the new journey we were about to embark upon. On one hand I felt incredibly blessed to have a child who wanted nothing more than to go to school, but on the other hand I was mourning the loss of the little piece of her that I just wasn't ready to give up.  I knew I couldn't hold her back. Our little social butterfly who owned every situation that she walked into was ready to fly and I was not going to stand  in her way.  She was going to do great.

I  couldn't sleep the night before the big day.  I was up before the sun and made myself a cup of coffee.  I took some time to enjoy the silence of the darkness and the peacefulness that I seem to find while everyone is asleep.  I patiently waited for the right time to wake up our sweet girl and couldn't wait to tell her it was finally the day she had been waiting for.  I quietly walked into her room, put my hand on her back and whispered to her "It's time to wake up honey. It's your big day!"  Her big blue eyes popped open, and a smile spread across her face, and with that.. she was ready.  

As I watched her confidently walk towards her new little world with a backpack too big and not a fear in her heart, all of my worries began to disappear.  I knew that she was ready, I knew that she would do great and I felt excited for her new beginnings.   Kevin and I stayed to help her get into line and stood proudly behind her as we said the Pledge of Allegiance, which surprisingly was the only thing that day that brought me to tears.  We walked her to her classroom, helped her put her backpack in her locker and that fast she was sitting in a circle on the floor with her classmates. She was ecstatic.  We waved goodbye and walked home with peace in our hearts knowing that the little piece of us that we just left behind was happy. Or so we thought. 

I will save the details and the drama and the two weeks of hell that we went through as a family that brought us to where we are today, but I will say that a full day of school ended up not being a great choice for our daughter.  Each day we dropped her off at school became more and more difficult which was shocking to us because just a few days earlier we had a child who couldn't wait to go to school.  She spent months keeping a watchful eye on the calendar asking us how many more days she had left until school started, always disappointed by the answer not being soon enough.  She wanted this and I was completely blindsided when she wept after her second day of school and said "Mommy, I made a terrible mistake.  I should have never told you I wanted to go to school."  My heart was broken, I panicked and I did what most moms do, I consulted with my best girlfriends.  I called, I emailed, I sent smoke signals.  We never ever expected this and I needed backup.  Most everyone that I talked to said the same thing, we had to tough it out and we had to give it time. I did the best I could to convince myself that time was in fact all we needed and that maybe the problem was that we weren't tough enough .  So the next day when I dropped her off and she clung to my leg for the first time in her life begging me not to leave her,I looked at her teacher and mouthed the words "I don't know what to do!"  Without skipping a beat she said "you have to just leave her.  You have to just go." Right. I needed to give this time, I needed to be tough and I needed to leave her.  And so I did. 

That day I went home and called my aunt, a teacher of thirty years and a resource that I had yet to tap regarding the issue.  She answered the phone and said "I was just thinking about you!" and I suddenly felt I was moving in the right direction.  Two hours later I left with all of the information I needed and the words spoken by my aunt ringing in my head "I am not going to tell you what to do, you KNOW what you need to do.  Trust your instincts, trust yourself."  But I continued to argue with myself and kept thinking this needs more time, it just needs more time.  After two weeks of inconsolable crying, severe signs of regression and a child who was clearly not adjusting, l had had enough with time.  

There is always that little speck of insecurity and doubt that seems to hide behind each choice you make regarding your children.  What will this one choice I make today mean for my child's future. Or if you think anything like me, how will this one choice I make today mess my kid up forever.  With a mind swimming with thoughts of doubts and insecurities, fearing that I was potentially screwing up my child's life forever, I trusted my gut and I pulled our daughter out of school.  I felt like I was going to throw up. Fear washed over my body. What did I just do, what if I made a mistake, what if I wasn't right, what if....what if....what if? However as the day went on I was suddenly  overcome by an intense sense of peace. My doubts turned to hope, my fears to joy, my insecurities were replaced by excitement. I wanted to dance, I wanted to scream, I wanted to celebrate this huge moment in our lives. We just fought for what we believed and we just made the hardest decision thus far in our daughters little life. We were happy and I realized my aunt was right.  I knew. 

We start our first official day of homeschool on Monday.  We have our curriculum, we have our classroom and more importantly we have a kindergartner who is excited to give this another shot. 
The day we told her she would no longer be going to school she was speechless.  But once again  her big blue eyes popped open and a smile spread across her face and we knew she was happy and for now, that is all that matters.  

*Thank you to my husband for your support throughout this entire process. I honestly don't know what I would have done had you not been there for us the way that you were.  You made an incredibly hard decision easier and I will be forever grateful to you for allowing us to explore a different option.  Xo 


  1. Homeschooling is such a journey. I remember when we first started... I wasn't sure what to expect and after homeschooling for over 5 years I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions we ever made.

    So happy that you are taking the step that is right for you and your family.

  2. Is she a young 5? I bawled hysterically through kindergarden mom kept me home another year and I went when I was 6. I have a summer birthday though so I could have done either.

  3. Homeschooling is a wonderful adventure! I don't know where you live, but I live in rural central Virginia and I've found a couple of homeschooling co-ops where my son meets new people and makes new friends. Our brick wall moment with public school happened in sixth grade, when a child who'd entered middle school saying he was going to get two PHD's and be a scientist ended the school year believing he was too stupid to go to community college. That system just doesn't work for some children and I'm happy to have the option of homeschooling.


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