"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Time for a change

So, Geoff and I have made a decision.  We sat down together and talked it out like adults.  We are learning to communicate better and we are learning to hold each other accountable for being honest and forthright and to stand by our convictions.  Luckily, in this case, we were on the same side.

We have decided to homeschool Sebastian.

Yay!  I know!!!  yeah, it's really not a big deal. 

But it is, it really really is.  If you have read my blog at all over the last couple of years, you know how important my son is to me.  He and Sawyer are my whole world.  There is nothing more important to me, than they are.  I want to do right by them, whenever humanely possible.  For a while, right for Sebastian was Julien School.  They were there when we needed them.  They got us set on the right path.  They showed us what Sebastian was capable of, and the inherent dangers of underestimating his abilities.

However, this comes at a cost.  A high cost.  I was able to pay that cost, for a while (4 years to be exact, 2 of therapy and 2 of school). 

This year, when we were prepping to send Sebastian back, I started asking how much the tuition was.  I had been told, unofficially, that the tuition was going to drop this year.  Thank God, I thought.  I'm on my edge.  I'm stretched to my limit.  I was looking forward to the break.  I couldn't wait to find out how much it was going to be.  I was holding off on my budgeting until I got the information.  And then they told me.  It wasn't reducing by one single cent.  Same as last year.  And hints of increases down the road.  Other financial surprises. 

I was camping when I got the email.  I am ashamed to say I cried.  I was shocked.  Almost instantly, I knew what this meant. 

For the past 2 years, I have been doing the best I can to make sure Sebastian could go to school.  I worked crazy amounts of overtime.  I made and sold crafts.  I have run garage sales.  I have sold furniture and cars.  I have cut out the "nice to haves" to make room in the budget.  We lived with one car for 3 years, to save on gas and insurance.  I took what others were willing to offer, even though I recoil from the thought of being a charity case.  I made it through.  It was tough.  It was tight.  There were months when we scraped by, by the skin of our teeth.  All in the hopes that it would get better.  It wasn't going to stay this way.

People wonder how I did it. Blind faith.  Dumb luck.  Credit cards, a little. 

But now, in light of the fact that it's not changing, it's still so so much money, Geoff and I had a choice.  We could keep him in school, and start looking at bigger, more permanent money solutions (i.e. loans, mortgages, that kind of fun stuff) or we could look at changing his educational options.  After lots and lots of heart to hearts, we decided to pick the latter.  The choice, for me, was no choice.  Homeschooling.  Be still my heart.

I have wanted to homeschool for years now.  I envision a tiny farm somewhere, with a wood burning stove in the kitchen.  I picture a big farmhouse table covered in school work, with 2 little heads bent studiously over their latest lessons.  Yes, it's idyllic.  A little na├»ve.  But it's my dream.  Shut up, I can think what I want.

And now, that it's going to be a reality, I have altered my vision a little.  I have solicited help, from Geoff and my mom and dad.  Baking with my mom will become a lesson in measurement, math, sequencing.  Working in the store with Geoff gives practical lessons on currency, addition and subtraction.  Unpacking the order can reinforce reading skills, effective grouping and sequencing skills.  My dad's nature hikes are lessons in science and biology.  Changing the oil in the lawn mower is a lesson in mechanics, cause and effect and technology.

I am excited to have the chance to find the lessons to be learned in every day activities.  I can't wait to have field trips to reinforce the learning of the week.  I want to plan lessons and themes around the seasonality of our year, and to help him explore the world around in him a new and interesting way.  I want to discover ways to take the things he already loves, like his iPad, his pictures and TV, and turn them into effective teaching tools. 

In the end, I want to do right by him.  I want to be a part of shaping the man he is going to become.  I want to spend my mornings helping him learn something new.  I want to look back in June and be stunned at his progress.  I want to be a part of the miracle that is my Sebastian learning. 

Oh yeah.  I'm scared shitless.  I am so worried I am going to fuck this up.  Am I smart enough to do this?  Am I dedicated enough?  Do I have the patience, the know-how and the fortitude to weather the inevitable storms?  Jesus, I hope so. 

Please.  Universe, if you are listen, don't let me mess this up.  Please, help me do well.  It's not for me.  It's for him.  Help me do good work for him. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new world now".