Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beginning a New Chapter

This week will mark the beginning of a new phase in our lives. Our children will enter a formal "school" setting for the first time. Their feelings are mixed, which is normal, I suppose. Feelings of excitement are tinged with apprehension.

However, I think I'm having a harder time accepting this shift in our lives even more than they are. For many years, being a "homeschooling mom" has been a huge part of my identity. It was the focus of many of my waking hours, the basis of many of my friendships, and a source of both pride and frustration. Whenever I was asked what I do, my reply was always, "I'm a homeschooling mom." It's become who I am, what defines me.

So now, as we are counting down the hours until they are no longer home with me 24/7, where does that leave me? When pressed about how long we would homeschool, my answer was always a confident, "As long as we are all happy with it." I was sure we would all always be happy with homeschooling. And I think we have been.

Circumstances I never foresaw have driven this decision. I never would have imagined we would be moving to the Middle East and even when I knew it was a possibility, the viability of homeschooling here was a major consideration. I thought it would work. I prayed it would work. But it has been devastating to watch my once outgoing and happy child lose confidence and become full of insecurity. As their social circle shrank, their unhappiness grew.

And so here we are. All of us moving into a new and unknown frontier. I think the transition will be much easier on the children than on me. Once those first few frightening days are over, they will quickly make friends and begin a new life, one separate from me. And that's ok. That's great. I've never been one of those overprotective, I-must-control-every-aspect-of-my-child's-life type parents. That's not why we homeschooled. I pray that they find their paths and their joy at this school.

But for me, I think it may be a little harder. My mom is worried that I will sit home and become a hermit, depressed and lonely with nothing to do. I hardly think that will happen. I've taken on a new role as co-coordinator of women's Bible studies at our church. I'm leading one of the studies myself, Beth Moore's Esther study. I'm hoping to find more time to take care of myself - both by working out at home and by spending more time at the gym. I want to spend more time in Bible study, growing deeper in my relationship with God. I will probably need to get a full-time job at some point in the near future.

And yet with all of this to keep me busy, I still wonder who am I now that I'm not going to be homeschooling? I imagine that it's similar to what a career woman feels when she decides to stay home with her children. It's a loss of identity. I look forward to learning all that God has for me during this time of change.

I know that several of you came to this blog because of homeschooling. I'm hoping that you will stick around. I've already seen a drop in the number of subscribers, coming on the heels of my announcement that we'll be putting the kids in school. I understand that. But I hope that once all the dust settles, this blog will return to its roots - the chronicle of one woman's attempt to live a simple, quiet life in this modern, crazy world.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.


katiesears01 said...

Hey, I'm going to re-introduce you to Judy... she just went through this when her last kid went off to boarding school. She's out of town but should be back in a few weeks.
Also, if you want tutoring or part time classroom teaching jobs I can set you up! Oh, and my friend is looking for someone to take a Berlitz arabic class with her... Hmmm... I guess I'm offering you all the opportunities I have to pass up because my kids are home!

ValleyGirl said...

So the decision's been made, eh? That, in and of itself, must be a bit of a relief. I'm sure your kids will be happier and you'll have all that free time... haha. I hope it goes well for all of you and that the transition is short and sweet.

Jennifer said...

i've been busy working with hubby on the house, and have not had time to stop in for awhile. i can relate to how you're feeling about your identity- i've homeschooled for 11 years now, and i'd prolly feel exactly the same way if my kids were going to school. i know you'll find things to fill your time. i'm envoius of the time you'll be able to spend on yourself= i've been neglecting excersing and stuff. i really need to do that. anyway... i'll still be visiting- whether you're homeschooling or not!

Amy said...

Hi Lori, It will all work out. I'm sure your husband and yourself and been in pray over putting them in school. Just remeber you identy is in Christ Jesus. You are a daughter to the King and He will walk you through this next step in this journey of life.


Nancy M. said...

I hope the transition goes smoothly for all of y'all. I'm not going away just because you don't homeschool anymore.

stacey said...

i wish the transition to be good for everyone!

TJ said...

Wow, people have dropped subscriptions because of your choice? I think you have so much to teach whether you are currently homeschooling or not.

Praying all goes well for your family!

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

I DO know your 'loose ends' feeling. I left a very nice job with NASA to homeschool my daughter several years ago, and I really struggled with the 'who-am-I' question. And too, I was afraid that I'd have no way to measure my accomplishments or self worth or whatever. But I learned that God honors obedience with a very special sense of fulfillment that no career perk can ever match. May God bless your obedience in that very special way.

Mylinda said...

I feel your pain. Ashton will be going next year....and then there were two.


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