The oldest child…. It’s always the oldest child that is your greatest science “experiment.” Once you put that child under the microscope, or add the baking soda & vinegar to watch the reactions take place, it’s almost easy with the consecutive children! Well, sort of… And so it was with homeschooling. He was the experiment where all those hypotheses were tested. Namely, how do you raise a teenager, love him, grow him, and continue educating him? While doing the same things with his brothers and sisters? And doing it well?
For us, we couldn’t seem to do it, or at least, do it well. As we began homeschooling our oldest, it seemed to work well for our family. But when we added in the middle child to the mix, it got more difficult. And then the 3rd child, well, the more uphill the struggle seemed to be. I know it’s that way for everyone that homeschools, but because we live pretty close to – if not in – Hooterville, I was spending all my time driving him the odd 60 miles or so several times a week to piano, speech & debate, field trips, or athletic events. It was just, to put it mildly, difficult to still “do” school. We questioned whether he was truly getting the best education we could provide. And then there were the questions of just how much time I was devoting to his siblings. The answers were that everything was getting the short end of the stick. Literally. Everyone in the family was unhappy; the cogs of homeschooling that made our lives move so smoothly before stopped turning.
Where to even start to know how to fix it? In conversation one day, a friend of ours mentioned that he had an aquaintance who sat on the board of an all-boys school located a few hours away. Oddly enough, this happened to be the very same school mentioned by one of my husband’s clients when our son was merely 3 years old. At the time, when he was just beginning to read very basic things (yet, at 3, reading nonetheless), sending him to a “good” school was something we bantered about, but didn’t give much real thought to. Now, all of a sudden, it seemed like something we should look into more closely. So… we set up a campus visit, and within five minutes of beginning that visit, we felt – no, knew – that this was what our family needed.
At this school, he would be challenged, he would have (as all teens crave) privacy, responsibility, and the ability to do “it” on his own. Our other children would have more time from me, which, considering how I’d had little time to focus on my daughter’s dsylexia struggles, this would be a good thing. Of course, in spite of all the benefits of a boarding school, there would be plenty of pitfalls.
Namely, how hard it would be for us to not have him around. There are lots more, but boy, we miss sharing his daily life, and really, we just miss him.