So, I’ve been keeping a little secret.
Maybe not a secret. More of a dream. A heart wish that I’ve been protecting and only sharing in whispers with very few people when it came up so that I could explain my “why” in hopes that I would only receive encouragement, sunshine and rainbows.
But recently my whispered dreaming was unwittingly let out of the stall it’s been kept in, and so since it’s out there now:
I’m starting back to school!
Back in the spring I had some personal experiences that made me feel strongly I was meant to finish my bachelor’s degree. Now. With 5 kids, while homeschooling. The thought was intimidating and I figured I wouldn’t be accepted back in after all of these years, or my credits wouldn’t still be valid, or it would be too complicated and time consuming, too expensive. For the sake of saying I tried and didn’t ignore a prompting I reached out to the school half heartedly. From there the process was the easiest, most fluid process I’ve experienced since before becoming a mom. My GPA was a good bit higher than required for being accepted back into the university I attended before, all credits accepted and transferred from when I went to another school for a semester, I can finish online for half the cost of on campus, and then qualified for some financial aid! Every reason I had not to do it essentially did not exist. Before summer came I was registered for classes.
Obviously, this is no small task. One of my main reasons for not sharing with people has been my very real fear of failure. Balancing our life is already quite the undertaking; what if my family doesn’t let me study and I fail?? What if the kids stay sick all winter again?? What if my family thinks I’m a selfish jerk for needing to spend time on something for **gasp** myself after committing every breathing second of the last 13+ years growing, birthing, nursing, diapering, cooking, cleaning, potty training, butt wiping, schedule balancing, school teaching, reading, writing, arithmetic-ing, field tripping, and figuratively back seat riding to six other people?? Meh. I know my people. They’re great people. Encouraging and supportive people. Realistically, at some points they may have those feelings, but we’ll work through them. We’ll be ok. I do still worry about finding quiet time or dealing with sickness.
I’ve had a few very supportive reactions to this quietly shared plan. People who have encouraged with no “buts”… BUT I’ve had more of these conversations:
“Yeah, I’m starting back to school in a few weeks”
-Wait. What?? You, or the kids? *Me.
-You? Are you still homeschooling?? *Yes!
-Well, that’s not going to work. You should send them to public school. How are you planning to do that? Do you have help during the day? *The same way any adult with a full time job would do it. We’ve been homeschooling for almost eight years, it’s pretty routine for us at this point. Teaching (and raising) our children is my full time job. This is no different than any other adult human going back to school while working. In fact one of my professors is finishing his PhD while teaching! I don’t need to quit my “day job” to do this. I worked full time while going to school before. I have a husband who is incredibly supportive and home in the evening.
-Oh. Well, what are you studying? *My major was psychology. I had 60 credit hours devoted to that major/degree. It’s not an online option currently but my credits transferred well into a few options and the one I felt most drawn to is Peace and Conflict studies.
-What? What can you even do with that?(not to be confused with “Cool, what do you want to do with that?”) *More than I could do without it. Honestly, more than I could with a bachelor’s in psychology. I have a few big dreams that may or may not ever come to fruition. I’m protecting them. They’re mine and they’ll help me stay motivated. There are a few very basic careers it would qualify me for and some really awesome, off the beaten path careers as well. But, if I never do anything with it besides show my kids that education is important, you are never too old to pursue dreams/goals, and moms are smart people who can accomplish hard things, then it will be worth every bit of work. If I need it, it will be there. If I pursue a related dream career, it will be there.
*blank stares* Well, good luck
**End scene w/ my nervous laughter and borderline panic attack**
Truth is I am really nervous because it’s been a while since I set such an ambitious goal and now failure would be public, but the people who matter most would know and they would love me anyway. If this is too much, next semester we’ll adjust as needed! At least now everyone else will know why I’m even worse at responding to text messages or answering calls.
Now, the important stuff!
The kids have decided to start back to school with me instead of sticking to our usual day after Labor Day start schedule!!
This will allow us to be on the same schedule and have the entire month of December off, together! This year they are starting 7th, 6th, and 2nd grades, respectively. We’ll also have the two tagalongs, one of which will be getting some preschool in, hopefully. We’re trying new language arts and science programs that we are thrilled about and sticking with our tried and true for everything else. The new programs take a lot of extra work out of the equation for me and are amazing, so far! We’re super excited that some of our favorite people are starting homeschool this year and we’ll have the opportunity to spend more time with them and hopefully get in some fun field trips along the way, and hoping to spend some time with some of our fellow OG home school kids.
It’s going to be a busy and exciting school year for our family!