Today was a beautiful day here in OK so we headed out to the nature preserve this afternoon. It's one of our favorite local places to hike, and every time we go there, I wonder why we don't go more often.
While we were hiking around,
looking for letters in nature for art projects for the kids' rooms,
enjoying having our pictures taken,
and watching butterflies do their thing,
I had a moment of clarity.
Lately, I've been feeling like I'm at a crossroads with this whole Otherwise Educating thing. This is our fourth year, and I've loved it. I haven't loved everything about it. There have been days when I have not loved it at all. But overall, it has been a wonderful experience for me and for my children. I wouldn't care if they hadn't learned anything (they have), I would not trade the time I have had with them for all the money in the world. However, we are quickly approaching the high school years with Thing 3, and Thing 4 has been telling me she wants to go back to school. She doesn't want to go back to any school. She thinks she might want to go back to public school. You know, that place from which I rescued her over three years ago.
I've had many conversations in my head, with my husband, with my neighbor and favorite homeschool mom about whether or not to continue on this path. I wonder if my children would be learning more in school. Would they be better off socially? I have doubts about my ability to homeschool high school. It's one thing to homeschool elementary school kids. Anyone can teach state capitals and multiplication tables. But how will I teach geometry, chemistry, writing? Can I do this for the long term? Do I even want to? Should I have done this at all?
And then, as she often does, Thing 4 said something that brought me back to the moment. She has been learning about food chains and food webs. Before we headed out today, we covered (for the third time) the various parts of the food chain...producers, consumers, scavengers, decomposers. As we walked past a log that had been eaten by termites, I casually mentioned, "Oh look. Termites have been eating that log. Where do you suppose termites fall in the food chain?" She looked at me, looked at the log, thought for a minute and shouted, "Decomposers! They're decomposers. And look, Mom! You can see how they're breaking down this log. It's turning back into soil." Then, "Wow. You know, it's one thing to read about decomposers, but when I can actually see and touch what they've done, I really get it."
And that's why I do what I do. I'm doing it again tomorrow. After that, who knows? For now, I'm just going to enjoy the moment.