September 7, 2011

when you give a wolf your first-born... the others will surely follow

so i sent three quarters of my children out into the world today.  (insert dry heave.)

i remember planning my back-to school outfit when i was little.  my favorite year was fifth grade, when i rocked black jeans and a teal short-sleeved shirt with matching teal earrings.  my mom always said the jeans were "brushed denim" which in my mind was as good as cashmere.  even if they were "brushed," they couldn't have been that classy because i definitely wore them with all-black reebok hightops.  which was great, because i definitely planned on dunking on all my friends that year.

all that to say, my kids were that excited last night.  i know they slept fitfully, if at all.  especially harper, since it was his first day of school ever.  he was 100% certain that he was going to have the best time of his life. when i picked him up he said "i tried to remember everything you told me, but i forgot to be a good friend to everybody."

oh boy.  that is just what a mother wants to hear on day one.  upon further clarification, i was less concerned because what happened was that he forgot to introduce himself to the kid who couldn't stop sobbing for his mother.  we had encouraged him to say kids that seemed shy or nervous, "hi my name is harper, what is your name?"  and follow up with "do you want to play?"  but, due to all the hysterics, harper forgot to network with that particular child.  sooo... he felt he was not a good friend to everybody, technically.

still, i think he did have a great time.  i am basing this on our trip to the drug store after school, where he literally told every single passerby that he was in preschool.  you would be shocked how many people seemed genuinely proud of this little stranger-boy with zero social boundaries.  i was quite proud myself.

i can't wait for annalee and marlie to get home to see if their first day went as well as harper's.  I pulled each of them aside this morning to remind them of who they are, and how great they will do, and what we expect from them at school.  then i let them each borrow a pair of my earrings.  it was adorable how special this seemed to make them feel.  they acted like this was a major privilege.  i mean, they were my regular cheap-o earrings... it's not like they were made of brushed denim!  still, it seemed to give them the little boost every gal needs before walking in to school on the first day.

i always go back and forth about school.  do i send them to public school, or to "the wolves" as my father-in-law calls it?  do i homeschool, and risk having them lose out on so many of the great experiences i had when i was in school?  do i send them to private school and file for bankruptcy?  i think most parents lament over these same questions... so, i don't claim to be going through something unique.  and i certainly don't claim to have any answers.  i know enough about life to admit that i know so little... that i cannot possibly pretend to know what is going to be the best decision for my own kids, let alone anybody else's.  i think we all have to work out all parenting decisions, with the insights, tools and convictions God has uniquely given us.  and that includes schooling decisions.  it is senseless to think that there is one educational model or scenario that suits all children.  (at least in my opinion it is.)

so, we have resolved to make a new decision, for each kid, for each year.  and as hard as it is to send them out into the world... this year happens to be that the 3 older kids are all in public school.  and i feel really good about that decision, for this year.  london, on the other hand, is going to a local community college this fall.  which is a little unsettling, so we will re-evaluate at the semester.


  1. Harper is, so sweet. And I love how excited the girls were to wear your earrings!!! As for London in community college, though, you should send her to MCC so I can see her every day.

  2. Your comment about the earrings not being brushed denim- so funny! Made me laugh out loud. Or LOL. Dangit, I always miss the chance to use snazzy computer words.
    My outfit first day of 5th grade (since you asked)? Skin tight Guess jeans (guess who lost her baby fat belly over the summer boys? That's right- this girl) and a Georgetown Univ. t-shirt. So cool.

  3. The other day I was reflecting on my outfit for the first day of high school and how I lamented years later about how lame it was. Pathetic. At least you have a cool 1st day of school outfit memory.

    I perfectly agree with your statement about school being a good choice for your kids this year. I am a homeschooling mom who gets upset with the homeschooling only mentality. Plus, I had to send my nonverbal son "to the wolves" today. The goodness of God is that we can trust His protection for them since we're in His way. There is another detriment to homeschooling that I have seen, which is my likelihood to go crazy at some point during the year (or week, or day :)).

  4. I, too, have gone through the whole public/homeschool debate in my own heart on multiple occasions. A few years back, I decided I enjoyed the ability to hang out with my kids and NOT instruct. And it has worked well for us. But it is a personal and constant decision. And the first day of school seems to arrive with more anxiety for me than the kiddos. I'll keep that to myself, though.

    You are a blessing in all your honesty. It's nice to know there's someone else muddling through the same amount of crazy in a day!!

  5. Glad I'm not alone with the homeschooling/public school conundrum. We chose public school this year - i mean its only kindergarten, how much damage can they do - But, it will be a yearly debate for us as well. I love this post!

  6. Many of my family members and best friends are public school teachers who care deeply for all of the children that are entrusted to their care each day. Why is it that society continues to demonize those who truly love children and wish to help them become all that they are capable of. The bad guys in all of this if there are any, are those (taxpayers and politicians) who feel that public schools should do more with
    larger classes, crumbling buildlings, antique climate control of those buildings, fewer supplies, books, technology, all while treating children as a cost to society and not the God-given blessings they are. On this anniversary of 9-11 thank a public school teacher for their work with all children that enter their classrooms!