Homeschool Blues…Transitions!

by | Aug 19, 2021 | Family Life, Society

Schools in session!  I can’t believe it’s already time for school!!!  I feel as though summer went far too quickly!  Last year many of you know that I took a shot at homeschooling my children.  I had felt a call to do that for many years and so we gave it a year and discerned the entire year.  We had a great year and the goal to get my son caught up academically was met.  Because of our constant discerning our oldest had returned to school after Christmas and we had made the decision to send my second child back to school to begin junior high at the beginning of this school year.  However, we still thought we’d keep our 10-year-old home for one more year.  As summer progressed, our family never stopped discerning and in late July we made the decision to send our son back to school as well.

Homeschooling was a good experience for us, great actually!  I think the bonds in our family grew tremendously over the last year.  There is a whole new support that we offer to one another!  We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in ways we never knew before.  However, for us, homeschooling was lonely!  We were part of a co-op, but because of COVID I think people were more reluctant to do play dates and socialize.  We spent a lot of time with just us.  We learned that we really do enjoy being around our friends…haha!

Before COVID I would have thought that making me stay home with just my family was a dream come true.  However, following our isolation and our year of homeschooling we learned that we are more social than we thought!  It was a hard, hard year.  It’s hard for a child who has been around friends all day for many years come home and have to be around only their siblings and mother all the time.

I spent a lot of time in prayer over the year and though I selfishly loved being around my kids all day and knowing exactly what they were learning, I knew how much my kiddos missed their friends.  I spent some time visiting with a few mental health professionals and educators and they helped me to see that the social aspect of children is vital!  If kids are fulfilled and able to have good social abilities, then all the things that need to be learned, can be.  Essentially, it’s more difficult to help kids with social acclamation than intellectual acclamation.

Please know that I am not saying that homeschooled children are not socially adept…I spent an entire year in our coop with many children who had lots of friends and a great social circle…our children just didn’t get invited into that.  Blame it on COVID or the fact that most of these kids had been friends since they were babies and my kids were new and not part of what had happened for the last 10 or so years.  I get that…it is hard to break into friendship groups when they are so close knit.

The fact remained that my kids were lonely and through prayer we discerned that what was best for our kids (and me) was to send them back to school.  For over 9 years I got to be mom and partner in education with teacher support.  I struggled with confidence in knowing if I was doing enough for my kids.  This move back into school has been so good for us all!  I do not have the stress of building a curriculum for three kids and they get to be welcomed back by their dearest friends who thankfully welcomed them back with open arms.

There is peace in the Brooke home, and we are overjoyed.  Thank you to our awesome Catholic school system!  We truly are blessed.  The point of this blog is not to say one form of education is better than another, but instead to never quit discerning what is best for your children.  Even though our kids seem happy and excited to be back in their schools, this mama will never stop discerning what is best for them!  I will always follow what God is calling me as their mother to do for them and I pray that for you too!  May we all know God’s beautiful peace in our lives…no matter what our call is.

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Tara Brooke

Tara Brooke is a wife, mother, educator, and child of God.  Tara has worked in various aspects of ministry in the Catholic Church for over 20 years, her last years as a Director of Marriage and Family Life for her local diocese.  She now stays home and tends to the needs of her growing and beautiful family.  She has three biological children and two adopted children, both with Down Syndrome. She loves helping engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage as well as helping enrich already married couples in growing in holiness together.  She resides in Bismarck, ND with her amazing husband, Deacon Dan! 

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