This year has been more than an adventure. It has been discombobulating, kerflummoxing, and a tad hair-on-fire. We chose to put the kids into public school this year for specific reasons, and while this experience has been invaluable, many of the purposes we set out to achieve have not yet been realized. For one thing, I feel like I am just now, more than halfway through the year, getting used to the routine. We all feel like slaves to the Almighty Schedule. I knew this would be the biggest change, but I underestimated how much I would resent the utter lack of flexibility.

It’s frustrating most of the time, even if I am finally used to it.

I am brimming with thoughts to share with you about our year so far, and totally at a loss where to start. Lessons I have learned so far? Challenges? Blessings?

For one thing, I can now attest to what I have always suspected:

Neither public school nor homeschooling are the harder option. They each have their unique challenges and blessings. 

It’s all in how you face it that matters. I confidently assert that no one need ever say “I couldn’t do that” about either option. The fact is–if you have to do it, you can do it. So just decide what is best for your family that year and run with it. Own it. And find someone you trust to whom you can carry your struggles. Someone who won’t say “I told you so.” Who will instead say “It’s okay. We all feel that way. Here’s how to deal with it. Have some coffee.”

(Tiffany Hilby, oh bearer of coffee and delicious baked goods and infinite understanding, you have been my saving grace this year. Just so you know.)

Public school is not the end of the world. Nor is it the pit of hell. Far from it.

It’s an imperfect human system doing the best it can in spite of the governmental and bureaucratic strangleholds that are slowly killing its effectiveness. And my children are doing well. They are learning. They’ve been exposed more directly to poverty, mental illness, and even bullying in a context where they have been able to process it and gain perspective.

Our public school experience has been good overall so far, though not without its hangups and heartbreaks.

I am glad we chose this path this year, but I am abundantly grateful to be making plans to homeschool the younger three for the 2017/2018 school year, Lord willing.