We are finally in the final countdown of school days. I believe we are somewhere in the teens now as far as number of school days left. That made me realize that I never did an update on how my precious big girl is doing in public school this year.
If you remember, this year we decided to send Zoelle to public school rather than homeschool her. I still am homeschooling the two younger girls. The little girls (as I like to call them) deserve their own post on homeschooling, so this post is just an update on Zoelle only.
After much prayer we decided to send Zoelle to public school this year. It was an extremely difficult decision and one that put me into a bit of a depression. I missed my big girl! I missed her asking me a thousand questions, snuggling up to me as we read a book, and I even missed her fighting either with me or the little girls. :) I especially missed teaching her. That was an incredibly hard part of sending her to school that I was not expecting.
Zoelle has seemingly adjusted well to school. She had a hard first few days in which leaving me was very tough, especially with the girls still here. Her least favorite thing is to ride the bus home. I don't really care for it either, but living out in the country, and having a little one who takes a nap each day, I don't really have another option. After a little bus mishap on the first day in which she was SO quiet the bus driver missed her stop and didn't drop her off until an hour later, all has gone well. It is a long ride, but she has started to bring books with on her ride and she LOVES to read and has told me many times she has almost missed her stop just from getting lost in a book.
Neither she or I are huge fans of test days! In fact today is one of them, and I had a little girl who was nervous all weekend for this huge state test today and Wednesday of this week. Z is a bit of a perfectionist and tends to naturally want to please people, so tests are very important to her. We have worked very hard on not emphasizing the test part, but rather just reminding her to work her very hardest. In fact, in all past tests, she has done completely fine and really has nothing to worry about. The only other thing I don't care for is the amount of papers that come home with Z each day. This isn't homework, but rather class work they have done. I am convinced they could save 1,000 trees per kid with the amount of paper that comes home!
One of my biggest concerns sending her was my own personal worry that I somehow failed her as a mom/teacher and that she wouldn't be caught up with her class. However, my worry was also unnecessary as she has done completely fine. Her strong suites are math and reading, which always were strong at home. She could work on her artistic side a bit, and her handwriting (both things I struggle with too).
The only other thing that I miss her being able to do, is study wholeheartedly whatever comes to her mind. In the past, Zoelle would read something or hear about something and decide she wanted to study it in detail. I LOVED doing that with her and I LOVED how much she learned from studying something she wanted to learn about. While she doesn't get the chance to really do much of that at school, we do try and study as much as we can at home if there is something she is wanting to learn about.
I have had zero complaints about sending her this year. I think in large part that has to do with her amazing teacher! She has been so good for Zoelle and has a perfect balance of knowing when to push her a bit more and when to offer grace. One of Zoelle's biggest fears in going to school is her intolerance of gluten to the point where she breaks out or struggles to breathe if she has had it. Her teacher has been more than willing to work with me and Zoelle and it has relieved a lot of stress for both of us.
Going to school has also helped Zoelle come out of her shell a bit. This isn't to bring up the debate of homeschoolers and lack of socialization. My kids are very well socialized as we attend a number of things such as choir, violin, library time, church, etc. each week. Instead, this has helped Zoelle become her own person apart from me or her sisters. She used to solely rely on me or her sisters while in public, but now willingly talks to people. It has been very fun for me to see her become this strong, confident, young lady.
One of the greatest compliments came to me when I was taking her to school one morning instead of her dad (side note: why is it that anytime I take her to school, I tear up as I drop her off?). One of the school employees stopped me to tell me how incredibly kind, sweet, and respectful Zoelle is to other people each day. She made my day. While I want my kiddos to be smart, up to par with others, etc. more than anything else I want them to treat others with love and respect.
So with all that said, we will for sure be sending Zoelle to school next year, right? Actually, I'm not sure. We have committed each year to take it on a year by year basis and pray about it before we make any decisions. So we will do just that! If you ask Z, she will tell you she wants to be homeschooled. She missed me and it isn't fair the girls get to be home and she doesn't (her exact words). However, she will then tell you she kind of wants to go to school too and she likes the constant learning and schedule (she thrives on schedule). So there you go! I fully believe God will give us an answer in the correct time!
P.S. I was playing around with my camera one day while Z hung out with me and I was able to get all these sweet pictures of my girl. I just love her eyes!