Friday, May 27, 2011

New Beginnings

   Today marked a very important day for my family.  It was my 5 year old's last day of school.  Three years ago we enrolled him in a wonderful Montessori school and shortly after, we found out we were expecting another baby.  We have spent the last 3 years knowing that he would also need to go to school one day.  Our finances could barely handle the tuition of one; we had no idea how we would pay for two in private school. 
   I once had a not so glamourous career as a daycare center owner.  I spent the first 2 1/2 years of my oldest son's life working 40+ hours a week for a salary that mimiced my high school job.  Three years ago I left that path and embarked upon the path of a stay at home mom.  In December we welcomed our youngest son, now 2.  For the last 3 years I have lived a dream life.  No we didn't have fancy cars or even a fancy house.  In fact, our vehicles are all older and nothing fancy.  We didn't have a luxuary home either; we lived in a 2 bedroom rent house that first year and then a 3 br single-wide moble home for the next year and a half.  Our life was far from easy but I experianced something I never dreamed I would love.  I was a wife and a mother full-time and I felt fulfilled.  I wasn't stressed bc there was so much to do at home but I was at work.  I got to volunteer at school and take naps with my kids in the afternoon.  My house was generally straight and I wasn't embarrassed to have people over.  Dinners became healthier.  I was able to do church work (did I mention that my hubby is a pastor?) right along side my husband. 
   Well, as we enrolled our youngest in Montessori for this fall, I was faced with the end of my dream life as I prepared to go back to work.  See, we purchased a home in January and a mortgage and double tuition would simply put too much strain on our budget.  I was hoping for a job at the school but I still wasn't content in that because it would keep me from doing the things that I need to do at home to keep my household running smoothly.  The end of school was just a few weeks away and all I could do was cry each time I thought about going back to work full-time.  The only reason I needed to go to work was to pay tuition.  I kept praying that God would show me what He wants for our family and I kept waiting for an answer.  We had already decided that homeschool for 1st grade up was a great option but hadn't considered it for kindergarten and certainly hadn't considered it for the youngest's preschool.  A little over a week ago, it all caught up with me.  I knew God didn't want me to go back to work, because I know how important my work at home is to my family's well-being.  I knew that Montessori works well for my family and I knew that there are many who successfully homeschool their children.  What I didn't know was that there are many who successfully homeschool with Montessori. 
   I was searching the internet for homeschool blogs, companies that offer materials, etc.  I came across a homeschool math curriculum using many Montessori materials.  It really got me questioning whether there are other things out there for Montessori homeschool.  Guess what!  There are!!!  I actually found a wonderful Montessori teacher training center that offers not just support for Montessori homeschool families but also offers a complete 3-6 Montessori homeschool curriculum and it comes with materials.  I was impressed!!!  This was just what I had been wanting, a way to combine the two things that I knew were right for my family.  We prayed about this scenario and it only took a few days for us to know it was perfect.  Actually, the 2 year old told my husband it was perfect.
   On Monday I ran some errands and my husband stayed home with the 2 year old until I got in.  When Rooty (his nick-name) was finished with breakfast, he told my husband that he had to go to work.  He went into my office, where there are quite a few "lessons" available for him to occupy himself while I am working, and took his work off of the shelf.  He spent a little time putting 1 button in each of the 24 spots on the mini muffin pan and then put his work away.  This really showed us that doing Montessori at home would fit perfectly for our family.
   We told our family and friends, Baby Boy's teachers (the 5 year old), Rooty's future teachers and the head of the school.  This was certainly hard and brought many tears but they weren't like the ones before.  These were tears because of the wonderful relationships we have developed over the last 3 years.  I just knew they would all be shocked and maybe even try to talk us out of it.  I was wrong!  They were actually all very supportive and encouraging.  The teachers all spoke very highly of homeschool and the head of the school mentioned that many families are homeschooling now.  They all told me that I would do great and that the background our family has in Montessori will carry us far in homeschool.  They all seem to be excited about me setting up a Montessori classroom at home and several have asked to come and see it when I get it set up. 
   The last day of school was today.  It was bittersweet.  We leave behind a wonderful school with wonderful friends but we are heading towards something that will be even better for our family.  A large part of my heart will always be at MSS but I am finally content in my plans for the fall.  I am excited about this new trail my family is taking.  The boys are excited about spending more time with Mommy.  Baby Boy can't wait to show Rooty how to do lessons.  Rooty can't wait for new "work" to go on his shelf.  Hubby is excited about building shelves and materials for our classroom (really, he is).  For the first time in several years, we face a future that we both want and agree upon.   It feels wonderful!  I have peace, comfort and joy that we are doing exactly what God has called us to do.  This is truly a new beginning for our family and I am delighted to share it with each of you.