It’s that time of year. Alarms set. Bags and lunches packed. Lack of sleep won’t stop the whirlwind. Up-an-at-em and away we go!
The morning began with showers, scrubbing and cutting finger nails, checking noses for dried crustaceans, digging for matching socks in my Everest of laundry, and making it to the school on time. Dropping off my children knowing they are safe, and cared for, and educated in a positive, consistent environment makes my heart full. It makes me thankful that I can focus the next eight hours of every day to my three-year-old and my health.
Public school wasn’t always the plan. My dream was to homeschool. We purchased curriculums, rearranged the house, set schedules. It was a wonderful idea. For two years we ran around the house singing songs about Jesus, made epic paper machete volcanos, read countless books, created gooey experiments, and practiced basic skills, morals and beliefs. These two years were playful and fun but also hectic, stressful and inconsistent. Homeschooling isn’t something one goes into blindly. It is a calling. I felt called. My husband, always being my support was all for the endeavor, and without his encouragement, we may have stopped sooner than we did.
Within a year schooling became inconsistent. Fatigue was taking over. Lessons were wavering. My resolve to homeschool was weakening. Before I discovered I had Parkinson’s I thought I was failing, and in some ways, I still feel that small sense of failure. However, as I would soon discover I didn’t have to force something that wasn’t quite working. There is a system in place for those of us who simply can’t, wont or are unable to bring school into their homes. Ah yes, the public-school system isn’t as scary as I once thought. The public-school system has become a savior to my children’s education.
Three months into my sons first grade year I stopped homeschooling and placed him in the First Grade. His first school experiences have been seamless and a major blessing in our lives. It has taken the pressure off attempting to educate three children and navigate a difficult diagnosis. The big step is accepting that I couldn’t do it all and needed help. Putting my son in school was one of the best decisions I have made.
And today it all began again. This time with two. My son is now in the second grade and my daughter in kindergarten. Dropping my kids off at school and picking them up were two moments in the day I will cherish. In those two moments, I didn’t have Parkinson’s. It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about how I was feeling. It was about my children ready to embark on new journeys and uncharted territory. It was about seeing the excitement and ambivalence in their eyes, and knowing they were going to be okay.