- Homeschooling like we did last year (which was mostly CHC, with a weekly enrichment program)
- Enrolling the boys in the public school a few blocks away
- Changing curriculum (maybe Seton, or MODG, or Calvert) and continuing to homeschool and attend the weekly enrichment program
- Enrolling the boys completely in an online program, continuing with weekly enrichment program. This limited us to one online program, because the rest wouldn't allow us to use the enrichment program.
- Enrolling the boys partially in an online program, supplement with CHC or Seton, and continue with enrichment program
- Enrolling the boys in a local charter school
Working has been a consideration. My sitter needs to cut back on her hours this fall, and so I started looking for back-ups / alternatives. If I haven't mentioned it already, it's difficult to find sporadic care for 3 children -- ages 2, 7 & 8. Most caregivers want a set schedule and guaranteed income -- but I have neither. As an example, last week I worked 1.5 days, this week it'll be 2.5 days, next week it's only .5 day. While I understand the caregiver's dilemma, I can't pay more than I earn, or pay if I'm not earning anything!
But, even if I put the boys in school, I still need sporadic care for Lydia and I would need to find sporadic after-school care for the boys. Child care is definitely one of the biggest hurdles to employment.
Putting the boys in school would mean that if we chose the public school, they would have to get themselves to the bus on their own some days. (Not impossible, and I do think Colin is old enough to do so.) If we chose charter schools, there's no bus, and well, we wouldn't be able to get them there some days, so that wasn't a choice. (Well, it would be a choice if I stopped working. But if I stopped working, there would be no question about homeschooling.)
The boys have attended the enrichment program since Kindergarten, and Colin has some very good friends in the class. Neither DH nor I wanted to remove him from that unless absolutely necessary.
The online program appears to be challenging, and it lays everything out for me as far as planning and prep. It also has the advantage of being part of the school system, so we won't have to purchase books or supplies. Saving that money (especially this year) factored heavily in our decision.
SO? What did we decide?
We'll be homeschooling again this year. The boys are enrolled in the online program, and will attend the enrichment program. We will supplement with handwriting, religion, art and cooking lessons. The online program offers language arts, science, social studies and math.
It helped my decision when I saw Colin's standardized test scores and he scored above-average in all areas for his grade level. Although some may believe that I've done my boys a disservice by homeschooling, I'm feeling more confident that I've done the right thing by them.
I will continue to work, and trust that child care will resolve itself somehow.
We will still have the flexibility to visit the zoo and museums during less-busy times (did you know that was a major reason I began homeschooling?) I'm confident that this school year will be a challenge and that both my boys (and myself) are up for that challenge. I can't wait to see what we'll all learn this year!