I can’t believe that we are having this conversation again. I can’t believe that the answer isn’t obvious. But it’s not.
As you might remember, we are in Costa Rica on sabbatical. We’ve been here for two months, and have a month to go. For the last month, the boys have been enrolled in a private, bi-lingual school close to our home here. Our plan was to leave them there for the next month as well, but they have been complaining. Loudly. And crying. Dramatically.
So Jeff and I are having a repeat of the conversations we had two years ago when we were trying to decide what to do. As a now veteran homeschooler, I thought it would be easier to decide. Instead, Jeff and I have switched positions from those we took two years ago.
I want them to tough it out. I know that they are bored, in part because they don’t know enough Spanish to catch on, and in part because their teachers are not working hard enough to give them work they can do. I know that keeping them there for another month is not going to be the deciding factor in whether or not they one day become fluent. I know that seven-and-a-half hours is a long time to be in a place where you don’t have friends and don’t like the work, have few friends, and hate the food. I know that by the time they work through much of their discomfort we will be leaving. But I want them to tough it out.
And it’s not for any of the reasons that initially made us reluctant to take our kids out of school. I’m not worried this time that we’ll kill each other if they spend the next month at home with us. Remember the first day, when I thought we were going to make each other miserable for a year? I’m not worried about their academic performance. Remember when I decided it was okay if we didn’t meet all of the objectives for the year? And I’m certainly not worried about their socialization. Remember when I realized that it was okay if we raised weird kids?
No, I want them to tough it out because I really wanted to have this last month to myself. I’ve been taking tennis lessons, and reading books, and walking slowly through the grocery story. It might not sound like much, but the time is all mine and I cherish it.
Jeff, on the other hand, has been an unambivalent advocate of pulling them out. ”Have you so quickly forgotten all the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place?” he wants to know.
No. I haven’t forgotten. What I had forgotten about since then is how much I like losing myself in a good book and admiring beautifully presented produce.