Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I took Oldest to school today. After months of struggling with this decision, agonizing over the best thing for all of us, I enrolled him part-time at the middle school last week. Today was his first day. He will attend two classes there, and can stay for lunch if he wants to (he does—at least sometimes.) He is taking a third class with a small group of homeschoolers, and we will cover the rest of his subjects at home.

For a long time, I thought I had to decide between all homeschooling or all public school, and I was overwhelmed. I’m aware that people do all sorts of combinations of things when it comes to their children’s education, but all I could see for my family were the extremes. It took a friend to show me the gray area, suggest that I could try walking there for a while.

Gray is a lovely color. Mysterious. Delicate. A place where light and dark dwell together, the vast area between extremes. The place we spend most of our time in this earthly home. The thing about in-betweens, though, is that you don’t always know exactly where you are. Choose to walk there and you may have to admit that you are walking, just a little bit, in the unknown

Assuming that you have two or more choices that are potentially good, how do you choose The Best? I don’t really know. We prayed, we deliberated, we sought advice, but there was no direct word from heaven on this one. For now, I think we have a compromise that is Good. Oldest will inhabit two worlds for the time being. He will get a taste of middle school without giving up homeschooling. We are holding on to some precious goals but adding new experiences to the mix. It is a bit of an odd place to be in, but this may be where the balancing point is for us, right now.

At sixth grade orientation on Monday, I watched Oldest navigate the hallways, find his locker, locate his classrooms. I watched him work the combination for his locker over and over, watched him test the metal button on the inside that releases the door to the upper compartment with an extremely satisfying pop. This challenge, this gray place, will be good for him, I hope. Today when I dropped him off at the Middle School, I watched him walk up to the door alone, wearing the gray t-shirt he got at camp this summer. He looked taller to me. Strong, too.


  1. Gray can be a very good thing. Sounds like you have found a good balance for now. It will be an exciting new adventure for Oldest!

  2. I love your color posts. And good for you guys for stretching out to find such a balance. We just had a long talk in our home tonight about the gray areas of decision making and how sometimes we paralyze ourselves by trying to force our solutions into either black or white. I'm really sensing tonight that a great deal of my own happiness in life will be determined by how well I handle the fact that my life is intricately tangled in grays and that I think there can be such a freedom there to stretch out in the gray area if I just stop trying to force the world around me to fit into my own black and white plans.

  3. Karen,wow! What a touching post as I know this decision did not come lightly. Praying you all grow mightily through the "gray". Miss you all!

  4. Interestingly enough, we have decided to do the same thing. We've moved to a new state and have decided to have Caleb and Cayanna attend at least part time of traditional school. I think I'm more nervous then they are.

    If you feel like you ever want to talk about the transition, please feel free to call. We are paddling in the same boat. :)

  5. Thanks so much to all of you!

    April, does Caleb have email? My son has started emailing friends, and it has become an important way for him to keep up with friends, especially those who have moved away. He would love another "pen pal!"


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