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.