Thank you so much Michelle and Mary K for offering to take the children. Knowing that they will be in good hands when I go into labor (plus an Ambian) helped me sleep well last night.
The great benefits of homeschooling are the increased academic rigor, the family closeness, the ability to teach children virtues and morals that are absent from our mass culture. The downside, especially in larger families, is the difficulty in making friends for ourselves and the children. Add in the stress of back-to-back military moves to exotic locales such as North Carolina and DC and I am surprised that I didn't have an emotional cry-fest months ago. When one is stuck inside doing schoolwork and projects for most of the day and then rushing around from one activity and errand to another, it is almost impossible to find an hour to talk to other moms, much less find some you want to have a cup of coffee with.
Living near a big city makes the opportunities more difficult since traffic and parking issues turn the simplest trip into a potential disaster. Maggie's weekly ballet lesson that I thought would be so fun takes 3 hours out of the day- 45 minutes for the instruction, over 2 hours to fight the bumper-to-bumper traffic getting there and back.
While I'm not willing to put the kids on the big yellow bus at 8am so I can have a chai latte from Starbucks with the other mommies at the bus stop (I would still have 3 little ones in tow), I so wish for more opportunities to meet and make friends with other women who share this homeschooling lifestyle.