This afternoon Tim came home early so I could go senza bambino (without babies) and visit the local Catholic elementary school. I chatted with teachers, librarians, and moms about books, Mass, the daily routine, and resource classes such as art. I peeked in classrooms, flipped through many textbooks, and asked questions about homework. In all, I felt that while the school was doing a better job than any public school, it wasn't half as academically challenging as what we have been doing at home. All the textbooks were secular, including the religion books, and contained a lot of fluff.
I know that the kids would do well academically and socially there, but I just kept thinking, "I would spend all day missing them and the opportunity to use Catholic books, an academically rigorous course of study, and all those extras that make homeschooling unique." I could imagine my daily life becoming a mad rush of getting ready, driving to school, wrestling with the little boys and the baby all day, rushing to pick up and get to lessons on time, fighting about homework, getting everyone in the bed, and doing it day, after day, after day. Since I haven't set foot in a school in over 10 years it was eye-opening, in comparison, how good Seton's program really is. We are not "falling behind" public or private school students, but rather giving them a high quality fully integrated Catholic education at a very reasonable price (certainly reasonable compared to $17,000 a year for 3 kids).
My job in the next week is to compose a very polite letter to the assistant principal, thanking him for his time and the tour, but stating that we will continue to homeschool this semester. The other thing I need to do is reflect on what I learned today and use it to become more calm and steady in teaching the children. We are learning, we are living, and we are doing a pretty darn good job with a lot of help from above.