Hello Korio
21. 03. 2016

Phil is retiring from the Air Force next year. Actually, early 2018, but with terminal leave and processing and all of that, we’ll actually be out of here at the end of 2017.

When we still lived in Phoenix and it looked like we were going to be there forever, we really didn’t question the fact that that’s where we’d stay. I didn’t care for it when I first arrived seven years ago, but it really grew on me. Desert living is the life for me, for real. I liked the weather, I liked the town we lived in, I liked the church I went to. I really didn’t like New Mexico, and continue to not like it. A lot of that may be a function of the fact that this base is literally nowhere – there’s a very small town 15 minutes away, and then it’s one hour to Las Cruces one way and an hour and a half to El Paso the other way and nothing at all in between. We have to travel for doctor’s appointments and swimming lessons, and this place has really just not grown on me at all. When we got here, we weren’t sure when he’d be getting out or if we’d have one more PCS before he was done, but it was pretty much understood we’d go back to Phoenix when it was over.

Once we knew that he’s going to finish out his 20 years of service and get out, it became a little less clear. We could really go anywhere we want, provided he can find a job. We’d also like to live near a base and VA medical services, just for ease of life. We’ll still have commissary shopping privileges and the same medical insurance, so that just makes sense for us. But that really does leave the whole country open, for the most part. We made a short list. Phil didn’t have a lot of preferences and I hated all his preferences (I do not want to live in California or the Pacific Northwest, I just don’t), so we came up with a short list: Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas. We were working from those. The main consideration was living somewhere where we – or at least I, because Phil is a bit of a hermit – know some people. Life got really stressful over the last six months or so and moving somewhere without some kind of support network, even just a few friends scattered around, wasn’t going to work for us. So those three cities were our short list.

To be honest, I was set on Dallas. I’ve got friends there, there are good churches there, and Kpop concerts come through there on the regular. Those are all equally valid reasons, every last one of them.

Last week, I posted an article on my cousin’s Facebook wall, something about public school, I can’t actually remember the exact topic at this time but at the moment it was really stressing me out. I posted it with a comment to the effect of, if we ever move back to Pennsylvania – and you should know, Pennsylvania is where my entire family lives, all of them, every list single person I am related to in the entire world lives within about 40 minutes of each other in North Eastern PA – I will home school Penny and my cousin’s daughter, Candy together and use my spare time to make them into a pop duo sensation. They’re only six weeks apart in age, and come on. Penny and Candy. They’d be a massive success.

To my surprise, though I shouldn’t have been surprised, because I know her, my cousin loved the idea and said she wished it could happen. And suddenly… it was a viable plan. Phil and I have always toyed with the idea of homeschooling Penny, but I work now and she really likes other kids, and for various reasons, it just didn’t seem like it was going to work for us and we were fine with that, because, you know, we think public school is just fine, too. Candy’s mom is a single mother and apparently has always wished she could homeschool Candy, but she works, of course, so it just wasn’t going to work out for her either.

But very quickly, we all thought about this, and suddenly decided, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to go back to PA where everyone lives and I’ll homeschool the girls together. I’m kind of conflicted about the homeschooling thing and I keep gut checking myself on it. Do I want to do this because I’m overprotective and want to protect Penny from SCHOOL DANGERS!! and bullying and other things? Do I want to do this because I think she’s a special snowflake who deserves or needs BETTER than what other kids are getting in public school? Those were things I thought about a lot before we came up with this plan, and I would be lying to say those things didn’t factor in a LITTLE, but not that much – because, like I said, we’d be fine, really, sending her to public school, and are going to, actually, for kindergarten and the first half of first grade.

It’s not really that I think she’s in grave danger going to public school, or that she wouldn’t get an adequate education in public school, or she would somehow suffer greatly if she went. I did absolutely fine in public school. So did my cousin. Obviously, that’s not always the case for every kid, but neither of us have any personal evidence or memories for why public school is NO GOOD.

I don’t think Penny is a special snowflake who needs more attention or unique teaching or anything like that. When I really sit and think about it, I think that if all parents could do something to put their child in a smaller class, with interest-directed learning that was engaging, on topics that interested them, with the ability to delve more into things that grabbed their interest, with less focus on statewide testing, more time to play, the ability to move at a pace that worked for the kid and not the whole class of varied learning styles, wouldn’t they? If a parent could place their child in an environment like that, if it was available to everyone, wouldn’t everyone do it? Or most people, at least. But in reality, it’s not practical or possible for most people. It’s like cloth diapering, I think – you could do it and it would probably be good, but it is just not something most families are set up to be able to spend their time and money on, for a whole lot of completely valid reasons.

But this opportunity came up, and I can do it. I realize what an incredible luxury and privilege it is to be able to do it. The benefits of moving back to a state I hate and potential benefits of teaching Penny at home with her cousin have outweighed every other option we had on our list. We’ll feel less guilty about her not having a sibling, for one. She’ll be around all of her family who are head over heels nuts for her, for two. And three, no small thing, she’ll get to get her education at home in a way that works for her.

I’m not going to whip out statistics about how homeschooled children perform and socialize and all of that because I don’t really feel like I need to defend the decision – some people are going to think it’s ridiculous, some people are going to wish they could do the same, and some people already are doing the same, and that covers all the people. I’m not going to be changing anyone’s mind on anything. I’m not trying to. I’m just, you know, putting this update out there. On my blog. Like you do.

I think one of the biggest things for us in all of this, right now at least, is having a plan. Getting out of the military after 20 years is intimidating. We had our short list of cities, yes, but really no idea what our lives were going to look like in 2018. We made the list of potential cities and then stalled. Having a plan, an actual real workable plan that we’re all on board with, has kind of spurred us into action. We have something we’re working toward, and it looks good to us. Life after the Air Force is actually going to happen, and this is how it’s going to happen.

Anyway. That’s it. Going back to the east coast like I was certain I never, ever would. Coming for you in 2018, NEPA.

16 responses to “So here’s a thing.”

  1. ObsidianDragon says:

    Man, I’m jealous! I’d LOVE to home school my little dude. I was fine in public school, but it served his father…less well.

    I’m also jealous of living near family. I mean, I live near my in-laws. But that’s…not the same.

    I HOPE THINGS GO WELL. 😀

  2. Faith says:

    Well I, for one, not that you care at all, am super excited about this! PA is so close to me! If you host another PJs, I could afford to go! I’m also excited to hear about the homeschooling. It’s been sitting in the back of my mind for awhile. I’m not against public school, and I do think that professional kindergarten teachers are better equipped to teach kindergarten than I am. But once the twins are out of kindergarten, I can scarily see myself deciding to teach all four of them at home. So I’m selfishly hoping it goes really well for you!

  3. H says:

    Congratulations!

  4. ButtercupDC says:

    It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind and don’t need any other arguments in favor of your decision, BUT–you don’t have to home school forever. If there comes a time when it doesn’t make sense for you or for PennyCandy (financial, social, or everyone-on-the-brink-of-murdering-each-other-over-multiplication reasons), they can always go to school. And in the meantime, what a dream! I don’t have kids, but I fantasize about homeschooling my nieces and nephew and I think it would be an absolute joy (80 – 90% of the time). I have a friend who home schooled for a while because it was what was best for her kid, and I have a friend who works as a private teacher for a family, and both have reported lots of pluses on this route. Good luck! Please let me know if you need someone to create flash cards or something.

  5. Jesabes says:

    This is huge! Congrats on having a plan nailed down!

  6. LeighTX says:

    Congratulations on having a plan! As someone who lived far away from family when my kids were small, and now lives 10 minutes from my in-laws, let me say that having family nearby is a godsend. It’s great for the kids, and it can be SO helpful to have extra hands to call when you need help. Also, free babysitting doesn’t suck.

  7. Jess says:

    I’m disappointed that Denver is off the list, but glad you have a plan you’re all happy with!

  8. Julie says:

    Wow, big news! I am so impressed by your thought and planning and so happy you have a trajectory that makes you happy and excited. Way to go!

    (But if Dallas were to ever happen for whatever reason down the road, I volunteer myself to help in any way because that’s my neck of the woods. For PA, I cheer you on from here, regardless. It’s a great decision. I think you’re aces.)

  9. I am very happy for you and I’m in Maryland so who knows maybe we will meet up. I think its awesome to homeschool, you can have cooking classes and garden and all those coolio things you cannot get in public school . Even though my daughter is grown and 28 now , my niece who is 10 comes to visit and we have a blast, we laugh , we cry , we snort all while learning new things together . You are truly blessed , when you do start your move , have a safe trip ! Peace and Harmony !

  10. shin ae says:

    I’m happy you and Phil were able to make a decision you feel good about. That’s really nice news!

    I sent my kids to public school for a while, and now we homeschool. It’s not all delightful as surely you can predict, but I love having them around. I can’t imagine our lives any other way; I love what it has done for our family. I hope you enjoy it, too!

  11. Kristin H says:

    So exciting! Congratulations! Moving to where our family is was an excellent decision for us. I have never regretted it. We also homeschool, mainly for the freedom it gives us as a family. It’s awesome. And I know it’s too early to think about curriculum, but when my kids were little we did Five in a Row. Loved it! Enjoy your adventure!

  12. Sister says:

    YEP. YES. YEAH. ALL OF THE YES.

    Best news EVER, and though I never want to wish the time away, I wish it was 2018 and you were all in NEPA already.

    I CANNOT WAIT.

  13. heidi says:

    I have to say… I live near NEPA! (I’m not a stalker, promise.) I briefly considered homeschooling but then I kept having children and realized – no. Not for us. I think it’s lovely though. My kids all attended public school and so far, so good. The first 3 have all gotten into a good college and we went on a tour of MIT today for the youngest so…

  14. Fyurae says:

    I found your blog after you made that farewell video for Big Red Kitty. I struggled to stick with it after Google Reader went to the server in the sky, as with almost everything else I was following at the time. (Goodbye every podcast I listened to.) I gave it up for real when my best friend had a baby and suddenly everything about babies and families and husbands made me a shivering ball of loneliness. Today I looked at Twitter for reasons I don’t even remember now, for the first time in probably a couple of years. You and Phil are still one of the 30 people I follow on Twitter. I discover that t-j is gone and who knows what happened in between. Your baby is, like, 5. You are moving, or moved, or move a lot. You’re ill in some way, and that sucks. (Butt Rust) And Buh-buh-buh-brinkley face is not long for the world. I had fun catching up a little, and I find I am still a fan of your humor and your writing. I think I would be lying if I said I am going to continue to keep up again, because blogs just aren’t my thing anymore, even though I am writing more now that I probably ever have in my life. (Isn’t that kind of strange?) But I felt like sharing this short journey you took me on today and saying hi. So, hi.

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