Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The one about major life changes...

My family is extremely happy with its place right now. We love our neighborhood, we love our neighbors, we love love love the younger ones' school, we love living in the city, we love the free museums, free zoo, parks everywhere, dog park, farmer's market, diversity, restaurants etc. Our families are in town (for the most part) and we have established friendships.

My husband is VERY unhappy in his job. Granted they pay him a nice sum of money, but they ask for very little in return. Basically, show up on Sundays, visit the sick. For me, this seems perfect because he is right across the street. He is home a lot and always available should I need him. It is a great place to be working on his doctorate. BUT, he wants to be doing ministry and at this point after trying so many things and beating his head against the wall (long story about the church, but they aren't interested in doing anything.) he is just burned out. He feels useless.

This weekend we were invited to a church that is courting Chowder to check things out and guest preach at the church. It is the exact opposite atmosphere, but also one we could be very happy in. It is a small town (about 20,000) in the mountains, has a small college, a community theater, major shopping, we could get a place on 10-15 acres and have the other great childhood of chickens and ducks and woods to build tree houses in and all the great stuff that comes from growing up in nature. The church is very energetic, though still small. They have about 10 young families (3 with 5 kids) and a definite desire to do more. We liked the town. Two of Chowder's fraternity brothers live in or near the town and I like the one I know and his family. We are not afraid of making changes or trying new things. We know if it really stinks we can always go somewhere else. The schools rank 6 (out of 10) on the great schools chart. We would have to change a bit of our lifestyle, like get a second crappy car.

Honestly, if the kids just went to a regular school we would jump in in a heartbeat. But, the kids don't go to a regular school. They have this great opportunity to go to this amazing and free charter school that is right across the street. The school is small and the philosophy and parent community is exactly what we are looking for. And the education is exceptional. I can't see taking my two kindergartners who are reading on the 4th grade level, doing multiplication and division, can label the continents and oceans on a world map, and half of the states on a US map etc. etc (and this is NOT b/c they are exceptionally bright, it is just the way the school is.) and put them into a mediocre, small town, public school. Though I am not afraid of homeschooling them and think we could do some really cool stuff, I don't think I could do as good of a job as they are doing at their school and would hate for them to miss out on what they would get from their education where they are now.

But, Chowder would most likely be much happier in his work. In a small town there is a greater opportunity to get involved in a meaningful way to better the community. So, do we stay here until all of the kids go through 6th grade? That's 12 more years! At what point do we make a change? We do not NEED to find a new position right now. And I wasn't feeling an overwhelming pull there. I told Chowder that this will really have to be his call because I am perfectly happy where I am now. I could also be perfectly happy somewhere else. We worry about trying to sell our house right now, but the only thing really holding us here is the school. How much of weight should we give it?

I am trying to just hand this one over to the Big Guy and figure if it's the place he wants us, then he'll beat over the head with it and provide the solutions to our obstacles. But, you know how I'm a planner.


gem said...

I am the pits in this kind of scenario because I am too conservative. Like you, we are very happy where we are at the moment and I know that it would take something huge to make me risk moving because I would be afraid it would not be as good. That said' I dislike that about myself. I really believe that it is good to shake it up and challenge ourselves with change and to be open to new things which may well be very positive.
I think at the stages your younger children are at the education thing would not bother me too much (and I am obsessed about education)
I have expressed that badly. What I mean is that, if the local school is safe and happy and reasonable good, they will get a reasonable education there. Then the wonderful extras they are getting at the moment could be maintained at home. You will continue to read with them as you have always done. The day to day conversation at home will open their minds to the whole wide world out there even if school is a bit limited. I think because you have experience of such a good school and know what that is like, you will continue to provide that philosophy yourself. For me the equivalent of what we call secondary school would be more of a deal breaker. I think teens are at a stage of needing to conform with their peers and it is much harder to overcome a lacklustre school at this stage because they may well take their lead form what is acceptable at school rather than what they hear at home.
Ok, I will try and summarize a long and rambling response! My basic instinct is to go for it. Don't worry too much about the smallies because as long as the school is reasonable you will be able to supplement it at home, sort of like the best of homeschool and conventional education combined. I would look carefully at the school for Skaterboy and the others as they get older though because I think it is harder to overcome any shortcomings there.
Good luck, either will be great!

cat said...

Oh gosh, these decisions are say very hard. I think the school sounds fantastic and should not be disregarded. But yes, my hubby is also hating his job and well, it really does influence the whole household. Good luck! And the Big Guy will tell you.

ccap said...

Yipes, some big decisions. Will say a little prayer for you.

Anonymous said...

Are there no other job options where you live now? Are all the others kids in kindergarten at the same level as yours? I know you give a lot of credit to the school, but if your kids are doing all that you say, then they ARE really bright. Maybe it's a combination of bright kids and a great school. Your kids will likely do well anywhere but at the same time I don't think you should discount their early education as they seem to be thriving.

- Samiam

Bridgett said...

I would of course hate to see you go; I think that church will die without you, and the school will definitely be diminished by your absence. But the way you describe the other place--kindergartners are easier to move than 4th graders...and it sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

I will think about you guys.

Anonymous said...

Your 17 year old would hate the move. He is important also.

Denise said...

(((Hugs))) A happy Daddy, usually means everyone else is happier too. I think you should really consider homeschooling, you know what learning style is working for your kindergarteners, figuring that out is often the biggest challenge in doing well at home schooling.

As far as your teen, we moved cross country when our oldest was 17, it was hard, but I was so glad he still had no choice but to come with us. He was pretty unhappy for the first 6 months, but he made friends, kept in touch with his old friends by computer & soon was happier than he had been in the old place. He's now married with his own baby & he would never have met his wife if we hadn't made the move.

I'm not saying that you MUST do it now, but I definitely recommend keeping your heart open & following wherever you are ultimately led.

Mel said...

Yikes, this is a tough one.
On the one side you have 6 very happy people but on the other one an unfulfilled and frustrated husband and father. You have been wanting to move for some time now, a new challenge, new excitement. I think you know already what you need to do here. Chowder is a man, a big man that needs a big challenge. I don't know him of course but I think he would eventually become depressed and just smaller if you stayed. Ask God to open doors and close doors.
I say go, its an adventure and your kids already have this amazing foundation on which to build on.

Hind's Feet said...

Homeschooling as been one of the most amazing, enriching, rewarding journeys I have ever taken in my life. I can't even number the positives it has held for my children far beyond the academic (though they score in the 98th percentile and above). My older two had good schools their first years of schooling, but even those good years pale in comparison to what we have now. Though my oldest, now, is in college, and my second-born will graduate our homeschool this spring... they both beg me to never, ever, ever put their younger siblings in school. You never know what you might be missing. ;) Sometimes we hold on to what is good... and miss out on what is great.

My teens loved our move from CA to OH, and now that we are transferring to GA they are itching to see what new adventures await there, even though we love our life here in OH.

It may just be that homeschooling has taught them flexibility and to think and live outside the box... and it may be that my sense of adventure rubs off on them... but it's been our experience that kids love moving.

Just some thoughts.