All three kids are attending school this year!!! Katie is loving Kindergarten and is really beginning to find her niche. Andrew is in a regular 3rd grade class. We had the expected beginning of year issues with Andrew, but he now seems to be settling in nicely. The biggest change is that Benjamin went back to school this year after 2 years of homeschooling. He is in the autism/behavioral class at our local school and is also mainstreamed into the regular 3rd grade class for a good portion of the day. He is doing fantastic! We've had a few hiccups (of course), but his good days have far outnumbered his bad ones. The teachers see his potential and are working diligently with him to help him to achieve it.
I get asked almost daily: "WHAT will you do with all of your time now that they are in school." My answer to them is almost always, "Sleep!" While I have taken my fair share of naps over the last few weeks, that is definitely now how I spend the majority of my time. For one, I am back to going to the gym at least 4 days a week; I was also finally able to get my bedroom and bathroom deep cleaned (after I don't know HOW long... longer than I care to admit); I am blogging again; I am enjoying going to the grocery store without having to drag my three kids with me; I am sometimes going to breakfast with my husband... because we CAN. Basically, I am enjoying my few hours of kid-free time every morning and am starting to feel more in control of my life.
While homeschooling, I felt like everything was getting out of control. I was overwhelmed with having to work very closely with Ben to get him to do his schoolwork while still homeschooling Kate so that she was prepared for Kindergarten. Then, I always had a deadline to finish our schooling for the day so that I could pick up Andrew from school, work with him in the afternoon and still fit in all of our after school activities, including therapy. My housework and workout routine were the hardest hit with the chaotic nature of our schedule. I often felt frustrated that I couldn't achieve all that I wanted to in a day.
One biggest benefit of them all being in school this year is that I am back to the more patient, fun-loving mommy that I want to be. I have a lot more patience with Andrew when he comes home exhausted and overstimulated from a full day of hard work at school. I am far more patient with Katie when she asks to read 4 or 5 books when I know I should be cleaning. I am far more patient with Ben when he runs away when I tell him to get up to the table for homework. I am playing with my kids more. We have spent a lot of time outside and I am loving that they are all begging me to jump on the trampoline with them or ride bikes with them. The few hours to myself during the week allows me to focus on me. That is something that I haven't been able to do for the last 9.5 years and I think everyone is benefiting from it.