Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a back to school post, well sort of

Every year as the school buses roll past the house I question our decision to homeschool.  I wish we were shopping for school clothing, trying to fill a cart with the items on a teacher’s lists, marking the calendar with important school dates.  I morn the same list of things we miss: seating assignments, packed lunches, bell schedules, colorful bulletin boards with class rules, lists of supplies, homework, grades….
 If you think I am being sarcastic I’m not.  
When I was little I loved school.  As I got older I loved it more.  And when I had my first two kids I loved it so much I couldn’t see that my second child didn’t. It was hard for me to understand that for him there was another way.  I was too young of a parent to act on what I eventually had no choice but to see; school simply does not work for everyone.  Years later when it was time for Boo to make that match she didn’t pair well with school either, for totally different reason.  I had to make peace with skipping the parts of school I see as childhood.  I remember slowing evaluating each loss.  As it turns out none of the items had anything to do with learning, social or intellectual   Most of them where smells and feelings, feelings like being good at what I was doing- because I was good at school.  I liked to please teachers, color in the lines, be the quietest in line.  Not everyone does.
To school or not to school is, and always should be, a personal choice. That is the part I would like people to understand.  You don’t have to agree with our choice to homeschool but it is a choice.  And if school isn’t working for your child please consider all the options available not just those inside the brick school house box.
You can’t have it all.  All you can do is your best with what you have. Work your hardest at your pursuits.  Learn from your past, reach to your future.

Last night at gym after every one else had gone home for the day I watched my nine year old being good at what she does (one of many things she is good at!).  I watched her working.  Please don't underestimate that word 'work'.  She was tired and sore and mentally fried AND she was smiling, pushing, and wanting for herself.  It is almost uncomfortable to watch. She does not look nine years old when she is working.  These traits of a self driven child, a hyper focused perfectionist, were the very parts of her that didn't work in a one size fits all school.  I've said our various reasons for homeschool have changed over the years, what hasn't changed is who she is.  I now realized her childhood school memories will be there in that gym with those coaches who love and protect her.  With teammates who encourage her to always be her best self.

It’s okay for me to quietly morn the loss of school one time a year because everyday we celebrate the freedom and passion of our homeschooling life. 


  1. The things I miss the most are the rites of passage, which strengthen social connections, and the lack of the familiar in my son's life. If my son were in regular school, going to the prom, graduating, dissecting his first frog, trying out for choir or any of a million other things, it would be easy to relate to his experiences. But I'd be applying my own experiences to his. I still wouldn't know how he felt or what he saw, I would just think I did.

    For me, the beginning and ending of the regular school years are when I am most happy we are not part of it. Seeing kids being sad their summer is over and being overjoyed when school is finally out reminds me that my son isn't feeling that pain. Enjoy your Autumn!

    1. Karen,
      I love what you are saying. And I agree, seeing the 'schooled kids' lack of excitement about returning to school certainly does make me appreciate our way of living and learning.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.