One by one, our homeschooling friends are going back to school. I admit that I'm tempted. Wouldn't it be nice to "just" be the mom? No more answering "What do we have to do for school today?" No more Sunday night list making. No more worrying and stressing about whether or not I'm teaching them everything they need to know. More coffee with girl friends. More time to clean and organize my house. Maybe I could finally get to that four year old to-do list.
Whenever I am trying to make a big decision, my wise younger sister always advises me to envision my day to day life as it will be if a make the change. When I envision my life with my kiddos back in school, I don't like what I see. I see rushed mornings. I see kids coming home exhausted after spending all day at school yet still facing two to three hours of homework at night. I see me opening up a lunch box and finding a lunch that wasn't eaten because my child was being teased at the lunch table and couldn't "stomach" eating. (Ugh... I still get teary when I remember that event.) I see busy work, stress over state tests, drug dogs... I could go on and on. I see these things because I have seen them. I've done this before. It's less than 70 days until my second son graduates from public school (not that I'm counting). Having had two children go to public school from K-12, I know of what I speak. As I have said over and over and over, my kids have had some fantastic teachers and experiences in public school. They have also had some not-so-great experiences. I'm just not ready to travel that road again... yet.
I'm not saying my children will never go back to school. I don't know what tomorrow holds. When people ask how long I'm going to do this, I often respond, "At least until next week." What I do know is that I really like my life right now the way it is. I love learning with my children. I love not feeling rushed. I love walking into the family room and seeing them bundled up by the fireplace reading or working on math. The flexibility is priceless. It's wonderful to be able to drop the books and go spend time in nature on a beautiful day. I like being able to allow them to follow their interests instead of having to follow someone's idea of what they should be learning at this point in time. When I focus on the the good things, I realize that there is a lot that I would miss.
So... I have started reading John Holt again. I'm reading homeschool blogs and books. I watched Sir Ken's Ted Talk for the umpteenth time. I have committed to making new connections with other homeschoolers. I am going back through the pictures of our first two years of homeschooling and re-reading my blogs from those days. I'm even considering going to a local homeschool convention, which will be new for me. I am reminding myself of why I started this journey in the first place and it gives me renewed passion to continue. Thanks for following along.
"What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out." ~ John Holt