It’s “Not Back to School Time” for us for the 11th year now. I’m sure you already know the typical rhythm of these weeks if you a) have kids in school, or b) spend any time on Facebook since there’s a proliferation of posts on that very topic.
I’m fascinated by the range in those posts too - from “Oh summer went too fast, I can’t believe they’re back in school already!” to “Yahooey my kids are back in school - peace in the house again!”.
While I share anyone’s love of peace, I can’t quite get behind the “I’m so glad to have my days back to myself” mentality. Really, is being around your kids *that* bad? And if so, how do you think their teachers feel? And what are you doing to improve the situation for all parties involved? Because if things are that rough, sending your kids away all day isn’t helping anyone, trust me.
Over the years I’ve had more people than I can count ask me if I plan to homeschool all the way through high school. And until recently, I’ve chosen the politically correct and least controversial response which is “We’ll take one year at a time and see how it goes. We’re not locked into anything.” Which really I say to get people off my back.
Because I never intended to ever send them to school.
But I say “we’ll see” because when people hear that, they think there’s a good chance that I’ll chicken out or buckle under the work and send my kids to school for high school and then they'll be relieved, because goodness knows I couldn’t be qualified to teach it at home (and truth be told, I’m not - that’s why we use plenty of classroom-based and online sources to cover what I can’t).
And let’s not even mention how anti-social and sheltered my kids are by doing school at home.
(except they’re not)
Anyway, back to the fact we’re “Not Back to School” for another year.
Winnie is starting on her senior year in high school now, Caton on his sophomore and Aster on her freshman.
While I’d never be so brash as to congratulate myself for making it this far, I do feel like I’ve got some homeschooling street cred now. It’s as if others can breathe a sigh of relief on my behalf.
(Thanks for the vote of confidence, folks…)
When people hear that my oldest has completed most of her high school courses and is starting on her college credits while working as a veterinary assistant and preparing for an internship in the spring (she wants to be a service dog trainer), they figure that we’ve probably been doing OK after all.
And they figure I’ll probably do right by my other two kids as well, if the first one is on the verge of coming out OK.
And I hope I will do right by them. But the truth is, I really don’t know yet. They’re different kids with different learning styles and have different goals for themselves. Both of them see themselves going for a 4-year college degree which has never been in Winnie’s plans. For her, practical life experience almost always won out over academics. And that’s serving her well as she pushes forward in her career training, which is far more hands-on than academic.
So as for how the other two are going to turn out, I don’t know yet. I’ve never prepared a kid for the end goal of a bachelors degree. But I’ll still take it one year at a time, one semester at a time, one month at a time, one week at a time. Heck sometimes we just need to take it one day at a time.
At least that what I say out loud to people. That’s not the story running through my head, though.
Because no matter what goals my kids have for themselves, the end goal I have for them is to become lifelong learners, problem solvers, creative thinkers, and socially conscious members of society.
And to get there, I’ll need to have a few more “Not Back to School” years with them to finish the job.