Today is our first day back to full-fledged school.While I think we all have mixed feelings about it (we love to study but we also love the freedom of summer), I think we’ll do ok.Our schooling has changed over the course of the last 7 years and so have our attitudes toward it.
I remember the first summer we homeschooled.I had convinced Friend Husband that Sarah would benefit more from being at home than from doing whatever it was in public school.From her demeanor, it was clear that some sort of something bad was happening there and I didn’t want to lose any more of my daughter than was already gone.(Turns out that it wasn’t gone, it was just hidden behind a wall, but that’s neither here nor there.)
So I planned.I planned for a solid 6 months before we started.I sought the counsel of knowledgeable homeschoolers (like Angela, who I met at this time).I looked at books (I think I read every homeschooling book in the Kenton County Library System), I perused websites.I researched homeschooling laws.I gathered information and bided my time.My plan was to teach Sarah and Rachel (a kindergartner at the time) for the summer and if it didn’t work out, I’d send them both off to public school and no one would be the wiser.Needless to say, that didn’t happen and here we are, the first day of our 7th year of learning at home.
This is Sarah’s first day of “high school”.It’s Rachel’s first day of “middle school”.It’s Abby’s first day of “third grade”.It’s the beginning of a brand-new year.
I remember that first year with great fondness.I knew, even as I was making plans, that I would look back at myself then and roll my eyes.I do, but it’s more the sort of thing you’d do to a beloved but enthusiastic younger brother or sister.I wish I had some of that enthusiasm today.What I have now is knowledge and history.I know that things can and do go wrong, but I also know that we have the tools to persevere and triumph over our problems.
What I didn’t know then but know now is that our family has benefited immeasurably from the homeschooling experience.Yes, we’ve gained the book knowledge, legal knowledge, and some organizational skills.We’ve realized that we can be quite creative and flexible if need be.But the benefits run deeper and I’m more grateful for them than I am for anything else.We’re a closer family because of homeschooling.It’s true, we all get on each other’s nerves but we also cherish each other more, I think.I have gotten to know my girls more deeply than I would have if I’d sent them off to someone else for hours a day, 180 days a year.I think I respect and understand more of their strengths and weaknesses than I would have otherwise and I think they know me better than I ever dreamed of knowing my own mother.(Which is very scary!)We’ve gone off on tangents, we run into brick walls, we’ve found things that work and we’ve found things we’ll never try again.Most of all, we’ve found each other and that’s the most precious thing we’ve learned in our years of homeschooling.
Happy new school year, to all of you!It’s a time for new beginnings, a time when the slate is clean and everything is possible.I love that about beginnings.But I also like knowing that, no matter what happens, we’re together and we can handle it.