The first day of school is always an interesting day for me as a homeschooler. Especially as interest-led unschoolers, or whatever we are.
My facebook feed is a parade of back-to-school smiles from kids I know well and kids I don't know well.
From coast to coast and beyond.
Back! To! School!
And it's exciting. And beautiful. And I get butterflies in my own tummy for those little ones off on this grand adventure, many for the first time.
But over here, it's just Tuesday.
There is no school to get back to. No photos to take of us lined up at the bus stop.
Just us. In our jammies. Making tea and doughnuts.
If I'm being honest it's a little bittersweet.
Because I'm actually someone who had a pretty great public school experience growing up.
And so somehow I'm hardwired to the rhythm of September and "back-to-school".
The new notebooks and pencils, the I-hope-I-like-my-teacher jitters, the backpack and the lunchbox, the I-hope-my-best-friend-is-in-my-class longing, the big bus rumbling down my street.
And for my kids that all so foreign.
It's something they've heard about from their friends and read about in books. But it's not their thing.
Their lives have very much remained unchanged since they arrived. It's our life and our life learning, day after day.
So there's no "first day of 6th grade".
There are no grades at all.
(I actually just had to do the math to determine what grades my kids would be in where they going to school. Fourth and eighth as it turns out.)
And August and September aren't really so different from one another except that the tomatoes are coming in.
And I love that. With my whole heart. I count it on my very short list of blessings each day.
But like any parent, I want to make the best choices for my kids.
And so my shadow self whispers in my ear, "Are you sure? Are you totally sure of this path? Because everyone else is doing something different."
And I'm thankful for that dark little voice.
Because I hear it. I dig in. I ask questions. I roll the idea around in my head.
What would it be like if we made a different choice?
Because personally I don't think school is bad or judge anyone for their choice to send their kids there.
It can be a wonderful experience! Just as homeschooling can.
But it has to be a fit.
And so I hear that little voice, year after year, and then I always remember what brought me to this path.
I look at my kids and I ask myself, "Are they thriving? Are they learning? Are they on fire and loving life most every day?"
I truly can't imagine how we could be happier.
And so we begin another day. Another season. Another year.
And as I am each September, I'm so thankful for today.
Originally posted in 2013.
5 thoughts on “First day of homeschool”
Boy, are they growing up…..just in the time that I’ve been following your blog! Happy September to y’all too…..I’m down to just one left at home & she’s studying to take her GED now. It’s been an awesome ride & I would do it all over again if we had the choice. 😉
I still get the warm fuzzies for back to school time too Rachel! Even as an unschooler it’s a magical time for me that I look forward to every year. This first month of school is my favorite time to visit places and do field trips because the public school kids usually don’t start their field trips until the end of September or early Oct. The buzz of the summer has died down, the ps kids aren’t there and we have the places all to ourselves.
Our oldest, 2 years and 1 day older than Sage, would be a Junior in HS if he had stayed in public school. His birthday is just before the cutoff date for the state we lived in at the time. Instead he decided he wants to study for and take the GED this year as he’s working to launch his coding career. Our middle child would be in second grade and our youngest would be starting kindergarten.
So inspiring to read, Amy! A lot of the older (HS-aged) kids have set off to school this year in our community so Sage is now in the oldest cohort. (And there aren’t many his age.) At this stage he wants to homeschool for the duration, so it’s always encouraging to hear real-life stories of other older homeschoolers/unschoolers. Thank you for sharing! xo
Me too, Amy! Have a great September.
You made the best choice cos only you knows whats best for your kids.