Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

The new school year has officially begun. Children everywhere are up and out early in the morning, heading for bus stops, schools, and classrooms. Bright and shining faces (and some sullen and grumpy ones) all head off for a new day and a new year. It is a time of year I have always enjoyed, even when I was in school myself.

We have decided to homeschool. This is not a reflection on our views of public school, not due to our religious orientation, nor is it a commentary on modern society (well, maybe a small comment). I have read about and been interested in homeschooling since long before I was a parent. In fact, I read my first book about it before I was married. I have always hoped that when the time came I would be able to give it a try.

So here I am, realizing a heart's desire and I find myself sad and a little jealous of my friends with kids heading off to school. I am looking at pictures of smiling children dressed in clean clothes, with bright eyes, skipping their way to the bus stop. Friends are telling me of how cheerfully their child climbed onto the bus for the ride to school. My stomach knots and I wish I could be there too.

In my reading about homeschooling I have come across a concept called de-schooling. It is the time a child will need to decompress and adjust to homeschooling after being in school. I have heard all kinds of guidelines on how long a child might need to make this adjustment. I didn't think I was going to need this time, since we have never been in school before. Perhaps I am wrong.

Even though I have always wanted to homeschool, I was sure it wouldn't be possible. I prepared myself for the moment when we would join in with that phase of parenting. You know- early mornings, packed lunches, school buses, PTA, parent conferences and the like. Maybe what I need is a little de-schooling. I need to adjust to the reality that my memories of the first year of school are going to be different.

Different is ok. Different fits for me and my family. I am just going to take a deep breath and trust in myself and my child. We are going to have a great year, full of great memories. We might not have cool Fall mornings drenched in sunshine standing at the bus stop. We also won't have freezing Winter mornings in the dark and the rain either. Everybody's choice will have good, bad and indifferent. I will have fabulous days when I am sure we are doing the right thing, and days when I doubt my sanity. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am not alone, and though my choice may be different, my experiences are very similar.

Homeschooling is right for us. At least it is right for us right now. I am going to take it one day at a time. I am ready to make great memories that are unique for our family. It is an adventure I am ready for.