Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler
When I first made the decision to homeschool, I dreaded August and September. Looking through my Facebook feed once brought me to tears. It had been an especially rough day. The children were little and making messes. I hadn’t had a break; I had been constantly interrupted.
And there in my news feed, was the constant drip of friends gloating about the day their children went back to school. One mentioned eating ice cream for breakfast and jumping on beds. Another said she and her husband played video games all morning after dropping the children off.
I looked around my messy home and, in that moment, I hated my life. I saw my parenting years stretched ahead of me, a dreary corridor of drudgery. No independence, no alone time and someone constantly pulling on my elbow demanding attention.
Eight years later, I realize how wrong I was. Those tiny hands, which once needed attention, are now busy doing their own thing. I have lost nothing and have gained so much by homeschooling:
Why not back to school? (for your children)
When I was moaning, I forgot my children would not remain small. Someday, they wouldn’t need assistance to reach the countertop and they wouldn’t need hand-holding. They would just need my guidance and support.
The sheer amount of time my children have today gives them the freedom to pursue what interests them. As I say often on my blog, a homeschooler’s two biggest assets are time and liberty. We are discovering that first-hand.
My daughter likes to bake. She spends her days looking for recipes, planning menus and baking. My middle son enjoys puzzles, so he uses most of his free time playing video games and doing extra math work (yes, you read that right!) in the online program we use. He also loves trivia and reads facts to spout at dinner.
And the littlest one? Well, he’s still Mr. Chaos, but loves to spend time with the older two, watching and learning. He hangs on his older brother’s every word and makes him feel important.
This camaraderie would be impossible in a traditional school, where they would be straight-jacketed into doing what’s most expedient. Instead we have freedom. I am here as support while they explore what makes them tick.
Homeschooling gives my children the opportunity to learn at the speed of life and at the speed of their individual interests; not at some predetermined grade and age levels. It gives them a chance to become best friends with each other.
Why not back to cchool? (For you, yes, you!)
While I was throwing my personal pity party, I never imagined our current quiet mornings where the children wake up and make themselves breakfast while I work on transcription files.
We begin “school work” later in the morning, after chores. We get to decide our routine, not a school. Our education is not limited to books, and it’s definitely not just for our children. Both my husband and I make time to learn new things, enroll in courses, give ourselves assignments.
This life is impossible in a traditional setting where mornings are busy, everyone is locked in for the day away from each other, and evenings become a rush to get homework, dinner and chores done. Where’s the free time? No one is on Facebook talking about this on back to school day!
Homeschooling can give you time to yourself while giving you an opportunity to grow right along with your children. No need to send them away. I wish I had known that.
All this to say…
If you feel disheartened by the picture of the mom in the pool clutching a margarita on back to school day while you wipe spit-up off your shirt, remember: This won’t last forever. It will get better.
And one day, you’ll look back and laugh at your old self. You’ll celebrate a “Not Back to School” day. Heck, maybe you’ll celebrate a month. Or a year.
Or, just maybe, a life.
What do you love most about NOT heading “back to school?”