I am very guilty of comparing homeschooled or unschooled children to publicly schooled children. I do think it’s because I’ve needed to be on the defense for so long (to our family and friends) about our decision to school at home and the merits of such. Especially after hearing about my daughter’s day yesterday, it solidifies our decision that this is the correct path for us. Her handlebars fell off her bike and she couldn’t steer. She had to stop in the path, holding up the the rest of the crew momentarily, while trying to figure out how to solve this hiccup. One (public schooled) girl said, “Geesh! You’d think you could move out of the way.” *I’m not sure where she thought she could go anyway, because they were riding as a group and needed to stick together.* Meanwhile, one of our home-schooled acquaintances stopped, grabbed a wrench and came to help repair the bike. Now, it’s not as though I expect to shelter my kid from rude people for the rest of her life, because I know that’s impossible. It’s moments like this, however, that make me grateful for the helpful and encouraging and polite attitude that homeschooling fosters.
Each year we reevaluate our position on homeschooling and our ability to provide quality education for our child. We parents discuss the logistics, such as struggling to survive on less than two incomes. We pull Mallory into the conversation to make sure it is still working for her. We discuss concepts for change and reflect on ideas that were successful. As our end-of-year teacher assessment draws near, I consider our accomplishments and also fret about our shortfalls. I'm overly analytical about success and how it's measured.
I can also find solace in knowing that I am capable of facilitating these off the farm and out of our home learning occasions for her benefit, not mine. Listening to many of the other parents in the parking lot, who were dropping their kids off, they cannot stand to be around their children in the summer. They fill the summer with camps just so that they can get a break from their children. As if the 7 hours a day, 180 days a year wasn’t enough time away. Soon the kiddos will be grown and gone and they’ll wonder where the time went. I won’t!
I arrived home to find this very aptly timed post in my email inbox: benhewitt.net/2016/08/05/so-i-let-it/ If you haven't read Ben's writing, I'd encourage you to do so. Your life might feel richer and more connected.
Here's a pic of my beautiful, sweaty, athletic girl and her friends. Photo courtesy of Vermont Mountain Bike Camps.