Monday, March 19, 2012

on homeschooling...take 9284735

Sometimes I wonder why I speak of things that are real and concrete in my life. (And even more often, I wonder why I don't.) I rarely share my feelings in this space or even share my thoughts outside of food, crafting, and a bit of parenting. And now I see one of the reasons why...there's nothing like having to eat your words. Well, not so much eat my words in this instance as retract my statements (and my plans).

Not so very long ago, I wrote a blogpost about our decision to send Finn to kindergarten next year at the school we've come to love so dearly, and instead homeschool Elizabeth for 6th grade, which is the beginning of middle school in our area. As luck (chance? divine providence?) would have it, her school has been planning to expand into 6th-8th grades for several years and as it turns out that year will be NEXT YEAR. (It's quite a long story; the short of it is that we knew the expansion was happening but it was originally planned to be a year behind Elizabeth.)

So although I am not one to enjoy having my plans upset, even for an opportunity I'm delighted to see appear, Elizabeth will be remaining at her current school, Finn's new school, for 6th grade. I really have struggled internally with coming to terms with the notion after planning for many months to homeschool next year.

The struggle keeps being verbalized as "but I've already made plans and bought books and a small amount of curriculum pieces" but I know the largest issue is just that I planned to have a year with my daughter. A year to get to know her emerging, growing identity, her tween self, and a year to bond, travel, and explore with her.

I know I may get that time somewhere else down the road, but I was looking forward to next year. I've made mental lists of classic books, interesting topics, off-the-beaten-track art museums. And now I have to release those lists to allow her to follow what I know will be an amazing path, but a path that I won't be able to walk so closely beside her as she travels.

And so I find myself distracted. Finn is still schooling in his precocious 5-year-old way. We're crafting. I'm knitting, baking and growing my various kitchen brews. I'm even still reading, distractedly, the latest book I purchased to hold my hand down the homeschooling lane.

Someone asked me the other day, "aren't you glad you don't have to homeschool now?" I caught my breath, laughed nervously and fumbled for an answer. I'm grateful and appreciative that we have multiple choices that we are able to embrace for Elizabeth's education next year, but no, I'm not glad. I still self-identify as a homeschooling mom, and I wonder how to be that mom when I don't have any homeschoolers here with me.

And so, for the moment, I'm throwing myself into the planning, volunteering, meeting attending and anything the school needs a parent to be present for (and sometimes even if they don't). Which means I'm in this space a little less than I used to be, and my posts are probably a little less meaningful. Still trying to figure out where all of these pieces fit.


  1. Change is hard; losing this opportunity to be with Elizabeth even for a solid situation disrupts your flow; I am sorry. Sending healing energy and hope for smooth transitions for you.

  2. Ack. Great post. It is oh so bittersweet to let our children continue down paths without us holding their hand every step. I'm sure I would feel exactly as you do in this situation. Especially with a tween daughter. But know that she will be at a wonderful school (I know, you know that!). I am curious - is she excited about continuing there or is she a bit sad about not homeschooling as well?

  3. One of the hardest lessons a caring parent has to learn is that making a choice for your child and then watching circumstance make a different choice is ok. None of us is perfect just be the best parent you can and your children will turn out just fine (and you will probably survive it too.)

  4. I understand, i don't enjoy having plans changing on me either. But glad for her opportunity at school. I'm sure you'll enjoy your time helping at their school and maybe a little time to yourself as well.

  5. Oh Joy, I am so sorry it's a little bittersweet for you :( Here's the thing though. Before you were homeschooling, you were still doing all this supermom stuff. The projects, the outings, the hands on time with your kiddos. You know that routine and you excel at it. You can do it and you will. And your kids will continue to blossom and grow from the added nurturing they'll be getting from you plus the school. How lucky they are to have such a fabulous village of grown ups leading through the journey of learning.

  6. I so get this ! I am so tied to my Identification as a homeschooler I don't know what I would do if that changed... Hence my current struggle . Can I be a homeschooler with kids in school? So much to consider. In the end these kids are all going to turn out great because never have parents been able to give so much.

  7. I'm sad a little! i was looking forward to watching/listening to you on this path! As Elizabeth is several years ahead of my girls, i was eager to see how your girl homeschool/middle school looked. However, I don't have a choice, and if there was an art based school that I felt as at home with, i'd likely seriously consider it as well. And, I've always considered you a homeschool mom--whether your kids went to regular school weekdays or not...

  8. I understand. Change is hard but with the foundation you have given her, I am sure she will be great. I don't homeschool, but I do what my parents did-plenty of supplementing because of course, children learn all time yes. I think your plan of being involved will help immensely with the transition!
    Be well,

  9. I totally understand. We homeschooled last year and I had already prepared for this school year when I decided at the last minute to go back to school myself and send them back to public school. We still learn new things and go on cool trips...just in the spaces between school. :)Getting involved is a great idea, I did the same thing and enjoy it.


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