Today is the first day of classes in our school district. The big guys are back in school. The little guys are here at home. The difference is...had I chosen to enroll him, Theodore would have started Kindergarten today.
It's a weird moment. On one hand, nothing has changed. But there's this *hole* in the expectation, if that makes sense...this sense of what could-have-been and a little twinge of nostalgia about the never-to-be "first day of school" pictures (although also a heaping helping of relief over no "first day of school" tears) and a bit of tension with me pondering anew my decisions.
Having spoken with a number of other homeschooling mothers, I'm starting to think that the occasional rethinking is pretty normal. And most of the time, it reminds me of all of the reasons WHY I wanted to try this route, and strengthens my resolve. However, just the fact that I do it at all makes me wonder if I need stronger faith (something I've always lacked in all areas of my life), and makes me feel like a waffler when I want to be more firm in my convictions. Sigh. Ah well, something to work on personally.
It's a "school" day. Part of me wants to do nothing at all different. Part of me wants to recognize the moment with some constructed rite of passage. Part of me feels not only external but a bit of internal pressure to "do" something tangible...to plan and structure and record our moments to justify to myself and to Others that this actually is a process and not just laziness. Part of me knows that true learning and comprehension, even when brought about by traditional means, is most often invisible and gradual and unpredictable and often indescribable. Oh, and NOT tied to a school year calendar. What is all of this stuff they've been filling their heads with up until now, if not knowledge and experience and understanding? I have always known--and want them to embrace--that education is not something that comes exclusively from approved texts, presented by trained lecturers and confirmed by standardized tests.
For those of you who hear "homeschooling" and think "flashcards"; yes, we are learning...but no, it doesn't look like that much, and no, there's no difference between yesterday and today to signify "starting" anything new. I'm still marching to an eclectic and rather free-form drummer...I'm attracted most strongly right now to Charlotte Mason (for the reading, reading, reading) and Waldorf (for the nature and cyclical rhythm) and both of those approaches will probably shape our journey for the immediate future. For my own sake, I am planning to record things a bit more frequently. For their sake, I'm still going to keep things as natural and joyful and unplanned as possible. We'll see how it goes.
The kids are still asleep (joy #1 of homeschooling!), but I think we may mark today with a trip to Holcomb's for a few basic supplies--notebooks for journaling, a basic globe for emerging discussions, etc. Then a stop at the local library, and perhaps a game of mini golf in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Because if nothing else, the freedom to explore during those hours is one of the best gifts that home education allows us.
Happy Learning, everyone!