Saturday, June 27, 2015

The End of Our Homeschool Era

Tonight we are going to a homeschool yearbook-signing party. My kids will see friends, sign yearbooks, and play in the park. My husband and I will see friends, eat potluck dinner, and cry into our hankies as we mark the end of an era - our homeschooling years. Okay, that’s not totally accurate. Kevin hardly ever cries in public. And I’m feeling nostalgic, but not really emotional. 

It has been a mostly-all-good six years. I’ve managed to teach the kids to read, do math, and feel comfortable doing science in pajamas. These kids are socialized, thriving, fun young people that I’ve been happy to have home with me all this time. But as a result of the occasional fear that I’m botching it, coupled with bouts of depression and loneliness, I think a change will be beneficial. I need the help and support of other teachers. I need more schedule, structure, and accountability than I currently have. Therefore, next year Joseph starts public high school and the other three will be attending a charter school. 

When I dropped off Joe at the high school the other day, where he was assisting in the set-up of a summer robotics camp, I was elated. He had something good to do that I didn’t orchestrate, wasn’t supervising, and could appreciate from a bit of a distance. For some, I realize, the desire to avoid such “letting go” is the exact reason they homeschool. For me, I’m grateful for the opportunities presenting themselves in the public school world. I may even hug their teachers every morning and bake cookies for them once a week. 

My life is going to change, big time. It hit me oddly a few days ago when I began to “unfollow” homeschool bloggers and companies on Facebook and Twitter. My identity is changing. I’m trying to imagine how it will feel to buy uniforms, review someone else’s curriculum choices, drop the kids off every weekday, and come home to a quiet house for the first time in fourteen years. (I’ve only homeschooled for six years but I’ve been a mom for over fourteen.)

What now? Do I get a job? Focus on the baseboards I haven’t cleaned? Volunteer somewhere? Stay in bed til noon, eat Bon-Bons til my pedicure then shop til I drop? The truth is, I don’t know. I’ve never had such quantities of time to myself. Before homeschooling, I had four babies in a row so all my time was spent pregnant, breastfeeding, potty-training, and getting pregnant again. This is a WHOLE NEW ERA, friends. And to be honest, it’s a little overwhelming. Maybe not as overwhelming as that whole breastfeeding and potty-training time, but still…

Kevin suggested I take at least one semester off before I begin a job hunt. I like that suggestion. Truthfully, most of my days will likely be filled with kid transport, helping in their classrooms, writing, cleaning those baseboards (just kidding, maybe), homework facilitation, and perhaps an exercise DVD minus the elementary-aged audience watching and telling me I’m doing it wrong.

Thankfully, summer break isn’t even half over. I have more time to dream about next year and relish my kids. I also have to teach them study skills, test-taking, and how to get out of their pajamas for science. Here's how it's going so far. See how riveted he is?