Thursday, May 19, 2011

School's Out Blues

School is almost over and it's making me a little weepy.

Sad not for the reasons you might think though. I get nostalgic this time of year because the truth is real: my child is growing up. In my head, I start to count how many summers left until college and then it's Kleenex city.

I know, I know – growing up is part of the journey. But for me, this has been truly an amazing school year and I’m not ready for it to be over. As our first year of homeschooling ends, I am in awe of all that we endured and experienced. Just like Dicken’s great novel “Tale of Two Cities" begins "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom.”

Yes it’s true, homeschooling is not all sunshine and roses. There were the complete meltdown days where absolutely nothing worked and we were both crying – and it was only 9 a.m. Then there were the wonder days where we spent hours in museums or gardens, having the whole place to ourselves on a Monday. The freedom of a learning ecosystem at our own pace instead of a 9-3 p.m. timeslot was pretty darn cool.

The most surprising gift of all was a newfound connection with my son that I had never thought possible. Yes, I knew my son and all of his likes and dislikes before. But now, I feel like I know him in a much deeper way that I could not have appreciated without our daily toils. He literally goes everywhere and does everything with me. I’m proud to say that he even put up with hours of prom dress shopping with me and my niece --- simply because that was the task of the day. And he was okay with it.

As this year winds down, I look over the many joys, failures, successes and wonders and it makes me smile. Like finding a dollar in your pocket, I feel lucky to have stolen these days away from what the world thinks I should be doing. I know that more than money, these precious days will become my proudest moments as a parent.

Now before you think that I’m the sort that says “everyone needs to homeschool” – please don’t. Homeschooling is not for the faint at heart. It is definitely the road less travelled. However, come June, every parent in some way becomes a homeschool parent. It’s simply how you look at it. I hope your summer will be filled with the wonder of knowing your family in a deeper way. It’s the most important work we have as parents. And the hardest.