As I’m typing this I’m realizing that over the next few weeks my anxiety level will only rise as not ALL schools in our area or in most areas go back to school until after Labor day. This year our city goes back to school on August 31 (Today).
Up until now, my 2 older children attended public school and joined their peers on that big yellow school bus every morning 10 months out of the year and went off to school for 7 hours. I’d anxiously await their arrival home wanting to know all about their day and the conversation inevitably went like this:
Me: Hi! How was your day?
Me: What did you do?
Them: (Answer varies between “nothing” or them screwing up their face in concentration trying to remember what on earth they did all day)
But not this year… This year is different… This year, the bus left over an hour ago, the bell has rung and my kids are just now getting up and eating some breakfast before we start our day. This is the day it becomes REAL for us. All their friends have gone off to school but in March of this year we made the decision (and by we I mean me, my husband AND my children all had a say in this) that it would be their last school year in public school and we would begin homeschooling.
This morning I woke up and my emotions were all over the place. This is real. I admit, I felt a little sad, like my kids were missing out. We always got excited for the lead up to the first day of school and getting ready and going down to the bus stop for the first time. The excitement of going back to school and meeting new teachers, seeing who was in their class. But then I remind myself that, that excitement can only get you so far and only lasts so long. After a week or 2, the honeymoon is over and school becomes the same pain in the but it was in the years before. Then there’s the self doubt. What if I completely screw up and am a failure as a homeschool parent? What if my kids hate it and want to return to public school? How am I going to handle confrontations with people who don’t agree with homeschool? Seriously, the thought of taking my kids out in public right now TERRIFIES me! I know I’m doing the right thing for my children. We’ve actually been thinking about homeschool since Caleb, now 12 (OMG!), was in 2nd grade, but I didn’t have enough faith in my own abilities to take that leap.
Right now you are probably laughing at me and wondering, why, if I’m so confident in my choices, am I afraid to take my obviously school aged children out in public during the school day. Well, I’ll tell you….
I am an extremely non-confrontational person. Whether the confrontation be malicious or completely innocent, I PANIC! I could have all the valid and reasonable answers in the world, all the information is inside my head, my intelligent and well informed answers are ready, but as soon as someone asks me a question, I COMPLETELY FREEZE! I don’t know how to respond when my choices are being questioned. As soon as I walk away I can literally spend HOURS having an intelligent conversation or heated discussion with this person in my head with all the scenarios of how the conversation could have or should have gone in my head, but what good is that?!
I know the only solution is time. The only way to get over this particular fear is to face it. Get us out there and experience it. So, today, that is what we are going to do. I let my kids decide how they would like to spend the “first day of school”.
I had to laugh this morning while I was talking to Caleb, my oldest. We had just finished breakfast, I was washing the dishes and he was drying and he asks me when the school day ends, and I said, what do you mean? He said, when does our homeschool day end and the only response I had was, “well, it depends what were doing that day”. Then he says, ok, now what do I do? I said well, get dressed and brush your teeth. “Ok, done, now what do I do?” “What do you want to do? ” I want to watch videos until its time to go (were meeting other homeschoolers to socialize and play Pokemon GO this morning). “Ok, hey, did you ever write about our trip to Salem”? “Oh, right! What was that woman’s name, the one who was the first to hang as a witch?” “Bridget Bishop” “Oh, Right! I forgot her name, I’m going to go do that and then go watch videos until its time to go.” Sounds good to me. He hasn’t yet realized, even though I’ve said it more than once, that we’ve really been homeschooling all summer.
This is new to all of us and I know we’ll male some mistakes along the way, but I also know that this is the best thing for my family at the time. I HOPE it continues to be the right thing and we settle into a rhythm that makes us all the happiest we’ve ever been. I also hope you will share with us as we have successes and failures and endless adventures