It struck me on the weekend that if we were not a h/schooling family, I would be sending my Lizzie to her first day of school this morning, as a Kindergartener. Our back-to-school shopping would be complete and her new school clothes and backpack contents would have been laid out yesterday evening in preparation for this morning. Those thoughts brought back clear memories of my first day in Kindergarten and the excitement and anxiety that went along with it.
My last child, my baby, is now officially school age, marking a time of transition from babyhood to girlhood. How did this happen so fast?
The thought of taking her to a kindergarten classroom has me shaking my head. I'm not ready to let her go. The idea is overwhelming to me; I don't know how other moms worldwide do it so gracefully because I'd probably cry buckets and be the one hanging on to my kid's legs as she walked cheerfully into her new classroom.
And maybe that sounds like our decision to h/school is all about me...which it's not. But the thought of my baby being on her own in a room full of people who aren't her family, being taught by people who don't know who she is...well, I admit that it's a hard thought for me.
I recognize that for my kids, our decision to school at home comes with a cost. They won't have the memories that I do of waking up on the first day of kindergarten, donning those new clothes and gathering up those carefully selected school supplies. I survived my entrance into kindergarten and I have (mostly) good memories of that first year of school. I hope that my kids have a ton of other memories that compensate for the lack of this one, but still...it makes me a little sad that they won't have this to look back on.
Lizzie is a kid who would manage just fine in the school system, I'm sure. She's a social little creature and motivated to learn, and I see the school system being targeted towards girls like her. I think she'd be fine after an adjustment period.
There are days when I long for the normalcy of my kids going to school. There are days when I long to be back in the workforce and to be contributing to our family income again. There are days when I long for more freedom and personal space than my days currently afford. There are days when I really and truly long for other capable people to care for and teach my children. Despite believing that h/schooling is the right choice for our family, I regularly experience days when I'm restless and tired and simply want someone else to take over.
But today is not one of those days. Today is a day when I'm glad not to have to put Lizzie on a bus or walk her to school. Today is a day when we will stay in our pajamas a little longer and watch as the buses line up at the nearby school to drop off their precious cargo. Today is a day I'll hold her a little tighter as I think about all of our reasons for h/schooling. Today is a day when I'm thankful that we have options and that we can allow her to continue to flourish at home. Today is a day when I say a silent prayer for all of those other moms of kindergarteners whose hearts feel a little heavier as their child heads off for their first big day of school.
Today is a day I'm thankful that we homeschool.