Monday, August 11, 2008

The Un-First Day of School.....

...for lack of a better term.
I've been struggling a bit with doubt about our decision to homeschool (I do this occasionally). I'd probably be having doubts no matter what we decided. Is it the right thing? Maybe something else is better? I especially have doubts when Brendan says, "I want to go to "real" school." Ugh! How do I explain to my eager kindergartner why we are choosing to not put him in a regular school setting? How do I deny him the fun that I know he would have???
My reasons for homeschooling are many, but I occasionally feel sad that he might be missing out on that beginning of the year fun of going to school. New kids, new supplies, new backpacks, lunchboxes and school clothes. New teacher, new classroom, new books, first day of school breakfast and pictures. So fun! I still remember what my elementary school smells like. Kind of a mix between hot lunch and Elmer's glue paste (remember that stuff?!). Totally nostalgic.
Every "con" that I come up with for homeschooling, I have been easily able to discover a solution for, that will allow us to homeschool while still giving the kiddos (or me) experiences I think we should have.
So, back to the beginning of the year, first day of school, excitement. Most of the neighborhood kids and Brendan's friends went back to school today. (They start so early here in AZ!). I read a fantastic idea on the Sonlight forum (for homeschoolers using the Sonlight curriculum) about how families celebrate the "un-first" day of school. Apparently lots of families make an effort every year to do something special on the day that every one else goes back to school. I read about families who picnic all day at the lake that day, or go to the zoo (because there aren't many field trips on the first day of school. You get the whole zoo to yourself!), or they take their kids out to a way to say, "hey! look what we can do because we homeschool!" I thought it was a fantastic idea. So today, as a way to celebrate the un-first day of school, we went to Starbucks for chocolate milk and playing games and then to Pump It Up! and had the place to ourselves there for a while. We had lots of fun.
We will be officially starting school next Monday (if our school stuff gets here) and are anxiously waiting for "Box Day" when all of our new books arrive courtesy UPS. That will be another fun day! I hope my kids will have fond memories of these kinds of things and realize they didn't miss out on a thing. Maybe when they are old (like me) they will fondly remember the smell of opening those boxes full of exciting new books and the possibilities of a brand new school year at home!

Playing Go Fish (Disney "Cars" style)

Lovely 92 degrees at 9:30 am....A little hot for hot coffee outside!

........................................................................................................Oops. Time-out!

Loving Kindergarten already!


Erin Lea said...

I wish I could find the words to convey to you how great and brave I think you are for doing what you are doing for your kids!!! I could NOT DO IT. You have a gift of patience, tolerance and creativity. I know that I have said this before, but I truly respect what you are doing. Bottom line is … you know what is right for your kiddos. I have no doubt that when you choose to integrate them into the public school system that they will be ready and willing. Just think of when you were younger and came into the middle school from Southside. You did just great. I look forward to hearing about your school year. Take care and good luck, Erin

Luke said...

Those Sonlight Moms on the Forums are a cleaver bunch, aren't they? [smile]

Looking forward to hearing about Box Day!


Anonymous said...

That looks like a pretty awesome day, more like a birthday, without the cake, presents, and fishing. I think homeschooling is pretty cool, kids and parents get more time together, which I think these days is in severe decline in our society and needs to be remedied quickly. The one thing I have against it, and this could be because I was always on the positive side of things at school for the most part, is that the kid(s) miss out on the social interactions, both good and bad. Meeting all the kids, making friends, making enemies, getting in fights and suffering the consequences, how to behave when you are not around your parents, how to learn how to handle new situations when you might not know anyone. Lots of people would say that you take all the negatives of school away when you homeschool, but I guess those negatives help mold you as a person and are not really that bad. I still think homeschooling is a great idea, I just struggle with how to incorporate what they are missing.
Uncle Bubba

Anonymous said...

What an awesome day . . . you can't get much better than Pump It Up, Starbucks and playing Go Fish! Brendan and Wyatt are fortunate to have parents who are completely engaged and truly care so much about their education. Props to you both! With the move to Phoenixville, what a blessing that you do not have to pull Brendan out of kindergarden/school and move him to a new school (in my opinion). :)