Weeks ago I saw the video (along with countless others) with the Framingham mom dancing to ‘Celebration’ as her kids boarded the school bus on the first day of school. Apparently, it made such an impression that it ended up on Good Afternoon America.
I get it. I do. Like any other mom, I need breaks. What mom doesn’t? In fact, thanks to a good friend, I’m on a break right now as I attempt to finish writing this. The dancing goes beyond getting breaks though. We’re talking a whole cultural thing. We’re reared, schooled, and conditioned in a way that we get our fill of the kids and then we're just not able to take it anymore.
So while I understand it, in much the same way that one understands their native language being spoken around them, in large part I’ve stepped outside of this ‘norm’ and so am able to see things differently. Therefore, I do feel a bit disheartened watching the popularity of the celebration.
However, for the time being while most seem to just go along with this school year mentality (and my mentality perhaps not so much), I’ll join in. I will…
on the flip side.
I too am “celebrating” that school has started. While the other children get shuttled away, I get to dance *with* my girls…at home! Actually, we really do dance, and it’s a blast!
I’m very excited to have my girls for longer and more regular periods of time. With summer having demanded completely random outside play and activities (and we were happy to comply), the will to keep routine and needed tasks somewhat on track was, well…less than rock solid. ;-) Now the longer and less interrupted time with my girls brings more structure, including chores (which we call house helping), violin practice, outings, chosen explorations and studies, classes, groups, etc.
O.K., well I can keep hoping on the chore and daily task thing, right? :-)
Don’t get me wrong. We love summer! Spring and Summer are for sure my favorites and the girls cherish the abundance of time with their schooled friends. There is something though about having more steady time, and that's universally understood. Aside from our own schedule regularity, it is also a bit easier to find time for healthy play and visits with our home ed. friends, as they too settle into
their chosen activities and we figure out our common open times. Any home ed. family would also never forget to mention that they really appreciate more space and enjoyment at museums, parks, stores, libraries, etc. :-)
O.K., schedule has its place, but enough of that! Our celebration is more focused on things like…
plopping on the couch under a shared blanket at least once a day to enjoy our chosen “Together Read”. We just finished ‘Mandy’ by Julie Andrews Edwards. Yes, that Julie Andrews; getting back into the great homeschool classes at New England Sports Academy in Westwood; Rebecca (8) having fun in a newly formed Girls Group; going outside at random times to shoot hoops, climb trees, and go for walks; frequenting the ‘Coffee Hut’ in Sudbury for donuts and chatting with fellow ‘Frammer’ Dawn Harkness before lounging around at home composing stories and playing Gin Rummy; and even getting some individual time with the dog across the street as part of Cassandra’s pet sitting.
I cannot imagine days without the constant exploring, discussions, creations, outings, reading, affection, spontaneous singing, game playing, etc. Sure, things can get intense and stressful. That’s life. That’s family. That’s our blessing to be able to have the time to deal with that, ride those waves, and meanwhile be integral parts of each other’s uninhibited learning. Having our home as base creates an environment in which the family time can play out more in line with our natural rhythms both individually and as a family. Our bonds include not only seeing the good, but the bad and the ugly too, and *wow* it can get darn ugly! That’s o.k., and knowing that’s part of how it should be, we don’t always feel desperate to run. Quite the opposite actually.
So, a month in so far…
We’ve seen the beginning of Rebecca’s created story called ‘The Parrot and Her Loss’, so far typed up and printed out with graphics, a cover, and plans for an inside back cover with an author photo and bio. Editing with Mama, on paper and with newly learned editing marks, in the works for some time during this coming week. We’ve also seen a new and fascinating experience up at Wolf Hollow and yummy cider donuts at Russell’s Orchard in Ipswich; a bit of clothes shopping; and Cassandra excitedly getting into her beginning Latin book while I learn a few words and tie some together with English alongside.
The last week or so has seen book group, baking, first ever orchestra practice, volunteering at Green Decade, discussions about living in the White House, whipping up a board game in an hour (board and all), the passing of our last hermit crab, math stories, and finally enjoying the sun after a week (and more) of rain!
After that, what’s next? Hmmm…who knows?!
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To learn more about home education, please visit Advocates for Home Education in MA (AHEM) at www.ahem.info.