More than New Year’s Eve, the click of the calendar to the beginning of the traditional school year feels more of a fresh start to me than the wilds of January. Fresh notebooks. New pencils. Bold resolve. A clean locker. A chance to start over with best penmanship, early rising, and a commitment to scholarship.
But I’ve managed to rob my kids of the experience.
Now stop yowling. I’m not saying that homeschooling sidelines my kids or restricts them from any variety of classroom experiences. I know plenty of homeschooling families who make for themselves gorgeous traditional school calendars, who populate their game rooms with vintage schoolhouse desks and install blackboards and the like. And that’s great.
It’s just the way that our homeschool has evolved over the years seems to skip the fresh start part.
I used to recreate the traditional classroom experience. And I’d buy the fresh notebooks. And we’d start the same day that the ‘regular’ school kids did. And we’d take breaks at the same time.
And then…life happened.
And a variety of learning styles.
And a couple of major relocations that didn’t seem to care where we were in the school year.
And then there was that stint of living on an island in a house that had no spot for a vintage-school-desk-blackboard set up. And then there was that hurricane evacuation that sent us scurrying from that island in the first couple of weeks of school. So we had to put down some grammar lessons and pick up some learning time on jet streams and vortex weather patterns and evacuation procedures.
And then there were the school years where we added a new baby.
Guess what happened?
We still learned.
Education still happened.
We still read good books.
We still sloshed our way through algebra.
I get a lot of inquiries, now that we’ve seen four kids through full homeschool careers, who are now in college or have already graduated. People wanting to know what program, what support group, what co-op, what curriculum we’re using.
What our calendar looks like.
I tell folks I’m happy to talk homeschooling but that our version of it means we’re always schooling and always adapting and always evaluating.
With this size family, with the variety and depth of involvement in creative and business endeavors, with the crazy schedules and opportunities and idiosyncrasies…
It’s not exactly a plug-and-play endeavor at this point.
We school most of the year. With several of the kids who are training in dance at an advanced level, their days require a time commitment to their sport. Which means we school late at night. And early before they leave for classes. Then there’s that working thing I’ve been up to for a few years now. So sometimes there’s a tutor involved in the school week. Sometimes Saturday is a school day. Sometimes Sunday night. Often in July. And we get it done.
It’s not neat.
And it works.
But that top of the school year thing? That fresh canvas of lined paper and clean blackboards and the inability to sleep the night before a new slate of classes begins the next day?
I miss that.
Maybe this year.
Maybe when their buddies head back to the classroom.
Maybe we’ll have our own kickoff of what has already been ongoing year round.
It’s back to school.
It’s a chance to start afresh.
Happy new year.