This week we'll begin our eleventh year of homeschooling.
I, for one, am a little stunned.
In the spring of 1997 we were househunting. A friend told me about a place, for sale by owner, that sounded perfect. I called the family. Yes, we could come look at it, the mom told me. "We homeschool," she said, "so we'll all be here."
You homeschool? I thought. What kind of weirdos are you?
I remember the trepidation I felt as we knocked on the door for our tour appointment. What aberrant creature would answer the door? Would her children look pallid and wan from the lack of sunlight and fresh air? Would they know how to say "Hello" or "How are you?" or would they skitter back to their corners and closets at the sight of outsiders?
It's no surprise to most of you that the mom was very nice. The children spoke. They were allowed outdoors. This family had simply opted out of a system in order to do what they thought was best for their family. Hmmm. Interesting.
I'd been Catholic for a couple of years at this point, and was meeting new people all the time. Two of my new friends had actually tried homeschooling and both had quit. Still, I was getting more intrigued all the time.
By the time Anne-with-an-e was in preschool, I thought of homeschooling as "something on my heart" but I never thought we'd actually pursue it. Atticus, a public school teacher, had no interest in the idea. My "Don't Ever Homeschool" friends sat me down and gave me the straight scoop as they had experienced it. I was not discouraged.
The fall that Anne entered Kindergarten, I still despaired of my husband ever supporting the idea of homeschooling. But, that was a year of many miracles and not only did Atticus enter the Church in the spring, he also agreed that homeschooling would be a great thing to try for Anne's first grade year.
Yikes. We were actually going to do this thing.
Anne-with-an-e was not initially thrilled. She was convinced she would miss out on "that chocolate milk in little cartons." She thought she'd never see her friends. She even told one of my friends that her "stupid mom wants to homeschool." (Yes, a wee, little talk followed that incident.)
But in no time at all, Anne came to love all the pleasures, flexibilities and opportunities that homeschooling afforded. We had a terrific first year, and we committed to a second year. Then a third, and a fourth, and here we are.
This week we'll begin our eleventh year the same way we always begin -- with Holy Mass, breakfast out, good books and math, walks and talks.
And gratitude for the gift that homeschooling has been to our family.
I've always said that we'd do this one year at a time, and I meant it.
And so -- for one more year, our eleventh -- we begin.
What kind of weirdos are we?