Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School and Not Back to School

Yesterday my eldest daughter headed off to college classes. She's attending school here in our town, so it's not the seismic shift it would be if she were moving away, but's it's new and different. Between classes and her job, we'll be seeing a lot less of her.

My middle daughter also went to a college class (dual high school/college credit for a foreign language), is thinking about getting a job, is involved in various activities, etc., so she's getting busier all the time, too.

Anne-with-an-e and Betsy are "back to school" in a way we've never really been before.

Ramona stayed home with me. We cleaned her room and took board game breaks. Atticus asked if it reminded me of the days when Betsy and I would walk Anne to her Kindergarten class at the school across the street and then spend the morning together, just the two of us.

It felt a little too weird to remind me of anything I've ever experienced before.

Being somewhat unschoolish, I've always been content to just "start" whenever it suits us. But sometime back my girls wanted things to be a bit more official. And Ramona is a big fan of official.

I'm philosophically opposed to school starting before Labor Day so, years ago, I chose the day after the holiday to be our annual, official kick-off day. But, as with most things in life, I've found that the more official things get, the more likely they are to be full of letdown.

Remember this post? I talked about "lowering my standards" for First Day Expectations. My main expectations always come down to two things for the first day:

We go to Mass. We go out for breakfast.

(Evidence here, here, and here [although in this one, I neglected to mention Mass. Did we not go? I can't remember a year when we didn't start the first school day with Mass, so either I was sloppy in my recounting of the day, or something was amiss.] And here.)

Everything else is gravy. (Or cream in the coffee.)

I've never expected us to move from summer languor to school year rigor in 0-to-60, though Anne and Betsy are experiencing some of that in a way that Ramona and I can still skim over. Still, since I have a ten-year-old, full-time homeschooler, and a 16-year-old, part-time homeschooler, I'm going to hang on to my unschoolish ways awhile longer, and savor what I have, while learning to deal with what's new and different.

So, we are both back to school, and not back to school at our house. We are adjusting. Sometimes we are a little dizzy. We might need more Masses. More breakfast out. Definitely more coffee.

Most of all, as has always been true, we need each other. And we're here for each other.

Some things never change.

(Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng.)


Anonymous said...

I'm also philosophically opposed to school starting prior to Labor Day. I still feel like we're getting cheated out of a week of summer! :)

What a lovely post and expresses one of the things I envy about homeschooling-flexibility. For various reasons, I can't (won't) homeschool, but I am happy with my kids' Catholic school. Still, I think I would enjoy some of that flexibility.


Unknown said...

This is a great post that touches on my feelings about just being together:) I have three boys, and my oldest, 16, is going to take dual enrollment in the Spring. So this semester he is going to do a lot of independent stuff to get ready -- pre- read textbooks, etc. It's going to be a fun time, and I hate that there are only two years left with my 3 boys together!!!! (Can't let myself go there...don't go there)

Faith said...

I know what you mean. It is hard having a foot in both worlds - the formal learning one and the homey, relaxed one. Hard to keep a sense of balance, I find!

Karen Edmisten said...

Lynn, yes, I want the whole world to keep counting August as summer. :)

Unknown, isn't it amazing how quickly the high school years sneak up on us?

Faith, it is a balancing act. I miss those days of reading Little House books outside under the oak tree. :)