Today. Just another rainy day in August. Too much to do and yet nothing to do. I’m lacking motivation today. Tobias is at football – the first of four sports days with his new school. I hope he’s having fun even though he will be getting very wet and muddy. It’s not the official start of term but it feels like it. And ever since we took him out of school five and a half years ago, this day has been a shadow in the background. Hardly visible most of the time but always there. The beginning of the end of our home educating life. In some ways it’s just a bend in the road and there’s likely to be a lot of home educating going on here for years to come. But today it feels more like an end than a beginning.
There’s a lot to be positive about. I’m proud of my biggest boy and I love watching him grow and gain independence. He has chosen this next step himself, worked hard to get where his is now and is (most of the time) looking forward to this new experience. I have loved having him at home with me for so much of his childhood and I am so glad I didn’t blink and miss it. But I have always said it is his choice and now he is ready to move on.
I’m happy for him but I’m a little bit sad too. Suddenly our freedom to go where we like when we like is gone, and all the children will be affected by that. But more than that, I’m sad that Tobias’ time will be so structured. I know there will be lots that he will enjoy at school but I don’t want him to miss out. I wish he could have the benefits of school without giving up so much time. Time to learn what he wants to learn and study things in depth. Time to read a whole novel in a day. Time to relax with friends. Time to cook meals for the whole family. Time to play with his baby brother.
I saw this on facebook yesterday and it summed up a lot of the things I’ve been feeling recently.
I hope we will be able to find a way to work round the edges of school, to live our lives and learn and grow, to keep school in its place as a resource, a part of the education we want our children to have but by no means all of it.
Over the years I’ve often been asked why I’m home educating. There are many ways to answer that question but the simplest answer is this – I want them to love learning. I’m proud of Tobias and everything he has achieved throughout his primary school years at home. But most of all I’m proud and happy that he loves to learn and now I think he is mature enough that school, even though it isn’t perfect, won’t ever be able to take that away from him. So that’s why I know he is ready to go.
And as I’m writing this he’s just walked through the door – wet, muddy and happy, so I think the first day was a success. This is it – the beginning of the end. But I’m hopeful it’s the beginning of something good too.
Tobias (I know you will read this!) – I am praying for you, that you will enjoy your time at school, have lots of fun and make new friends. I hope and expect you will do well at school, but I want you to remember what’s really important. Just be yourself – trustworthy and reliable; kind and generous; enthusiastic and open-minded – and then you will be able to make the most of the new challenges and opportunities that school will bring.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)