A friend called me the other day--a friend who I hadn't talked to in a very long time. As we were catching up, she said something about not realizing we were "continuing" with the homeschool "thing." I was a little baffled then realized that the last time we had spoken, homeschooling was a short-term fix for us. It was something I was going to do for Erin to help her transition into "normal" school. See, when she left the Montessori program she was in, she too far ahead academically to go to first grade. Now, for many kids, this would not be a problem--a few extra-credit assignments and they'd be fine. But not Erin. Never one to be bored and quiet about it, Erin would have very quickly risen to the ranks of Troublemaker and that would have rapidly been followed with trips to the principal's office, parent-teacher conferences and, ultimately, I'm sure, a diagnosis of ADHD and medications. I had hoped that doing 6months to one year of homeschooling would get her focused enough to go to regular school with the ability to breathe through her impatience and contain her exuberance. Obviously that isn't what happened.
As we are half-way through our second year of homeschooling and, at present, planning to homeschool Megan alongside Erin next year, my friend clearly began to worry about my kids. "Are you going to do this forever??" she asked, a little shocked. I told her, "You know, the bottom line is that I trust my kids. I trust them to learn what they need to learn and I trust them to know what is right for them. If they decide they want to try school eventually, great. If not, great. They will tell me what is right for them." I could hear that sentence rattling around in her brain. I could hear all the replies she wanted to vocalize that never materialized. I could hear the doubt in her silence. But here's the thing...and anyone who homeschools probably caught the errors in my thinking in the first paragraph (perhaps because you already knew them or perhaps because you used to share my thinking and also changed your minds as well). The error was my idea to "contain her exuberance." I can now look back at that and laugh. Contain it?? Really? Why would I want to do that to my child??
So here we are. Erin's exuberance is FAR from contained...far, far, far from contained. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
(Sorry the picture was blurry...it was a blizzard and she was out for our first snowshoe adventure of the season!)