Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

How It's Going

We are slipping. For about two and a half weeks, we went to bed very punctually, every school child tucked in early so we'd be ready to get up sharp. Every morning felt like the morning of a big road trip, a bit of shock and awe and hitting the ground running.

But our family culture has been shaped by 22 years of late nights, and our best conversations and problem solving and inside jokes happen after the rest of the world is in bed. That culture cannot just be shifted on the whim of trying out the school lifestyle, even though the school lifestyle is predicated on getting up early. The question now becomes: do we really want to shift that culture? 

And we still have eight months left in the school year.

Most people who make the shift from homeschooling to institutional schooling do it because in some way, homeschooling has failed them. There's no judgment in that. Everyone's family culture is different and requires different trade-offs, and sometimes school offers a stability or an accountability that serves a family in the way that it needs. But we are not failed homeschoolers. We love homeschooling, and miss it, with a visceral, breathless ache. Our marriage, our family from the very start, our intellectual development, our way of interacting with the world, has been shaped by the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling offers. Our friendships, the way we serve our parish and our neighbors and our families, all of these were strengthened by our easy, gracious way of living and learning, remote from bureaucracy and management techniques. A family is not run like an institution.

Our family culture has also been shaped by having an adult on the ground, able to pivot to meet the day's challenges and pick up the slack. Household maintenance, doctor's visits, emergencies, and the freedom to be gentle with a small human who may not be incapacitated, but may need an easier day than the regimentation of a school day spent out of the home can provide. The freedom to be in house as dinner simmers all day. The freedom to pick up and drive to visit family out of town. The freedom to start something while one is fresh.

I am in awe of my friends who are long-term teachers. They do amazing, necessary work. I also do amazing, necessary work. But I did long-term amazing, necessary work before this year, at home. And that work is still necessary, and I still want to do it.

And there are still eight months left in the school year.