when a homeschooler wants to go to school (and other empowering decisions)
Last month, I heard the words every homeschool parent dreads to hear, "mom, I think I would like to go to school...." This coming from my 15 year old who not only would be enrolling in high school, but would also be enrolling at the public school. A school, which the people I adore, but the system, itself, I loathe. Standardized testing, compliance, obedience, blindly listening to authority, And don't get me started on the school lunches, vending machines in the cafeteria and outdated history books (yes, Columbus is still celebrated and honored). All of my work planning creative curriculums, teaching against the societal grain...all of my words of wisdom that I have passed down to her, all of my teachings on thinking for yourself and not what authority tells you..all of that, flushed down the toilet (or in our case, composted into the earth with our sawdust toilet) in just a few short days.
This isn't what I envisioned for her. I had planned on her always having the freedom to learn what interests her, what suits her. Always being able to make decisions based on what she wants, what is best for her, not for the convenience of a larger group or classroom. I envisioned many days left playing, reading, discussing, traveling. I envisioned many more late nights and sleepy mornings with her. Baking with her in the middle of the day, swimming when we felt like it or heading out West to soak in the hot springs when everyone else was in school. I envisioned having much more time with her.
And so the story goes in which no parent is immune to...our children are growing up and embarking on their own journey...in part, without us.
And so I notice...the once tolerated feminist books are already collecting dust in the corner of her room, the family games at the end of the night are being replaced with the desire to spend more time texting. The make-up collection is increasing, the clothes are being organized and color coordinated in preparation for the first week of school and after getting over my initial panic attack, I am learning something about myself too.
I don't do well with change.
Well, that and other important things.
You see, in raising a girl to be confident and independent, to stand up for what she wants and speak her mind, to take control of her life and make decisions that may not be popular with everyone else, I have raised a young women that knows what she wants despite it not being something I would choose for her. I have raised a young woman to know the 'big' people in her life (i.e. me and her father) are responsible for thier own emotions and feelings and, is confident, we will be fine. I have raised her to be kind and wise, strong and powerful and to know exactly where she is headed. I have raised her to be an empowered young woman. And there is a huge part of me that is grateful to have been a part of her learning all of that on my watch.
But this also isn't about me. But in a way, it is.
This passing of time, with our kids...well, it just goes by way too fast. We all know this. We just don't realize how fast until these more adult decisions are being made by our children. And with the recognition of this quickening of time, comes the acknowledement of also how quickly time is passing for us. When the kids grow and start their own journey without us, we are faced with redefining ourselves in a way that honors our own journey. That respects our own path.
On your marks, get set....
I go back to where I always go when faced with new challenges...breathing...and being still. Time stops for just a moment in this place and everything that is going on all around me becomes clear and is filled with immense gratitude because right now, all is well.
And right now...I am proud of my daughter and where she is headed. She is doing exactly what I want her to do...make her own well thought out decisions. And although she knows I am still here to mentor her during this and any future transition, I know she's got this.
And more importantly, so do I.