It’s official: we are now bonafide homelearners. Come this September, my daughter’s age mates will all be marching down our street to attend kindergarten at the local school and we will be rousing our sleepy heads from bed.
One experienced homeschooling mom told me that the most difficult time she’s ever gone through as a homeschooler was the 2 weeks leading up to and following the start of school when her eldest was kindergarten age. Well-meaning friends, neighbours and strangers were constantly asking whether her daughter was excited about going to kindergarten. Nothing like defending your choice to homeschool 100 times a day to stress a mom out.
How are we handling back-to-school season?
Back to School shopping. Even though Bea won’t be carrying a backpack full of school supplies to the local school, she will still need pencils, notebooks and coloured paper to play and learn with at home. And a new outfit wouldn’t be a bad thing either. So I plan to do a special mom and daughter back to school shopping date, both to stock up on supplies and to recognize the fact that she’s entering a new stage.
Connecting with other homeschoolers. Every year there are huge Not Back to School picnics and park days for the homeschooling community in my area, and I’m planning on going to as many of these as we can this year. Besides being a fun day spent playing outside, these picnics are a wonderful place for me to connect with other likeminded parents. I feel less like an outlier in my neighbourhood when I’m well connected to the homeschooling community.
Don’t ask don’t tell. Whenever someone asks whether Bea will be attending the local school in the fall, I tell them she’s enrolled at the school that coordinates our homelearning program. I know we’re lucky in British Columbia to have the choice to enrol with a Distributed Learning program or be completely independent homeschoolers, so this might not work for homeschoolers in other places. But I can honestly tell a stranger that my daughter is enrolled at this particular school and bypass the homeschooling discussion entirely if I want to.
Starting kindergarten is a huge rite of passage, and on some days I feel like my daughter will really miss out by not sharing that experience with her age mates. But then I remember all the reasons homeschooling is right for us and I am reassured of my choice. Choosing our own rituals, connecting with our community and avoiding pedagogical arguments with strangers helps me feel confident that we’re getting off on the right foot this fall.
How are you getting ready for back-to-school season?