It is back to school time again and I am seeing all kinds of posts in my Facebook feed about it. From pictures of kids dressed and backpacked with eager faces to posts about how sad parents are their kids will be gone most of the day. This year back to school season has had a surprising effect on me. I wasn’t expecting to feel this way and honestly I am struggling with it a bit.
If you follow us and this blog you know that we value our freedom above all. We organize our lives to have the freedom to ski or go to the beach at the drop of a hat. We have a patchwork income approach to work and a seize every opportunity attitude about life in general. So putting our kids in traditional school hasn’t really ever been something that we thought would work for us. Beyond that we have a lot of issues with the way public school is run and how kids learn so we wouldn’t send them even if we had “regular” jobs and didn’t travel a crazy amount. But…these past few weeks I wasn’t expecting to feel the loneliness and actually a bit of jealously that I have been experiencing.
Our kids are school age now. This means that their friends are in school. So no play dates with my friends and their kids. No neighbors outside riding bikes, no meeting friends at the beach or park for some playtime. It has been lonely. I have found myself refusing a lot of my kids requests lately to play with friends because “they are in school.” I guess I should have seen this coming. It wasn’t a surprise, but I didn’t really think it through. In the past all my friends had their kids home too. I could call someone and go over for an impromptu playdate. Now those moms are home without their kids doing “adult” things like journaling, exercising, gardening, cleaning even. Not that I am jealous of cleaning, but honestly having 6 or so hours a day to do whatever I needed to sounds pretty nice.
This seems to be compounded as Clark and I are in an extremely busy time with our work, and because of that we have decided not to travel right now. We are desperate for some time to devote to our projects, but the opportunities for that time are scarce. As Clark wrote in his post last week we used to be able to switch off watching the kids and working, but now we need to work together. So I have been looking for some activities for the kids, but summer camps are over, lessons and practices are all scheduled around school schedules, and the people I used to do kid swaps with now have no kids to swap.
So here we are. Still committed to homeschooling/unschooling/world schooling, whatever we are going to call it, but having to adjust. I know my son would not like school. He is very shy and quiet. I can’t imagine dropping him off at kindergarten and leaving him there all day. He would not do well. I am confident this path is a good one for us and I am not complaining. We choose this life. We still believe it to be the best path for our kids and our family, but having to rethink our life yet again. It seems like when we have things working and in a good groove life changes and we have to change too. Some of these changes you expect, like a new baby, but this has taken us off guard.
I don’t know what our solution will be. We aren’t gurus. We are just going on this journey step by step trying to figure out as we go.
I would love to hear from other homeschooling families as to how you adjusted if you remember. Did you have these feelings? What worked for you? I’m open to any suggestions.
Hi, I’m Monica. If we’ve not met before, let me introduce myself. I am a wife and mother to 3 kids 5, 3 and 6 month old. We lived in Santa Barbara for many years and after losing everything and moving into my parents’ garage, my husband and I began the exciting process of reinventing our lives. As J.K. Rolwing said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation from which I re-built my life.” We’re now living a life of our own design, which includes our quest to work less, live more, and travel the world with our family. You can check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.