There is a conspicuous feeling all around us right now, and it’s not related to the cicadas, nor to the freaky gas prices, nor to the hell-like temperatures with it’s accompanying lightheadedness. Kids up and down the street and all over the town are being shuttled by their parents to stores for that annual nightmare called BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING!
School supplies, school clothes (new clothes, socks, shoes and underwear that will get the kids off on a fresh start into their new year), school lunch boxes, sleek folders, markers for the teacher, perforated notebooks, crayons for the classroom, bottles of Elmers, packs of unsharpened pencils, construction paper for the classroom shelves, boxes of Kleenex, colored markers, loose leaf paper, tape, three-ring notebooks, binders, pencil boxes, fun-shaped erasers, stickers, scissors, and paper towels for the teacher. Parents are wandering the aisles carrying the lists from their school districts that tell them what they need to buy, right down to the type of paper towels or Germ-X the teacher appreciates.
I'm thrilled that I don’t have to tote that list around and cross off items as they are found and plunked into the cart. And I also don't have to feel angry that my school district cannot 'afford' basic supplies for the classroom.
I'm not feeling rushed. I'm not feeling a strain on the checkbook. The kids are not trying to adjust their sleep schedule to better fit the 7 a.m. craziness that would ensue if we had to get out of the house at 7:30 to make it to the school building on time. OH, that obnoxious morning night mare is NOT FUN!
We don’t pack lunches, look for missing school work, try to match shoes, go on hunts for umbrellas, gloves, backpacks, socks, clean jeans, phone numbers, lunch money, watch for the bus, run back in to brush teeth, try to get food into nervous, upset, and/or rushed stomachs, rush out into unpleasant weather, make sure our children have a key to the house, knowledge of after school plans, or forget that hair wasn’t brushed before leaving the house.
We don’t have those heinous fund-raising activities that come with the beginning of the year, PTA expectations, permission slips to sign, drives to and from the school, administrative politics, district issues, calls from the school nurse, or passwords for online classroom resources. And I don’t have that sense that summer is over too quickly and I’m about to lose my kids again, putting them into complete control of the local school and it’s environs. IN TWO WEEKS!
NO! Instead, all of that energy is focuses on the kids! Time is spent with one another. And lessons are always in the house, right where they will be needed.
We are excited about school starting this year. There are innumerable benefits to homeschooling, some of which are quite obvious, more of which are subtle and satisfying. This time of year, the reasons I love homeschooling begin with the obvious: not going to school!