Archive for September 2013

What I Would Have Missed   Leave a comment

As the dust has settled in my daily schedule since my oldest child left for college, I have had a few blocks of time open up for other pursuits.  One of those pursuits has been to take the time to reflect on the experience of homeschooling for 13 years.  It’s been a strange sensation to actually have time to think about the big picture, since for the past several years it’s been one foot in front of the other just getting things done.  I have planned ahead, but it’s been to look toward college admissions tests, accommodations for students with disabilities, which math curriculum to use for pre-algebra for my next student, having a master plan for us to keep having home cooked meals on the table, and the like.

It wasn’t the kind of planning or review that evaluated what was happening and came up with an opinion about how it was going; it was management.  This doesn’t mean I blindly went forward not realizing there were other options out there.   I had evaluated that so many times, I haven’t needed to do so for probably the past four years.

Now that I have a bit more room to breathe, I’m enjoying it.  It’s good to have an evening where I don’t have to complete paperwork.  Same for Greg, I think he’s enjoying not being the biology or chemistry teacher on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

So if I hadn’t been homeschooling, it’s logical to assume I would have had a few more nights without paperwork and Greg a few more nights without teaching.  I would have had more time to scrapbook, maybe do some needlepoint.  I could have worked, could have written that novel, could have spent more time researching my health and maybe gotten better faster.

Of course, there’s the basic, wouldn’t have had to plan, research, teach, grade, tutor and keep records.

I could have maybe “taken better care of myself” — maybe I would have gotten more sleep and more exercise and had less stress.

I know!  I definitely would have had more time to make friends and spend time with friends so I could keep friends.  And that’s really important to me.  I wouldn’t have been with the kids all during the week, desperately needing those Mom’s nights out.

I’m sure there have been negative things I have avoided since the kids were home, but since we aren’t told what would have happened, no point in gazing down that road.

Point is I definitely missed some things the past 13 years.  And looking at the above list, yes, it does look really good. Better than I thought it would when I started this entry.

So that’s what I did miss — now on to what I didn’t miss.

If I hadn’t spent the last thirteen years homeschooling, I would have missed the great friendships we formed with other families and the camaraderie we enjoyed at our first un-schooling co-op.  I can’t imagine that.

We would have missed the friends we made through the similar, warm, friendly and small co-op who brightened up our days when we needed to move to this area seven years ago.

We would have missed being outside at our home at all hours of the day, not just weekends and evenings.

I would have missed the stories and scientific articles that Zach has been writing for the past 12 years or so (the ones I used to type for him, and the ones he wrote/typed later on his own) because with the rest of his homework he wouldn’t have had the time to do that.

I would have missed our annual trip to the Newport Aquarium.  We go every winter, on a weekday when it’s not crowded, when they run their “buy 1 adult ticket, get two kids’ tickets free” special.  We love that trip; we never get tired of checking out the frogs, jellyfish and other wonders there.  It’s been just our family sometimes, others we’ve met friends there.

I would have missed teaching Helena to read and learning how to teach someone to read.  I would have missed watching Zach and Beren teach themselves to read by poring over Calvin and Hobbes comic books.

I would have missed starting the school day in pajamas if needed.  I would have missed the benefits of having a snow day without missing a school day: hot chocolate after sledding, before starting school.

I wouldn’t have been able to take school in a bag wherever we needed to go, wouldn’t have had the flexibility to visit grandparents or get to appointments without kids missing assignments and events at school.

I would have missed traveling to the southwest in September when school was in session.  It wasn’t nearly as hot nor as crowded and what an experience.  Every one of those days qualified as a memorable field trip.

I would have missed seeing Zach develop into an entomologist, Helena into an artist and writer, and Beren into…well not sure yet exactly where he’s going but into an engineering “what happens if” kind of guy.  Because we have homeschooled, they have had more time to pursue their interests and gifts from the beginning.

I suppose I could go on, but I’m looking for a way to wrap this up.  What is the crowning thing I would have missed?  The time spent together.  Pretty obvious really but worth saying.  18,200 hours that I would not have had with Zach, Helena and Beren.  That’s a rough estimate based on school days per year and about eight hours per day they would have been gone.

Now, what I definitely am missing is Zach.

But given that I spent the last 18 years with him, that’s hardly surprising.  Something worth having is worth missing.

I would not trade it for the world.