Camille is going to school in the fall.
I tried to offer her more of certain aspects of schoolish-ness that I thought she might be interested in. More fun classes, more playdates and groups of kids, more worksheets or organized activities, but this is not what she is seeking. She wants the whole experience, the school bus, the tests, grades, all of the kids, being shuffled to the lunchroom, etc. It all appeals to her. So, I am supporting her in this. We toured the school, met the principal, and have the paperwork to enroll her. The local public school itself is nice, as is the principal. The school day is broken up by three recesses, the kids have music twice a week, and art, and plenty of time for lunch, small class sizes, and yet I am still sad about this (selfishly so, I suppose).
I'm going to miss our days of adventures, and homeschool parkdays, and sleeping in, and all of the freedom to flow with it that is inherent in our unschooling days. Not to mention there is a twice a week program for 4-year-olds that Sylvia is now keen on. Ugg. It's not that I want to hold my kids back, but I just don't want to see much of their imagination, curiosity, and spontaneity squashed or squandered. For all that school does well (and I'm admittedly a skeptic about that), it undeniably expects some measure of conformity just to get through the day with x-amount of same-age kids, in one classroom, trying to be taught the same thing.
And then (selfishly again) it's hard not to feel like I 'failed' somehow as an unschooling/homeschool parent. I sometimes think if only I'd done more...or less, but with more structure...or...or...but when I really step back from my emotional involvement / investment, I can see that it is truly not about me.
So, if Camille does enjoy school and comes home happy, bubbling with what she learned and did and created, how can I not be happy for her? If Sylvia goes twice a week and makes all kinds of little friends and sings about her days, won't I feel her joy? So here I go, an unschooling mama, who begins to let go of how much that affects my identity, and begins to embrace the next movement in our lives. This is but one change in a series of unfolding changes that make up our lives, and yet it feels huge from right here.
I am taking the word unschooling out of my blog profile so as not to misrepresent, but I will continue to blog here as I feel inspired. I think I will replace it with...joy-seeking...respectful-parenting...country-living. That should do.