Some days, I indulge second thoughts about our decision to homeschool our seventh grader. I think about the friends she doesn’t get to see in the hallways. The experiences she’s missing. Grumbling about homework with her peers. School dances. Stealing glances at your school crush.
And I worry about the future. What if she chooses to remain a homeschooler, and decides not to attend high school? I think about a girl who may not go to a prom. Who won’t be sent to the dean/principal’s office when she screws up, and doesn’t get to learn that valuable lesson about cheating/skipping class/getting caught smoking or making out in the hallway.
Don’t get me wrong. She’s getting experiences. And social. And there are opportunities for proms and school dances for homeschoolers. And so much more. Unhooking her from the system frees her up to experience a world of learning opportunities I certainly never had access to. But I’m hard-wired to visualizing her having those same positive and negative experiences *I* had in public schools. I have to let go of those expectations, disassociate from them, to help her find her own unique path. I admit — I find that challenging some days.
And it makes me wonder, every day, if I’m doing right by her.
But then there’s days like today. K learned a new song with her piano teacher, and she came right home and has been working on playing that song for hours now. She has the music in front of her, but she’s transposing the music up and down the keyboard in different keys. For fun. Sure, she’s totally procrastinating doing her physics homework that’s due tomorrow, and I’ll have to deal with that soon. But that’s typical behavior anyway, and I can handle that. But she’s working hard. Right now, she’s fighting the physics homework, but tomorrow she’ll enjoy going to the class for homeschoolers and seeing her new friends. And when she comes home? She will beg me for quiet alone time so she can get back to her writing. She’s participating in National Novel Writing Month. She’s almost 18,000 words into her novel, and her goal is 50,000.
Since August, she has not had ONE pill for ADHD. Her total books read thus far is 32. And I know she’s missing things in middle school. But on the other hand, I know she’s learning a lot, every day. And I think the pace we are setting is totally realistic and do-able for the way she learns, even though we’re taking the month of November off to, ya know, write a novel.
I ask her every week if she still agrees with this decision.
And every week, without hesitation, she says, with feeling, “Yes!”