By the first of August, you can’t open a newspaper without seeing ads for Back to School supplies. The stores are filled with displays. My daughter, Katherine is always asking if she can buy something from the ads. All the emphasis on starting school is creating some feelings of regret with our choice to home school.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think we’ve made the right choice for our family. I don’t have any doubts about the advantages of home schooling. I think our kids will get a better education and have the chance to grow without the overwhelming influences of peer pressure. My regret comes from suddenly realizing my daughter will not have a ‘First Day of School’.
I can’t say that I really remember my first day, but there is a picture of me in a pretty pink dress holding a flower to take to my teacher. That photo is a permanent reminder of what must have been a terrifying and exciting day for me. It is a day my daughter will never experience.
Katherine turns five this year and could be starting kindergarten in Sept. We could be picking out back packs, school supplies and her own ‘First Day of School’ outfit. She could be wondering about the kids in her class. Would she find a best friend in the group? What would her teacher be like? We’ll never know.
As parents we have to make lots of choices for our children, and hope that we are making the right choice. The choice to home school takes lots of thought and research. It is not a choice made by most families. Fortunately we live in a community with many home schooling families. Their support has made it much easier for us. There’s even a newsletter filled with activities, sports, field trips and local resources.
In fact, we’ve started a Learning Group that meets once a week. We have circle time, show and tell, games, activities, crafts, snacks, and lots of fun. There’s a different topic each week and the kids come up with their own stuff some times. As they get older, they will be taking more responsibility for planning the activities. Katherine loves the group and would be heart broken if I told her she had to give it up to go to school.
Truthfully, I’m the person who will miss my daughter’s first day of school. As I’m thinking about it, I realize that I’m not alone. Many of the other Moms in the area must have had the same thoughts. Now, I see one of the reasons for a tradition they started years ago. On what would be the first day of school, all the home schooling families meet at a local beach for the “We’re not going to school” picnic. The kids play in the sand, swim, eat sandy sandwiches and have a great time.
Katherine will have more fun at the beach, and may even have memories of this day thirty years from now. She definitely will have a picture of herself in a pink bathing suit playing in the ocean on what would have been her first day of school.