Well, it is that time of the year again - back to school. The roar of the big yellow buses that pass my house en route from the junior high on the next block was the mantra of the morning for two days in a row now. In my heart the anticipation of fall is building. This morning as I stepped out on the front porch, it felt cooler - but maybe it was all in my mind.
With the hub-bub of the new school year buzzing all around us, even though we are so outside of all of that, we seem to get swept up in the energy of it all. This year the kids are very involved with activities surrounding the co-op we have joined, but on any given year, they tend to get energized to pursue their passions when the world seems to revolve around the onset of the school year.
Yesterday morning, my daughters wanted to sit on the front porch, and wave to their friends who were passing by on the school buses, and I let them. It wasn't done in an unkind way, but they were in their own teenage "rebellion-against-the-man" kind of way, they were celebrating who they are - homeschoolers. I was reading this post at Crunchy Christian Mom's blog, about celebrating who we are and it really got me thinking. For years, we have answered the rude and often pointed questions about our lifestyle. "How long are you going to homeschool?" "What do you DO all day?" "What about socialization?" My daughters have been asked this a few times this past year, "Why would you want to stay home all day? I would be bored out of my mind." Also, whether we like it or not, everytime you turn on the television, radio, have a conversation with a neighbor, go to Walmart, the grocery store or the mall, you have the whole "back to school" celebration thrust before you. Why shouldn't homeschoolers be able to celebrate that they are not going? I think we should.
Now before I step on some toes of some real life friends and some of the most awesome friends the cyber-community has ever given me - I want to be clear that as parents we make decisions for our children and our families that no one else can qualify. Period. That being said, I also must insert that I believe the best place for a child is with their parents. I have terrific friends who are excellent school teachers, and while I would trust them implicitly with my children, and I also know they love my children, they can never love them with the heart of a mother that God has given specifically to me.
I have friends who after years of homeschooling have put their children back into public and private schools, sometimes permanently and sometimes for a season. I know the intimate details of their situations, and fully support what they do in the best interest of their families. I still and always will believe that the best place for any child is with a parent that loves them, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other things that are good or that work.
As a homeschooler, I would not walk up to the parent that sends their child to school and ask them pointed, invasive questions about "why they send their children to school" or "how long they plan to send their children to school". I have also learned that celebrating who we are is possible without criticizing others, as was so easy to do in the early years of homeschooling when I felt we were being constantly examined for the approval of others. I don't care anymore.
Wave your freak flag homeschoolers! Celebrate who you are!