This is the time of the year when young men return to football practice. (I fondly remember those hot sweaty afternoons in junior high when my friends and I would show up at the school just to sit for a few hours and watch the boys we liked slam themselves into one another and throw a pigskin around.)
School supplies are all at a premium discount. Clothing racks and sales fliers point the way to the latest fashions. I keep reading about this "back to school" stuff. My friends Kate and Tina both recently posted their thoughts on going back to school.
I love new beginnings, and back-to-school time is one of those "fresh start" seasons. In WV this is a part of "fall" that I miss the most. A few weeks after school starts, the air gets crisper and starts to smell of the coming winter and apple cider.
But I don't miss traditional school, school-at-home homeschooling, or coerced learning. I don't miss planning quarterly lessons only to have to revamp them the first week we try to use them. I don't miss being frustrated with my kids when they aren't "getting it". I don't miss the days of laboring to make something work that wasn't working. I don't miss reading books that nobody was interested in because we had to finish our curriculum. I don't miss spending money on things we never used. I don't miss being the drill sergeant, task master hovering over my kids and meting out punishment or consequences for unfinished tasks. I don't miss the endless hours of perusing curriculum, hoping to find the magic fix for all the things I couldn't seem to get to stick inside of my kids heads. I don't miss waking up in the morning with a knot in my throat because of all that the day would require, and my impotencies to mete it all out.
I love learning with the gentle rhythms of life. I love the breathe in, breathe out style of learning. I love seeing all the real opportunities that life affords for learning.
Soon the buses will be traversing up and down our road in a frenetic pace. I will sit back and drink my coffee, waving lovingly and saddened for childhoods wasting away in rooms with artificial light and canned air, institutionalized. I will wave goodbye to the gift of days and hours and minutes they can't get back.
No more school for me. I am a life long learner.
Oh yeah, my kids too.