12 August 2008

Back to School - or Not

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.


  1. Cool! I'm still processing, but definitely find myself moving that direction. Oh, the art of letting go!!

  2. You always speak better than I can. More thoughtful. I love this. Love you.

  3. Sandra@SandraDodd.comAugust 14, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    Very nice. But of "canned air," I have a story. I went to school in a big adobe schoolhouse build during the WPA days. Then later I taught there. It was hot in the spring and fall, and cold in the winter. Each classroom had one gas heater, and sometime I would have to light it when I got to school, but I was young and learning ballads, so while I had to hold the switch for 60 seconds, I would sing a few verses of a ballad.

    A few years after I quit teaching, that old building was turned into an administration building. One of the first things they did was block up a lot of the huge old drafty East-and-West-facing windows that let so much sun and sand and whistly wind through, and they put in refrigerated air. Not evaporative coolers, as are common here, but real air conditioning.

    For all the years those buildings were used for the PURPOSE of school--students--they were uncomfortable and ill-managed, but as soon as adults are using them and the kids are gone: Carpet, padded chairs, air conditioning, new lighting, central heating.

    So the idea of "canned air" in a school sounds progressive and modern to me. :-)

  4. Yay for Not Back To School! It's our favorite time of year too because it reminds us of how blessed we are to live such wonderful lives.

  5. I love not back to school too! I don't remember anything positive about back to school except new clothes. I remember the sick feeling in my tummy.

    By the way I am from your neck of the woods! Most of my family is in S.E. Texas.

    Happy endless summer to you!



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