As this week winds down and the thought of the first day of school next week looms overhead, I am a bundle of mixed emotions. If you've read any of my previous posts, then you know that I have been homeschooling my two youngest sons. My 9 year old son has been home for the past 3 years and my baby boy only 1 year. Homeschooling has been a great experience for the boys and me. We have had several great adventures in learning. I am proud of the young men they are growing up to be. And I am glad to see how intelligent and inquisitive they are. They are loving and kind and often ask very thought provoking questions. I will miss our mornings at the table discussing whatever is on their mind, our fieldtrips to the museums and zoos. I cherish every moment we have had. I will even miss the days when they drove me absolutely up the wall and I wondered if I could do this another minute.
The decision to send them back to a "regular" school was and still is very difficult for me. Especially with the current state of our educational system in Chicago. I have asked myself over and over, how can I knowingly send them into something that I know is broken? Am I doing them a disservice by subjecting them to all of the nonsense that goes on in schools today? I sometimes feel like I am just thrusting them out into a pack of wolves and praying they survive. Now, I know that may just be the feelings of a sometimes over-protective mom, but this society we live is so different now. When I was in school, I knew there were people that were looking out for me. My teachers cared, and the parents of my classmates cared too. We had our occasional bully in the group but nothing like what goes on nowadays. Some of these kids today are just plain mean and have no remorse. And, what's worse is that some of the parents aren't any better. They make excuses for why their children fight and disrupt school and make it miserable for others.
I even wonder if I am sending them back to school purely for selfish reasons. I have had one of my sons home with me everyday for the past nine years. It has been difficult at times because there are those days where I just wanted to think, write, go to a movie, have lunch with my husband, take a walk and have some "me" time. But, I don't want that at the expense of my boys not getting a good education. I get a lot of flak for homeschooling at times. They always use the, "they need socialization with other children" argument. That's a bunch of hooey to me. My boys are very social and I believe they are even more social because they haven't been exposed to the craziness that can be found in our schools these days. They are 7 and 9. They play with toys, they love playgrounds,they sleep with stuffed animals, they like to be sung lullabies. They don't curse, they don't know about inappropriate sexual things, they don't watch R-rated movies. They are children.
I guess I am sending them back to school because I do understand that they have to interact with all different kinds of people. At home, I can keep them away from anything and anyone that I feel is a bad influence. But, is that helpful? In some ways yes, in other ways no. I have to be secure enough to know that their father and I have given them a great foundation and that we will continue to instill good morals in them so that when they come up against "the craziness" that is our world today, they will have the right tools to fight against it.
Still, it is not an easy choice. I can only pray that their experience back in school will be good. I will send them off with a quick kiss on their foreheads and a silent prayer of protection. And, when I pick them up at the end of the day, I will get a slight tug in my heart to see them wave goodbye to friends with smiles on their faces. And, I will jump at the chance to listen to all of their stories of how their day went. It will be bittersweet, but nonetheless sweet.
I am reminded of a quote from Kahlil Gibran that says, "
"Your children are not your children. They come through you, not for you.