I take a deep breath, pick up the phone and dial. As the voice on the other end answers, I exhale, happy to hear an old friend on the line. We get chatting, catching up and making plans. I’m nervous and feel like I’m cheating…Is this really what we want? Shouldn’t we be making better choices?! But it’s too late now! I hang up, with the wheels set in motion. Whats done is done, and I know its time to put words into action…
Its monday morning. I get the kids ready and we head out. A lunch is packed, shoelaces tied, their backpacks at the ready. It’s different. We usually start slow, with not even a sideways glance at the clock. Gently ease into the rhythm of our day, no rushing, happy in the space we inhabit, with no real desire to leave. But not today…We have plans, and we need to be in integrity. Am I ready for this?!
We arrive. A small town, a handful of families….everyone greets us warmly, like old friends, even thought it’s been a while. We’ve been off, doing our own thing for some time now, embracing the freedom of home education and all that it offers.
I look at my boys- they’re so confident! They are exactly where they want to be! All through their young lives, I’ve held their hands while they led the way- I have supported their decisions the whole way through. Child led learning is empowering, watching your children grow, immersing themselves in their passions, ALL of their passions, whatever that may be! Sure, there are challenges, but overall it’s been a blessing.
Suddenly, the bell rings and my boys tear off. Their names are called and they run, unsure of the process….we do what? Stand in a line….hmmm ok, its all good mum…we’ve got this!
They trundle off, a tiny classroom of 6 students, a reminder of the tiny town we call home. Their teacher is their friend, their classmates they’ve known since birth….I turn and head for the car.
It had been bubbling beneath the surface for some time. This curiosity at another way of life- a more ‘common’ and understood education. Try as I might, I couldn’t sway them from their desire. As a passionate homeschooling parent- I wanted to say ‘No’, to enforce continued home education. As an unschooling advocate, I knew I couldn’t take my children’s choices away from them. We spoke of the options; to stay at home, to learn in this free and natural way we do, how we could shift and change to meet each others needs better- but none of it helped. They wanted to know for themselves, what this ‘school’ stuff was like. To experience something that we talk so passionately about.
I pour a cup of tea and sit in the silence. I am lost…I cry, my tears run down my face, pool into my hands. The sobs echo, as I release all the feelings of inadequacy, impermanence, change. I feel useless and hopeless, like a failure. I try to find the positive in their choice- adventure, independence, freedom to explore, to be heard and supported. But my mind imprisons me- the times I shouted, lost my temper, was less than the parent I aimed to be…Did I cause this? Did I drive them away? But as the overwhelm subsides, I breathe deep. They are happy. And for today, thats all that really matters.
….to be continued