The three of us cackled to the point of teary eyed delirium as they described their versions of childhood memories.
“Remember when the biggest threat ever was that we’d have to go to school?”
They launch into a tale of me pretending to call the local elementary school to inquire about enrolling my Boy Child while they cried “No, please, Noooooooooooo!”
I don’t exactly remember this instance, although I do recall driving by the aforementioned school very, very slowly while staring at it as the two little voices in the carseats behind me quivered“What are you doing?”.
“Just... thinking……” I left a dramatic pause at the end for effect, and it worked.
“We’ll be good Mama! We promise! We don’t want to go to school!”
Maybe I’m horrible, but I still crack up just thinking about it.
Now I never told these kids that school was a bad place. They did however notice the school bus on the road at nearly 3 pm.
“Are those kids just getting home from school?!?!”
“When did they get there?”
“Before you woke up.”
They had woken up when they were ready, as they did most days, climbed into a nest of cozy blankets and listened to stories read aloud until we were hungry.
After eating, they spent their day on family projects, learning about and caring for animals, and followed their own interests any number of ways; building forts and fairy houses, writing elaborate stories, making up worlds, inventing things, playing games, creating art, exploring nature in our woods and creek, and pursuing knowledge in whatever they were curious about at the time. They were often in pajamas, or just as likely in a cape or costume.
It really was an awesome childhood. They knew it then, and I’m so thankful that even as teenagers, they know and appreciate it now.
But lately I’ve found myself not only nostalgic, but lamenting the loss of those days. It isn’t so much that time has passed, although looking at them, it is clear that they are no longer children, but big teenagers getting ready to make their own ways in the world.
Knowing that they are in their last years of preparation before they fly free in the world is definitely a big thing to swallow, but even harder is the seeming lack of time and mental energy that I feel I have to spend with them now in the limited years we have left.
Thankfully, I became a single mom when they were at ages that were fairly self sufficient, but still….They may not have needed me to make them sandwiches or read them stories anymore, but I was used to being a really involved homeschool madre.
Now that I work so many hours to keep the ship afloat, I don’t have nearly as much left to come up with, let alone execute the awesome things we used to do together. I have a great job, but it takes a LOT of mental energy, and my brain feels pretty maxed out some days, and other days, it's straight up mush.
Thankfully, my offspring are surrounded by a community of awesome peeps, because that also makes life so much easier and richer, but still….I miss having the mental fortitude to come up with a bazillion project, field trip and other fun life learning ideas, not to mention the physical energy to build, craft and create all the time.
I actually started to write a post about what I missed most about homeschooling days past, but luckily, before I even got a paragraph in, I realized that I needed to tell myself to shut my own pie hole.
I’ve still got a really good deal going as far as life, and I’ve seen more and more in the last few years, that what I focus on is what grows. Instead of listing the top 10 things that are really hard about homeschooling as a single mom, or writing about how much I miss those happy days of playing, I know that I’ll probably be a lot happier if I put that energy into finding things that will work for us with the situation we now have on hand.
This morning, my giant teenagers climbed on my bed and we looked at amazing images of animals in utero on my laptop, and then a collection of before and after photos of caterpillars and moths. We were eating peanut brittle the whole time, and it led to a query on how we could make walnut brittle with our latest harvest. Yes. We’re still homeschooling.
I’ve also remembered that we have a few science kits just waiting to be opened~ why not invite some friends over to mix chemicals?
We can also plan some adventures to museums, historical spots, or even cheesy tourist traps near our out of town family and friends during our time free from classes and work around the holidays.
We have art supplies galore and a kitchen full of food~ all sorts of ingredients for exploring and playing together.
It feels a lot better and makes me a lot happier to be scheming than lamenting, that’s for sure. And I think we will all benefit from that.
Not to mention how many more fun things we’ll be likely to do if we’re focused in that direction.
Even if I don’t have as much free time or energy to put into our happy homeschool as I once did, I do still have plenty of ideas. So do my kids, and between us, we can be pretty darn creative about figuring out how to make stuff happen.
My kids are learning in all sorts of places and from all sorts of people these days, but heck yeah, we’re still homeschooling. I really wouldn't want it any other way.