Homeschool to Public School ~ An Uneasy Transition
Well here we are at a place I never allowed myself to be
My kids are going to school
I haven't talked openly about this yet, mostly because I needed eight months to process this reality..
What felt in many ways like a loss, I was grieving. I didn't have much more to say other then I was honouring my kids wish to attend public school.
And no, I do not judge or criticize any other parents for their decisions regarding education. Homeschool, unschool, private, public. I wholeheartedly believe that every parent is doing what they feel is best for their kids, and that's ENOUGH. That's all that matters.
But I had plans to homeschool. I loved it; I loved the gentle, intentional presence I could create for them, our slow days, cuddles, long walks in nature. I wanted them to unfold in a setting that wasn't influenced by the masses.. I wanted to be able to control what messages they received, the food they ate. I wanted to protect them from feeling all the worthless feelings I did.
I didn't stand a chance in school, my insecurities, shyness, and shame was the perfect mixture for an unhappy and unsatisfied student. I never felt good enough even when I did try hard. I never fit in with the popular crowd. I didn't look like the girls on the magazine. I didn't have the luxuries others did etc....
What I'm trying to say is I didn't have the conditions present within myself to know I was enough just as I was. Perfectly imperfect. I needed outside approval for everything. And I suffered greatly because of it. It made me susceptible to any person, substance or situation that would numb this pain, and make me feel worthy, & accepted.
Tragic in many ways, but also valuable lessons too.
Lessons I needed to be the person I am today.
I don't know what lessons these beauties of mine will need in their life, but the universe does, the divine, God whatever your word for that force which is always generating, organizing and destroying.
Its not my place to stand in the way, nor would it work anyway. If the lessons are to come if there's karma they have to work through they will draw the circumstances that are required for their own personal evolution, regardless of my interference with that process.
My job as the parent is to be the container. The space of safety and security. Where boundaries are held, clear lines are drawn, and love present in ALL circumstances.
If we want our kids to come to us instead of their friends
if we want them to tell us the truth about the pressures they are experiencing,
If we want them to call us when they have done something irresponsible and harmful
Then we need to love them unconditionally. This means not with holding love an affection when they are behaving in ways that displease you, when they are doing or saying something that makes you uncomfortable. We need to trust them, even if it means they make a mistake.
We need to really listen to what they are telling us their experience is. If they trust you enough to tell you, then you ought to listen empathetically, and silently so they feel heard.
I listened, as my eldest daughter pleaded to go to school last October, she wanted to try again (after a rough kindergarten experience). She wanted the experience, and all the potentially harmful, tragic, and wonderful things that could go along with it.
I listen to her yesterday as she both expressed her excitement about this new school, and new teacher, and the anxiety, & sadness that she felt at the mouths of other kids last year. She experienced friendship, independence, kindness, bullying, and sadly laughing at her expense.
"It's hard being the only kid in the class with a green wrap.. And soup for lunch."
She was called out for smelling like a horse (we had horses at the time) and for having too much fluff on her black leggings. (insert eye roll)
I listened, I mirrored back to her to show that I understood and empathized with her.
I tried not to offer too many unhelpful solutions.
But still held the boundary that nutrition is vital for their development, health & wellbeing, and wouldn't be compromised.
She could see the senselessness in their hurtful comments, I didn't need to mention it, but it helped confirm it for her
At the end of the conversation she gave me the most significant confirmation any parent could ever hear, it was if all grief and longing for the homeschool dream vanished in that moment
"I know mom. I love myself the way I am."
Oh, darling, I love you for being such a great teacher yourself, and I love myself for being open enough to receive these teachings, to both guide her a listen to her at the same time.
This is a deep and meaningful connection that transcends all ages and all stages of development.
This is the art of mothering and daughtering
I'm excited for them to go to school this year, to witness their growth, challenges, joys, fears, & mistakes.
I wouldn't dream if taking this freedom away from them now, in the name of wanting to control everything. This awakening has freed up so much energy that was being drained from me in that fearful, and protective mother bear role.
I will cherish our homeschooling years, and I'm not against any future years of home education.
I'll just take everything as it comes, living in the present moment.
See how that goes