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Back-to-school means back-to-work for homeschool parents

by Kirsten Love
Source: Tampa Homeschooling Examiner
August 8, 2009

AhÖback-to-school. Itís that time of year when traditionally parents begin to sigh with relief that soon life will be back to normal. The kids will be gone all day and Mom and Dad can have their own lives in order once again. Wonít it be nice to be free from managing all those hours in the day, knowing that your children are securely tucked away in the classroom, studying, and achieving all those mandated education standards? Itís the natural order of things: Fall means school time for kids and liberation for parents. Unless, of course, youíre a homeschooler.

Homeschooling changes everything. Back-to-school means back-to-work for most of us who teach our own children. The freedom of casual summer learning comes to an end and we must get back to business. It is with a certain ambivalence that I face this time each year. On the one hand, I have fallen into the lazy inertia-driven days with nearly as little motivation to change direction as my kids have done. It is nice to wake up and know we donít have to tackle that minefield of math problems or face the research project no one knows how to begin. I have the time to get laundry washed and dried, go to the grocery store in the middle of the day instead of waiting until after our school studies, and, maybe, even have a moment to breathe before my daughterís horse training and riding takes over our afternoon. It is my vacation, too.

Then, I read the introduction to world geography and can hardly contain my enthusiasm to get started. We have all our books and supplies ready to go (for the most part) and my anticipation is growing. As I mentioned in a previous post, Iíve been reading A Tale of Two Cities for my sonís British Literature class and now I want to discuss it with him. The only trouble is he hasnít read it yet. We havenít even opened the course book, and Iím not sure heís as anxious as I am to dive into Charles Dickens. So, I wait for our school year to begin. As much as Iíve given into the summer doldrums, I also look forward to the more structured days of reading and discussing with my children.

I guess it is how I know it is time to get back on track. I find myself restless with all the downtime; I see my kids surpassing the limit on vegetative activities and know they need a push in the right direction. So, it is with a smile that I listen as other parents rejoice for the coming of school and the freedom and independence it gives back to them, knowing that for me, it signals back to business. I may be a bit wistful for these carefree summer mornings when I donít have to hear the groans of complaint when the Spanish worksheets are out on the table, but it is what I do. Homeschooling is my job and my purpose, and as a parent, it is one of the most important and fulfilling things I strive to achieve.

As we face the end of another summer season, we homeschool parents can also sigh with the satisfaction that we have a new opportunity to share more with our children during another school year. Just when so many others are ready to hand theirs over to the officials, we get to experience all the wonder and experiences of learning right here at home alongside our children.

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