Friday, August 4, 2006

Seasonal Musings

I was reflecting... this time of year, my conversations with other moms, IRL and online, generally fall into two familiar patterns.  Pattern #1 is one I'm quite comfortable with and participate in enthusiastically.  Those conversations revolve around questions such as "When do you plan to start the new school year?" and "Have you chosen all your curricula?"   These are, of course, conversations with other homeschooling moms.  We get to decide when the school year starts, and when it ends.  Or perhaps IF it ends, since some of us school year round.  Every homeschooler I've ever met, no matter their philosophy or background, likes to discuss curriculum.  As I said, I like those conversations.  I can contribute.  I can relate.

The other pattern is rather different, and it both confuses and amuses me.  These conversations are with moms of public school kids.  Mothers that have little ones that will be going to school for the first time generally talk about their difficulty in believing their child is old enough to go to school, how quickly they've grown up, and how hard it may be to put them on the bus or leave them in their classroom that first day.  Mothers with children that have attended school for at least one year already inevitably are counting the days until their children go back to school.  They can hardly wait.  They imply (and some openly express!) an eagerness to get those children on that bus and out of the house for hours on end each day.  This is interesting to me, because I can't help but wonder if these moms no longer enjoy being with their kids. I'm sure this is not really the case, because these moms are devoted to their children and I know they love them dearly.  So then, why do we talk about how much we'd like to have them in someone else's custody for the better part of each weekday?  Perhaps it's just a pattern of conversation that few really stop and think about.  Just the expected small talk when the start of a new school year looms?  I'm not sure.

Do I ever contemplate how nice and quiet my house would be if my kids were somewhere else? Sure. Do I think about all the other things I could be doing if I didn't have child care to consider.  Of course I do.  Do I gaze longingly at the neighbor's school bus on days when my kids are unruly and uncooperative?  Yes, I certainly do that too!  All moms need a break from time to time - I don't dispute that in the least.  But I don't quite understand how the transition from "I can hardly believe my baby will be starting school this year" to "I am counting the MINUTES till my kids go back to school.  It can't come quickly enough for me" (yes, this is an actual quote!)

I enjoy my children's company.  Oh, not all the time - that would be insane!  LOL  But overall, yes I really do.  They are funny and creative, sweet and surprising, quirky and inspiring... and because of that it's easy to forgive them for the times when they are also rude, grouchy, cantankerous or just plain annoying!  I don't want to be closeted with them 24/7 because that's just not healthy, but I cannot imagine being anxious to send them away to school.  Every day.  Especially when they are just little.  That's why I think those comments must be "just something to say" - but where did that start?

Besides, I love being in charge of my own schedule.  I don't have time for a job, so I don't earn an income.  That's sometimes a bummer, especially when I get the credit card bill after having been to the curriculum fair!  I do have to say No to some things I'd really like to do, because we need to complete some school projects.  BUT I don't have to schedule my vacations around a public school calendar.  And I don't have to get up earlier than I feel like to make sure my kids get on the bus.  I'm an independent and impulsive free spirit; I hate being told what to do, and my childhood ambition was to be a teacher - so I'm sure that my homeschooling decisions are in some part just as much for me as they are for my children.  But that's not all bad, I don't think. 

By the way - our new school year starts on August 21st.  And I have chosen all our curriculum.  And I've purchased all of it, except one thing, which I'm sure I will order before even a week has passed.  Please feel free to comment and answer those classic homeschooler "almost-time-for-the-new-school-year" questions!


DanielleW said...

ITA. I love being in Cameron's company.

There was a comercial that my dad was chuckling at just last night. It was an "Easy Button" question. The dad was grilling with children whooping it up and having a grand time in the pool. The man standing with the dad at the grill, asked what "that" was. "That's my easy button" He pushes it and the fun and games suddenly starts and all the kids are LADDEN down with school supplies and sour expressions on their face. The two men had "evil" grins on their face. It actually made me sad. That is so many's mentality. Just living through the summer until you can shove them back off to school.

OTOH, I too am counting the minutes until school starts. But that is because I'm excited to get started. (Only 16 more days until I begin our official hs adventure)

kympossible said...

Thanks for stopping by Danielle! That reminds me of another commercial that I always think is SOOOOO funny, it's one of my favorites, but it does give the same impression. It's for an office supply store too, although I don't remember which one, and there's a dad prancing through the store putting school supplies in the cart while his kids trail along sullenly behind him. The music playing is "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Like I said, it made me laugh every time I saw it, but it sent the same message as the commercial you mentioned - that Dad is overjoyed at the thought of getting the kids off to school. (And why does it matter so much to Dad? - isn't he at work during the day? Hmmmm.... LOL)



Prncsstefy said...

ROFL Kym, that is my favorite commercial ever. LOL I love school supply shopping. Or at least I did until I moved here and can't find anything good to buy.

Next year, I'm going hog wild.

kkccmom said...

I enjoyed your post, Kym...I've found you after you found me! ha...

Thanks for giving me a fresh perspective and reminder about WHY I am doing this...we are brand new to HS this fall, doing Kdgn w/ Colton, 6. My fear is keeping him cooperative, making it fun enough that he'll WANT to do it (at least some of the time!), and yet finding outside opps for him to interact and socialize with other kids...with my 2-y/o in tow...

anyway, I appreciate your honesty about having those same urges we all do -- coveting a few hours of "me" time now and then, but knowing in our heart of hearts that WE are the best teachers our kids could have....that WE know our children the "bestest" and can plan around THEIR creative style of learning...

I'm excited, too! Thanks for sharing...

Kim Thomas

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