Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our 6th Not Back to School Day

It's our 6th annual Not Back To School Day. For the 6th time the school buses rumbled by and we ignored them. No worries about what to wear, new schedules, who to sit with on the bus, what table to sit at for lunch, finding classes, or getting the locker combination right. No stress about trying to eat breakfast before teenage bodies are awake enough to be hungry because lunch is hours away. No noticeable difference from any other day.

This morning, I'm sitting in bed with my cat by my side, drinking coffee and eating carrot cake at 9:00 a.m. It might be worth mentioning that I've already made breakfast, lunch, tea, and coffee for my husband before he left for the day. And the chickens and ducks have been let out. But now, at 9:00, I'm warming up under the covers.

The house is silent. My kids are probably still asleep. I say probably because they aren't here, so I don't know for sure. Last night they had a sleepover party with friends. Some time today we'll go pick them up, but for now it's one of those oh so rare moments when I'm alone in the house.

It may be the first day of school for many people, but not at our house. My oldest noted, on September 1st, that this would be her final year at Hogwarts. It would also be her senior year of high school. Since school isn't a part of our life, the passing of a fictional mile marker has at least as much meaning in her life.

It was a reminder to me of how we choose what is important in our lives, we choose what is meaningful. At our house we have chosen to make our relationships more important than school. We have chosen time together as a family, but each individual member gets to make that choice. We have chosen to support one another in following our passions. And we have chosen not to blindly accept the societal view that school is required for children to grow up socialized or well educated.

Really? Do people really think school leads to healthy socialization and well educated children? Do those same people also consider themselves properly socialized and well educated? The irony should be obvious and the fact that it isn't brings to mind my blog about Schools, Suicide, and Stockholm Syndrom. Just like that my warm fuzzy blog post has taken a turn toward the dark side. On the first day of school parents want to take pictures of smiling children with their brand new backpacks, not think about how a week down the road, or maybe even tomorrow, their kids won't be smiling and happy, the backpack won't be clean and new, reality will have set in. In the last month, as kids in various parts of the country have headed back to school, the numbers of hits on my blog post Does Your Child Want to Stay Home From School? have been rising. It's now the 3rd most viewed post on my blog. Unfortunately, I don't think that post is what most parents are looking for. Hopefully it will help at least one parent to listen to their child, rather than googling for a different article that tells them what they want to hear.

But enough about those other families, school, and the realities of their lives. I know about those realities, I had kids in the school system for 7 years, but that's not our life any more. As we head into our 6th year of life outside the system, and reflect on the past 5 years, I am once again thankful that we don't have to scramble every morning to be ready for the school bus.

My quiet house awaits. Time to tackle some projects and enjoy the solitude.
Tonight the house will be filled with teenagers once again.

Happy Not Back To School Day to all our friends who share this way of life. 

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