In the homeschool community, “not back to school” is a popular phrase. It implies a celebration of resuming formal schoolwork but not returning to a brick-and-mortar school, and of community resources such as museums and parks becoming much less crowded. Some homeschool families take trips, others hold gatherings. I’ve never quite felt a connection to this concept, especially since my husband is a teacher who does return to school. Once he does, our routine changes dramatically, as we tend to follow his schedule so that we’re off when he’s off.
What we follow is more like almost-back-to-school. I don’t think it’s unique to homeschoolers at all. It kind of feels like a last-supper mentality, in that we’re suddenly cherishing every moment, and squeezing in every possible activity that we never did throughout the summer. There are a few events that must happen in order for me to feel like my summer dreams were fulfilled. A drive-in movie, outdoor Shakespeare at Boscobel, an afternoon at a local dock along the Hudson Valley, and if we can swing it, a day at the beach. The real beach, not a lake.
Although we spend our summers having fun, preparing for back-to-school as a homeschool mom also means multi-tasking. Whereas some moms are gearing up for the kids to be gone for hours a day, and buying school supplies and backpacks, I’m trying to get extra organized so that we can hit the ground running. I take advantage of my husband being home so we can catch up on projects around the house. We take all of the day trips we can, and enjoy as much quality time as possible.
I’m also planning. And planning, and planning. Classes, field trips, curricula, what will fit where, when, and how. I plan, then I take a break and go back to summer, and go back to planning again. By the end of summer, we have a long list of subjects we plan to study, places we’d like to explore, and more ideas than we could ever see to fruition. I guess that’s the point, though, to get excited about learning and all of the possibilities ahead. Rediscovering things you’d forgotten (or never learned in the first place) as you teach your children allows you to see knowledge in a new way, and tap into the importance of passionate learning. So here we are, end of summer, and about to dive into a new school year. Whether your kids are going back to school, or you’re resuming homeschooling, or already started a while back, I wish you a productive September, not too many tears (whether they be due to separation or homework!), and some time to enjoy the crunchy leaves and cool blue skies that await us.