If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been pretty quiet on here lately and I’m going to bear it all right now and tell you why.
After many months of discussion, research and soul searching, we made the decision to end our time homeschooling Oliver, our oldest. We decided this for several reasons, but primarily because we want to be sure that Oliver grows up with the skill of not just being friendly, but actually making friends.
You might be saying to yourself “Yes! Homeschool kids turn out weird, so good on you!” Or you might be in the camp of “There are lots of ways to help homeschool kids make friends. You didn’t try hard enough.” You know what? Maybe both views are valid in some way, but right now it’s just all about him and making sure that he’s happy and set up for success in life.
“But public schools don’t educate kids like world travel does.” That’s true, but there are skills and lessons in school that we can’t make a curriculum for. “But you can tailor his learning to really support him and help him flourish.” That’s true, but there are systems in school to help super smart kids like him succeed.
Our fears about going into public school
“What about gun violence in America and school safety NOT being taken seriously?” Believe me, I know. Here’s where it gets complicated: on the very first day that Oliver was supposed to start the school actually had a Code Red/Dangerous Intruder drill scheduled. That’s not something I’m going to let my kid experience on the very first day, so the school changed his official start day for us. To today.
And that brings us to this moment. I was a wreck this morning, unable to function really or do anything productive. I actually felt like I failed Oliver and my solution was sending him to school. That’s not true though and I know how crazy smart and creative he is. I felt like I had told my best friend to go away and make new friends. I feel like I’m placing him in harms way, either regarding safety or opening him up to awful kids (they still exist).
Being a two-dad family in a small town
And the thing that I worry about too, is that he’s going to be questioned or teased about having two dads. Yesterday when we met his teacher she told us that there was a kid in a higher grade that has two dads… Great, there’s another kid in the whole school. I’m sure the school has a zero tolerance policy around bullying and chances are it might not even come up in conversation with the other kids, but what if it does? Or what if the teacher isn’t aware that it comes up.
What if kids ask Oliver about his family and some kid is a jerk about it? Oliver has never had reason to think his family is weird or not acceptable or anything, what if that seed gets planted today? Or tomorrow? And what if it happens and then Oliver never tells us about it?
I’m sure every parent has something that they stress about, but for us, coming out every single damn day is tiring and stressful, particularly living in a small town. I don’t want that to become something Oliver has to get accustomed to.
First day of public school positives
Anyways on the positive notes: the dude was super excited to start school and he was thrilled to bring a lunch. He was so helpful getting ready for school and was stoked that he got to wear sweats on his first day since today is PE. He is really looking forward to riding the bus starting next week and loves being in a room that has both a snake and turtle as class pets.
Also a big win: Elliott and I have endless time together. I’ve never had that with him. Me and O had three years of 1 on 1 time, but Elliott has never had such focus on him. Already I’ve learned that he is a skilled Duplo builder on his own without Oliver stepping in. I’ve learned that he is good at independent play time. I’ve seen how he speaks when Oliver isn’t there answering for him or translating for him (you should read our January newsletter…).
We’re very excited to see how this first week goes and I know that I’ll get over my hurdles in time. We’ve been raising two incredible, strong little boys and this is a time for them to shine.
We still very much support homeschooling parents and very much would like to do it again. There’s no reason we can’t pull him out of school in the future if we need to or want to. We know that we have the skills required for teaching school topics and there is plenty of technology to support us.
If you’re thinking about jumping into homeschooling or worldschooling, we still have lots of good resources. Check out our articles about how we’ve been managing education for the last two years:
And please feel free to leave comments and questions. We want to encourage other parents who are struggling to talk about their hopes and fears about having a first day of school or ending the homeschooling process.