by Jena, guest author
I've always loved school. I'd come home from kindergarten and play teacher with my younger brother. From those first days, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. That's why I went on to get a degree in education.
When our first child Peter was born, I started teaching him. Afterall, that's what parenting is, isn't it? We teach them how to eat, how to go to the bathroom, how to dress themselves, how to talk, how to be polite. So why do we hand them over to somebody else when they turn five?
One of the happiest days of my life was in August 1994. It was the first day of school and all Peter's little friends were going off to their kindergarten classrooms. I was actually giddy. I didn't have to make sure his clothes were just right or that he had all his school supplies. I didn't have to worry what the other kids would think of him or if he'd eat all his lunch or if he'd be scared or worried. I was thrilled that he had a chance to be free of all that school stress that still plagues me today. Do you still have dreams of getting lost on your way to a final exam?
He didn't notice that first day of not going to school, but I did. It was endless summer. Year after year, we slipped from summer into fall with hardly a hitch, maintaining the joy of learning and the joy of childhood.
But next fall will be different. He'll go off to college. I've been working on saying goodbye for about 3 years now, so I think I'll be ready. I know he is; he's going to the school of his dreams-- the University of Chicago on a full scholarship for four years.
All that stress-free time to read and explore paid off. He got a 35 on the ACT and a 2300 on the SAT, commenting after each test that he wished those reading selections had been longer, they were so interesting!
You can find this story published on my blog at http://closeyoureyesandhangontight.blogspot.com/search/label/unschooling.
Jena lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three teenagers. They’ve homeschooled all three from birth. Her blog www.closeyoureyesandhangontight.blogspot.com chronicles her life as a knitter who loves to ponder parenting and education. Peter welcomes questions from other homeschooling teenagers. His email: email@example.com