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« The Over-Scheduled Child | Main | Sailing Lessons »

August 23, 2007



Last year I took my daughter on a trip at this time of year. Neatly avoids all that back to school anxiety since everyone is fully back by the time we got back. Maybe that would work for you?


I so appreciate your honesty. I experience feelings of anxiety and questioning, as well. As adamant as I may come off at times that this is the right path for us, I still feel anxious and question at times. I don't think I question whether my children should be in school or if school would be better for them, rather, I question myself. Sometimes I think I should question less and relax in what I know is right for us more. Other times I know my questionings and unsettling feelings are telling me something important... something I might need to change in our lifestyle, or something I might need to change within myself. I've learned to associate autumn with a certain rhythm in our lifestyle. We gear up, just like the school kids do because the weather has finally lightened up and we feel like exploring and are out and about in the great fall weather. It's taken a few years to settle into that rhythm, and it feels good and exciting. My anxiety creeps in at other times.:-D

I also came to the realization that if I am not micromanaging my children’s lives that I have a hole in my schedule that could be called “my life.” I have a life to live with my children and living it consciously is one way that I homeschool and model real life learning for my kids. It was a transition that was not smooth for me. The realization that it is not only OK, it is good, and then the realization that it is my responsibility to pursue my life’s interests and take action was a little sobering. And now it is liberating.

Wabi Sabi Me

I second the late summer vacation idea. My children and I just returned from a surprise family vacation which saved us all from a lot of the "BTS" stuff. Just to play it safe, I've decided to avoid some of the HS park days until after Labor Day as well.

Most of all, I use this time to focus, as Robin wrote, on "modeling real life learning" for my children. Unschooling is more than learning the 3Rs, it is an apprenticeship in living a full life :-)


One more comment: LOL! I didn't mean to be an unschooler, either! And isn't the disjointed learning kind of funny? I bought the Spectrum Test Prep books for my children this year, not to teach them, but to help prepare my daugher for the act of test taking (our annual "proof of progress" required by the state), which overwhelms her, especially since we don't do anything at home that resembles test taking. Seems to me (and us, as we are in agreement, and she is happily chugging out pages for today) that if there is a problem (test anxiety) you address it. Anyway, so my son wants to do one, as well, and we are having the biggest laugh over the idea of him not having a clue as to how to deciper the first letter sound in a word and find another word like it, but he is reading chapter books. I explained that this is supposed to be a pre-reading skill. LOL!:-)


I am hoping that this angst will leave after another year or two of unschooling -- because I definitely feel it, too. (I posted about it on my blog last week.) I can't get away from it totally because my husband's a teacher, so we are still affected by BTS week. We have to say goodbye to Daddy after a summer of whole family togetherness.

Marjorie, I think you must be doing fabulously! I have only recently realized that I do NEED to have "meaningful and important work" apart from mothering my kids, for my own mental health. Sometimes I wish I did not, but I have to accept that about myself. And I pray that unschooling will allow me to follow my dreams without guilt that I'm "neglecting their education." Because I definitely couldn't put them in school as an alternative.


You've done a fantastic job on this post Marjorie! Beautiful writing. Your honesty and deep love shine through. Unschooling is kind of like that library you are building--it takes a while for all the books and sections of books to stack up; but once they do, wow what a library, what a resource! Same with your kids, it takes a while for all the different unordered groups of knowledge to build up and stretch and touch one another; but once they do, WOW what a happy, self-taught, fullfilled human-being! Getting to that point of having a huge library is cool I'm sure, but the freedom to savor each book and each group of knowledge along the way is pure sweet heaven. Sometimes, when I'm really feeling scared or overwhelmed or failing, I stop and remember WHAT I'm helping to build--happy, loving, giving adults. And when I think about that and look at my happy, imaginative kids I realize I'm doing a pretty good job just like you...one book and one hug at a time.


I'm glad I'm not the onyl one who feels that "back to school" anxiety. There's something about this time of year that makes me nervous, like after years of the back to school stress drilled into me it's permanent.


I loved your article, Marjorie. I'm linking to it at my blog.


Thank you so much for your comments and support. Sometimes I feel down, but it's fleeting. I think feeling a bit down at Back-to-School time is just one of the rhythms of my life. I liked school and there is a sense of sorrow. But I love how we are living our lives and wouldn't change a thing. I also realize that my being critical of myself is just me still trying to get the "A"! Really, homeschooling is not all about me, though it may sound that way sometimes.
Thanks again for your encouragement!


I could have written your post myself.. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement.

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