Why Homeschoolers Should Celebrate Not Back-to-School

Not Back-to-School, what could that possibly mean? Don’t we all measure our lives and those of our children in terms of school years, grade levels, and summer breaks?

I don’t, but that can be a difficult position to take. Our culture has just accepted this way of living and thinking without considering whether it is beneficial or necessary.

So I say, no I won’t celebrate back-to-school. Instead, we celebrate NOT back-to-school.

Celebrate Not Back-to-School

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The Emotions of Back-to-School

It can be very difficult to swim against the current and make the decision to homeschool your children. This is especially true when summer is ending, and everyone is posting their back-to-school photos of perfectly groomed, smiling children holding their mom-crafted signs and proudly declaring their first day of (fill in the blank) grade.

Or how about when you see the jubilant moms who are boldly embarking on their own adventures sans children?

Meanwhile, your kids are still in their pajamas. Or even better, still in bed.

And yet it’s just another day for you, drinking coffee with a toddler in your lap and wondering how you’ll ever fold all the laundry.

So how do we compensate for our anxiety over this alternative lifestyle we have chosen?

We try to show the world that we’re just like them and there’s no difference in homeschooling.

  • We make our own first day of school signs and post them on Instagram.
  • We talk about all the planning we’ve done and the curriculum we’ve purchased, so everyone will know we’re “doing school.”
  • We sign our kids up for endless activities to prove homeschooled children are “socialized.”

I get it; the desire humans have to be accepted and included is strong. But we’ve also been so conditioned to associate everything in our lives in its relation to school.

I’m the first to admit I love a fall day combined with the smell of new crayons. It’s the smell of new beginnings and possibilities, but perhaps as homeschoolers, we need to deschool our lives a little more?

Not Back-to-School
Photo by Brooklyn Morgan on Unsplash

The Benefits of Not Back-to-School

How could we benefit from celebrating the fact we don’t have to go back to school?

Here’s my favorite homeschooling quote:

I have used the words “homeschooling” to describe the process by which children grow and learn in the world without going, or going very much, to schools, because those words are familiar and quickly understood. But in one very important sense they are misleading. What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all. It is not an artificial place, set up to make “learning” happen and in which nothing except “learning” ever happens. It is a natural, organic, central, fundamental human institution, one might easily and rightly say the foundation of all other institutions.  | John Holt

I’ve given a little more here than I usually quote because I found it so interesting. I’m also not a fan of the word “homeschooling” but use it by default because it’s an easy answer everyone accepts.

But what makes homeschooling meaningful isn’t the inclusion of schooling, it’s the primacy of home.

My problem with the term homeschooling is that it still insinuates schooling is an obvious necessity when the benefit of home education exists precisely because it isn’t school at all.

Home is not an artificial institution, so why do we feel the need to insert an artificial environment into our homes to ensure our children’s learning “counts”?

Why Not Back-to-School?

So why should homeschoolers embrace and celebrate Not Back-to-School?

Because we can!

Our homes are not school, and never will be, so why should we operate as if a “school year” has meaning in our lives.

The only meaning it holds is what we have to report to the state and where our kids are placed in activities, little more.

Let’s celebrate that freedom and not feel stress if you don’t have 180 days perfectly planned or if you get “behind” in math.

One of the most significant benefits of homeschooling is that we can toss the to-do list to take that unexpected field trip or enjoy the first, crisp day of fall.

At times, we let our fear of our children missing out overcome us and try to replicate the trappings of school in our home, but it’s unnecessary and contributes to the grip school has on our society.

Let’s show the world that out-schooling the school is not what makes homeschooling a fantastic choice. It’s precisely because we aren’t a school that makes it wonderful.

So Celebrate Not Back-to-School

Celebrate not going back-to-school, it’s okay.

You can do it whenever and in whatever way you like.

I’ll be playing games, crafting, and reading. Simply continuing our life of learning.

 

Join me in my Homeschool Mindset Facebook Group.


 

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About Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six always homeschooled children who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between.  While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills.

5 thoughts on “Why Homeschoolers Should Celebrate Not Back-to-School

  1. Thank you Bethany, I love your site. I stumbled across it this summer. I am picking up so many helpful bits of information.

  2. Definitely some interesting thoughts here. We actually don’t follow a typical school schedule, as we school year round, 5 or 6 weeks on, 1 week off with some extra time off in the summer and a more relaxed summer session, then we do have our “first day of school” traditions the first week of September. But I’m thinking we need to add one more tradition. Actually having a “not back to school” day with lots of fun activities on the day when our local school starts back up.
    If you have a chance, I would love for you to link this up to Littles Learning Link Up over at Tots and Me. Have a great day!

  3. Our local homeschool community has an annual Not-Back-To-School picnic on the first day of public school. We get together at this one particular park to hang out and sell curriculum or other items, and then we go swimming at the pool located at the park. Our own family usually gets ice cream on the way home. We basically celebrate NOT having to do anything “school” on the first day of school. It’s one of our favorite traditions! I guess one could argue that we are still letting the school year define us by holding it on the first day of school, but I would argue it helps put us in the mindset that we are not doing school at home when we chose to homeschool.

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