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.
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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?
The Benefits of Not Back-to-School
How could we benefit from celebrating the fact we don’t have to go back to school?
- We would embrace our freedom
- We could create the atmosphere in our homes we want, rather than what we imagine “school” requires
- We might question the necessity of book reports, multiple choice tests, textbooks, and grades
- We could provide our children the time and space needed to pursue passions not valued in 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.
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.
Celebrate in our Not Back-to-School Facebook Group! You can also join me in my Homeschool Mindset Facebook Group.
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