I realise that I’ve been going through the “back to school” routine every September, without fail since I was three years old. Staring with pre-school, then through to nursery, primary school, secondary school, college, university and working as a teacher. Then I became I mum and “back to school” meant our playgroup and music group starting up again. Of course, before I knew it we were getting our daughters ready for pre-school, nursery and primary school themselves.
For thirty two years of my life September has heralded new beginnings. New clothes, new stationery, new books, new shoes, new bags, new routines, new friends, new teachers, new colleagues. No matter how the summer has shaped up, September has always been a time of year I look forward to.
So What Do We Do Now There’s No School?
This September marks the beginning of our home education journey proper. No going back to school. For the first time in memory, September hasn’t arrived with the same gusto it always has. I haven’t been buying school uniform since July and putting it away labelled with names. We don’t buy new shoes. I haven’t been planning more interesting packed lunches. Coats that still fit are not washed (yet).
Today would have been the day that the girls went back to school. P into Year Two and E into Year Four. Instead we get up late. We get up at eight o’clock and have a slow breakfast. Then we watch a bit of TV and disappear off into different rooms to read for a bit. We don’t even get dressed until after 10. It feels almost in defiance of the routine that has dominated my life so far.
In the afternoon the girls decide that they want to get stuck into a Crayola Make Your Own Markers set, so we do. We talk about colour mixing, measuring and how they think Crayola actually make their marker pens on a bigger scale. I’m counting that as Science and Maths for those keeping score.
E disappears upstairs to read a book in peace and quiet, whilst P declares that she’s writing a story. But I’m doing the writing. We have a glorious half an hour of her dictating a story to me whilst skipping around the room wearing a paper crown. Who gets to do that in a classroom? No one I’ve ever taught, that’s for sure! I think the box for English gets a tick today too.
After dinner, we go off to the girls’ karate lesson so there’s PE (and socialising for all of those concerned parties). Not a bad day to not go back to school!
Feeling Left Out?
Truthfully though, despite having had a great day today, there is a little part of me that feels left out. Maybe that’s too strong, but I feel on the sidelines. My friends all have school-age children, two starting this week in fact, and I’m not part of any conversation about school any more. I’m not taking back to school photos (not that I ever shared them anyway) and I’m not talking about the school run or discussing homework or anything similar. It feels weird. I almost feel like I’ve lost the right to discuss education.
Should I tell people about the fun we’ve had today? Is it okay to talk about the trips we’ve got planned? Do I express an opinion on anything school-related? I honestly don’t know, it’s a real learning curve for me. Maybe as time goes on, I’ll suss out who is interested and who isn’t, but for now I’ll just stay quiet.