First Day of School: Year Two
A year ago, the boys and I sat with my sister, some friends and our camp neighbors to witness one of the world's most amazing celestial events-The Great American Eclipse. We were in the middle of a lush green field in the Nantahala Forest at the the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. Nearly 1100 miles away, the kids in our neighborhood were sitting in their classrooms on what was for them, the first day of school.
Classes had started already for many of our friends around the country and the first day pictures were invading my social media newsfeed with a vengeance. Despite looking forward to the amazing adventure we had planned (a steamboat ride along the Mississippi in New Orleans, a stop at the Tuskegee Air Museum, camping, hiking, eclipse viewing and a last hurrah at the beach in Florida), I still felt a little pang of envy when I scrolled past each of my friend's pictures. I wondered constantly if homeschooling was the "right" thing to do-if I was making the best decision for my would-be kindergartner.
But this year? This year is SO different. Yesterday marked the first day of school in our city. Some neighboring districts have already started and like last year, the pictures have dominated social media. I'm happy to report that I have been able to like/love/comment on every single one without a tinge of jealousy or self-doubt. I didn't even feel the need to mark the occasion with a first-day shot of our own. In fact, the only picture I have of the boys from yesterday is a group photo taken at a homeschool group pool party-and it's not a great one either!
A friend texted me yesterday expressing some of the very same feelings I had a year ago. "I really have no doubt that we are doing the right thing with homeschooling.... so why does doubt creep in when I see Facebook today??"
"It’s human nature telling you to go with the herd." I responded. "Not too many people are willing to go the opposite direction but change never came from the person in the crowd. I felt this way last year and this year I can confidently smile and wish everyone a great first day knowing that we’re making the best decision for us. Take a first day pic and post it if it makes you feel better-that’s half the reason I started my blog!"
We are social creatures. We find safety in numbers. We don't want to be left alone out in the middle of nowhere and let's be honest, at times, being a homeschooling parent can feel exactly like that. The trick is to remember all the reasons we are on this path to begin with and while those reasons may vary from family to family, child to child, we decided to dive head first into this world. Trust your parental instincts and if it ain't broke, well then my friends...
...and also don't fix it, because I can't just leave that hanging out there!