Marlon chose to go to school this year rather than to learn at home, so this morning was the first time that I have ever gone through the first day of school routine. He was very excited, coming into our bed at 6:30, rolling around endlessly, asking the time at thirty second intervals. All this I expected, because he has always been interested by the idea of school, and he has always been so social, and because he likes anything that makes him feel bigger and older and more gtrown up.
When we arrived at the school, however, Ethan surprised me by asking if he too could go to school this year, which was much less expected, since he has always boasted to his friends about how little time he has to spend doing school compared to them, and since he generally avoids situations with large numbers of people. He seemed sincerely interested though, so we got the paperwork, and his first day of school will be tomorrow.
I must confess that all this is a little difficult for me, not because my kids will be gone for a large part of every day, which actually inspires in me some hopes of getting some things done around the house, but because I have so much idealogically invested in the idea of home learning. We had always told them that they could go to public school if they chose, because I never wanted them to feel as though we had robbed them of that experience, and we had always suspected that Marlon would choose school, at least for a time, but to have both my school-aged children make this choice on consecutive days has produced some complicated emotions in me, as I come to grips with the fact that my children have chosen to learn in a way that I seriously distrust.
We will continue to learn at home of course, just by living the way we do, by pulling the kids out of school for special trips and occasions, and by encouraging them to pursue their interests, but I am still mourning the ideal of learning that I have been nurturing for something like a decade. I know that my kids may return to homeschooling at some point, and I also know that they will be fine if they choose to remain in the public school system. Still, it is hard to let them go.