Today our family attended the annual first day not back to school picnic, hosted by a local homeschool support group. The event is one we look forward to each September as we get a chance to visit with friends, eat food, and play at the park. I love seeing both how many people I recognize and how many faces are still new to me in this huge homeschool community.
Since we're pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum from formal structured homeschooling, it's nice to have a day that stands out at the start of the school year. We have the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new year and acknowledge that the kids are starting a new grade level (and then I spend the next ten months forgetting what those grade levels actually are).
When we started homeschooling seven years ago, I knew we were going down this path for more than simply academic reasons but I had no idea how much of a lifestyle we were adopting. This educational decision has created a sense of freedom and self-direction within our family that I didn't experience during our years in the public school system.
I think the aspect I most appreciate about homeschooling is the daily nurturing of our family relationships. The girls spend hours making up games and bringing toys to life. Nick instigates games and activities that lead to giggles and delighted chaos. I get to see what they create, answer their endless questions, and share in activities both in and out of the house.
Sometimes we have bad days and moments, where nobody is getting along and I feel overwhelmed by everything, but those days are thankfully getting fewer and farther between. By now I've learned that it's a process that's not perfect, and I reach out to things that get me back on track to being the mom I want to be.
As we officially step into this eighth year, I'm grateful for what homeschooling has brought into our lives. My kids are some pretty amazing gifts and I can't think of a bigger blessing than to spend time with them.