9.07.2011

falling on up

I've got something to share but I've been having a hard time with it.  I've rewritten this post fourteen times.  Each time I've bored myself with maudlin musings and semi-hysterical pronouncements.  Here goes lucky fifteen.  Time to finally spit it out.

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Okay, one tangent first.

Sorry.

Have you ever had the experience of walking up the stairs and you think you've made it all the way to the top, but there is one more step that you fail to raise your foot high enough to avoid tripping over and you fall splat onto your face, bruising your shins and busting your glasses?

I have too.

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Those moments when reality isn't how it's supposed to be. 

Like knowing first hand that hyperemesis gravidarum is a bad thing to have.  With Smootch I lost twenty five pounds in my first four months of pregnancy.  That was a stumble up the stairs.

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Or when Smootch was diagnosed with a hole in heart at two weeks old and stepped close to death several times before her VSD repair surgery at eleven weeks, that was a terrifying, pants-wetting trip and face plant.

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I've got a few more personal nightmares, but it's suffice to say that due to unexpected realities I've fallen up a few times.  Mental adjustments have had to be made and expectations realigned to meet the corrected actualities. 

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This is not like a trip up the stairs.

This is much easier.

And here we are:

Smootch is going to school.  Like real school.  With teachers in cardigans and line ups and bullies.  Public school.  Grade One.    

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Gone.

All day.

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I've done the whiny, self pitting stage on my way to accepting this.

But one last bittersweet pause before I move on.

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We are unschoolers.  Because this is the succinct post, I'll just tell you that Smootch gets to choose what direction her education will go and I help facilitate it, within defined boundaries of reasonableness.  She wants to stay home?  Okay!  Go on trips and travel?  Sure!  Go to school?

Um.  OK.

Unschooling.  I am trusting this child.  I am trying not to let my ego get in the way.

Nor my private disgust with the school's blandly ironic claim to be 'a special place'.  And to put aside my abhorrence of the school run. 

Because I need to save my energy for all the words I have to eat on this blog.

This kid, she trips me up every time.

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But hey.  We still are who we are.  Today we discussed friction and simple machines on the walk to school.  And Justin Bieber.  It's all the same and different and I'll adjust.  And next year she may want to stay home for a spell.

I'm not losing a daughter, I'm gaining a building.

First day of school, two thousand one hundred and eighty fifth day of homeschool:

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I want to thank a homeschooler for helping me dig myself out mentally from my little homeschool or bust cul de sac.  It may appear that this ruminating vegan attachment parenting unschooler who posts about sending her child to school hadn't read a darn thing at Sniff & Snort, but she has and got the message to stop getting tangled up in her own brain and get a grip.

I got that this time there was no extra step, I just tripped over my own feet.

And now I'm going to stop brooding over this particular plot twist and move on.

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21 comments:

  1. I wish I could hug you right now. This happened to us too-my oldest wanted to go to high school and then my middle wanted public school. LIke a knife to the heart.
    I was having so much FUN. The middle came home again in the middle of second grade. I always have my eye on the day he wants to go back.
    he mentioned it over the summer a few times and I tried to sound upbeat while holding my breathe to see if he decided to go.
    A week at summer camp and he changed his mind-for the moment.
    walking the walk of respecting your kid is hard to do.
    You did good.

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  2. oh good luck with school. Hope she does well :)

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  3. That was a kick ass post, Thanks

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  4. I had a hard time when my daughter wanted to go to public school as well, but it's working out for the better for our current situation. I hope we can go back to homeschool one day, maybe you will too.

    I love the photo of them by the RV/Camper. I totally imagined them going back and forth between bending forward and backward like in a silly kid dance! It's hard for me to catch mine in the middle of being silly, but those are my favorite kinds of photos.

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  5. We've homeschooled for 5 years, oldest is in 4th grade and the first grader has expressed interest in wanting to go. I try and be open about it. School can be a really nice place. It was for me for a while. But we've always said that we'd do what worked and what they wanted to do and if they wanted to go to school that we would let them because it is about their experiences and desires. Next year I might have a public schooler and four homeschoolers. Who knows.

    Hugs from way down south in the states. Crystal

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  6. I always envisioned myself as a homeschooling mom... and then I had kids. I love having them home, and I would homeschool in an instant if I had the self-discipline and the knack for it.

    DD1 started preschool this past January, and I think I had a near-nervous breakdown. Then she started kindegarten on Tuesday, and again, the weeks leading up to it were filled with much self-hatred and doubts and indecision. My poor husband...

    Today was day 2 of school, and it certainly helps to see how happy my daughter is. Nothing can take away my love for her, and regardless of whether I'm homeschooling or not, I strive for a relationship that is strong and loving. At the end of the day, isn't that what all parents yearn for?

    These children of ours... they are pretty humbling, aren't they? :)

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  7. I've been reading your blog for a while now, keeping my eyes out for your wonderful sewing tutorials but, we're/were also homeschoolers. Until two days ago that is. My 6 year old daughter decided she wants to go to first grade. I read your last post intending to wipe your blog from my reader because we're doing the whole scary public school thing now. My point is, thank you SO much for giving it a 15th try.

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  8. I have Aspergers, though at 47, there was no such thing when I was going to school . Point being...not having a choice to stay home, helped me learn a bit more about how to cope with humans then I would have if I had been offered a chance to avoid them . As loathsome and confusing as I found interacting with other kids, it was important for me in my eventually becoming a "mostly" independent adult . Hopefully, by the time she hits, middle school and highschool, she will reconsider homeschooling because that was hell on earth for me but observing humans in their natural habitats,for a few years, is an important anthropology class . Wishing you both a smooth transition .

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  9. you have my respect for doing what is right by your child and respecting her wishes no matter how far removed they are from yours! I do hope she loves the experience but even if she doesn't, she knows that there is a wonderful alternative back home with you. Hope your Little Man doesn't miss his sister too much!

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  10. You always phrase things so well. I went through this same dilemma in deciding whether to move my child from Waldorf school to public school - I think I lost sleep over it for 1.5 years. But we made the change and it wasn't the end of the world I thought it would be. Of course now I'm ruminating about what to do with the three year old.. but thanks for the post to help put it all in perspective.

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  11. I'm trying to be scathing here as I am uber jealous at how picture-perfect your blog is, and I am seething with green jealousy..... Sigh....
    And the fact that you are witty enough to run TWO blogs.
    I'm gonna have to go lie down.
    Really.

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  12. You are letting your little girl follow her heart and intuition even it if is against your feelings, well done ! xxx

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  13. With her leading the way the choice she makes today does not mean it will always HAVE to be that way

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  14. I hope Smootch has a great year, I think she's gonna be one of those kids who brings lots of 'teachable moments' into the classroom. I wish you lived round here, then I might get the chance to teach her class, that would be a blast. I still can't believe she's old enough for grade one, time flies. She looks so grown up in here "school outfit"

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  15. my oldest did this too me too- i was in all these fabulous homeschool and unschooling co-ops and she begged for school, for us it was preschool and then her brother followed right in her footsteps. killed me. but they love it- they are at a montessori school that pretty much allows for an unschooling attitude and boy do they know that i have it. and i am there all the time, so i am still a big part of it. or at least i feel like i am. kudos to you for allowing smootch to follow her own path. i got a lot of flack for changing my game up and letting my kids go to school. i hope you don't have that negativity!

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  16. thanks for sharing, I can readily imagine how hard this was to write and send out to the world. Just know not all, homeschool/unschool family will think your not doing it anymore. We understand. My daughter is in preschool and my son decided three days before school that he wanted to go to school-school this year! Due to the circumstances in our home, mom working full-full time and dad with MS, it is actually easing things a bit for us, so I was much more grateful than you. My husband though, is going to withdrawls, kid withdrawls, homeschooling withdrawls. It is all part of the adventure. Just imagine the impact that Smootch will have on all the other kids there and maybe even the teachers - she's got lots to share.
    Oh, and I thought you were going to say you were pregnant!

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  17. I have been a reader of your lovely blog for a while and just had to comment on this post. I am going through the dillema of choosing between homeschool and public. And this post hit home for me. I loved it. What a crazy ride this whole parenting gig is, huh?

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  18. I stumbled upon your blog read this post and it was very encouraging! Thanks for a does of honesty! I may have to look into this unschooler thing more because I feel it maybe my ideas about schooling under a cool title ;) Looking forward to following you!

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  19. OMG this is my biggest fear...school looks so pretty and fun in media and I know there will come a day when my darling Bear-butt is gonna say something about wanting to go to "real school"....and I will promptly have a heartattack and call my husband bawling.

    Good luck. Maybe she'll decide it's not for her.

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  20. I saw this quote and thought of you.
    “All I am saying can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” - John Holt

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  21. my husband was insistant that my son go to public first grade, I let him and cried after he left. by the end of the year we pulled him out. I say this because I think you are wise to let her go. kids bounce back to what they love. i have a million friends who love the public school system and she may have a amazing year. but at least you know she can always come home when and if she is ready

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