One week from yesterday, school starts. Leslie will be at East Middle School from 7:45 til 9:45 (leaving earlier than that on the bus). Eastin's day at Sunnyside Elementary goes from 8:30 to 3:30 (plus bus time, again). This is our last week home together, the three of us. Sniff.
Several times this summer, some activity came to mind that I wanted to do with the girls this year and then I remembered -- oh, yeah. We can't. Our time is no longer our own. We'll be tied to the school's schedule. No getting ahead in school work and taking a field trip for a day. No learning science at the nature center. No doing history at the local museum. No being able to run to a friend's house and sit with her kids while she deals with an emergency that has come up (no, I can't do that alone, because I'll need to be back to get the girls when school is over). No heading to Hyllningsfest in Lindsborg a day early. No more long afternoon playdates (at least not for Eastin), because she'll have to get homework and piano practice and all done when she gets home from school after 4 or so. No reveling in the first snow of the season the minute it falls. No playing around with our agendas when a day comes along that just seems to call for cuddling and reading on the couch all day long.
I'm sure I sound like a whiner. I mean, this is reality for the vast majority of families in America these days, I know. But I have definitely become spoiled these past several years with being my own boss of my own household schedule. And I can't help but feel a bit resentful at giving up that role to someone else whose primary concern (if we're all brutally honest about it) is not what is best for my child, but what is most convenient and efficient for the running of their organization.
That's not meant as a slam to teachers and administrators. Most of them are great people doing a great job at what they're doing. I remember when I started homeschooling, someone asked me, "Do you really think you can do a better job than a professional 2nd grade teacher?" I responded, "Do I think I can teach a room full of 2nd graders better than a professional 2nd grade teacher can? No, absolutely not! Do I think I can teach my one 2nd-grade daughter better than a professional 2nd grade teacher can teach her in the midst of a room full of 2nd graders? Absolutely."
What schools do, they often do well. But I have no illusions that what they do is going to necessarily meet the needs of my individual child.
I digress. I was whining about not being able to be with my kids so much this year. Funny how while homeschooling, I often lamented my inability to have time alone to get things done on my own schedule. Maybe our time is never really our own. Maybe, when the day comes that I have complete freedom to spend my day however I wish, I'll bemoan the fact that I have nothing meaningful left to do and nobody important to me around to spend it with.
It always comes back to not having what you want, but wanting what you have . . .