I have enjoyed seeing the pictures from our friends who are returning to public school. Some started back in July, much more started back in August, and some are just starting now in September. I have also enjoyed the meme’s from our friends who are childless. However, this is the first year I’ve actually seen a huge amount of “Not-Back-to-School” pictures. Some cracked me up, like one of my friends’ kids still sleeping and another doing school in their pj’s by the pool. I even learned that some of the “unschooling” groups hold “not-back-to-school” parties while other homeschoolers purposely plan field trips. I admit to being in the group of planning lots of field trips during the first couple weeks of the traditional school year because they are not taking field trips yet so the places are not crowded at all.
There are some serious perks as homeschoolers. In addition to smaller crowds on our field trips, we don’t need to fight crowds in “back-to-school” sales or tax-free sales. We are not repeatedly buying the same school supplies new each year. The only new supplies we had to buy this year were dry erase markers. In fact, we still are donating school supplies from the pile we had from public school. The scientific calculator he used all last year doesn’t need to be replaced. His backpack from public school has been repurposed.
Another thing that makes us different is that for us, school is year round. Our official school year for the sake of documentation starts June 1st and ends on May 31st. But, that is only because our son ended public school in May 2013 and wanted to start homeschool right away. You know what, learning doesn’t stop when you leave the public school door. Learning can occur anywhere and occurs every day. Technically, even our public school friends are schooled year round. They have just been told school is only when on campus. Not for us. Nope, homeschool for us means learning occurs everywhere and school can be anywhere. For us, we never stop learning so there is no “back-to-school” or “not-back-to-school.” We are in our third year of this adventure and are totally enjoying it. By schooling year round, we can take vacations when we want to and we can go on any field trip when we want to. We also get to go at my son’s pace.
So, whether you homeschool, unschooling, private school, or public school remember that your child is learning every single day, not just in a building. We need more lifelong lovers of learning. Don’t squash a child’s love of learning but instead help them find their passion! And, have a great year regardless of your family’s educational path!