One cold (okay maybe frigid)
Saturday morning in February 2009, I sat down with Mr U in his home office. The kids were still asleep. I had to tell him about our son's second quarter report card in sixth grade. It wasn't good and I knew this was probably not going to be a pleasant conversation. The thing was, this was not our son's first poor second quarter sixth grade report card. We were hoping that some maturity and age might be the answer when we asked the middle school administrators to have him repeat the sixth grade but apparently this was not the case.
I could see the frustration (or was it anger?) in Mr U's face, I could hear it in his voice. Instead, he suggested that we needed to try something different. But what? How about homeschool? I didn't know what to say. The truth is, over Christmas break I had read through John Holt's book without ever mentioning this to my husband..but now the thought was both exciting and very scary. Yes, let's try it we agreed. So I spent the rest of the weekend poring over the computer for information, emailing a woman who would become our friend (along with her homeschooled son) and talking on the phone with a woman who I had seen featured earlier in the year in an article in our local newspaper about homeschooling (whom I had known, oddly enough, from our days serving on the elementary school's PTSA.) It was scary at first and our son seemed so sad when we announced our intentions, but- we have had no regrets.
So today, after I had emailed the third quarter progress report to the office of our district's Superintendent of Instruction and Curriculum (and even posted my delight on instagram),
and after my son and I had settled in to work on world history together at the kitchen table,
it just happened....I began to cry.
When my son, whom I often affectionately call Nature Boy,
was almost 2 years old, I became pregnant with our third child. It's all happy and good but before I knew it, he was off to kindergarten and I had this sadness that we had not had much time together, just him and I. His older sister was our only child for 3 years, and after he started school, his younger sister was home with me alone for 3 more years before she ventured off to school. We had not had those 3 years to ourselves.
But here it is, though his younger sister did join us at home to be homechooled for almost 4 years,
he and I have had our time together now for 6 years (that 2x 3 years!). This boy who seemed so sad and painfully shy has blossomed into a young man (who is now 18!) who smiles a lot, who has a great sense of humor, who enjoys watching the birds at our feeder, who sows seeds and tends a vegetable garden (growing many foods he won't even eat LOL),
who has laid laminate floors, operated a snowplow, who discusses politics with dad, who has a small circle of friends (an equally interesting and diverse group of young men), who we also call "Sweetie" and yes, who is still shy but not so painfully.
And yet I'm crying. I'm crying because I am so thankful I have had this time with him. I am crying because I'm sad that this phase of my life is almost over.
I am crying because I am proud of the person Nature Boy has become. I am crying because I will no longer have to read any more physical science or world history. Ever. I am crying because I won't have to spend hours each July developing our yearly schedule while writing up his IHIP (individualized home instruction program) on the floor of our bedroom, the only room with air conditioning.
I am crying because I love him so.