I had a dream last night. In it, I was attending some kind of outdoor concert with a ton of my high school classmates. We were all young, wearing the mod clothes of the mid 80’s, or the leather, metal and jackets. Yeah, it was that kind of school.
I moved through them, consumed with my memories. Remembering how it had felt to walk among them in that time of my life. The fear, the nervousness I had felt, the feelings of never belonging, never comfortable, never at home.
As I did, I pictured myself getting their attention and saying, “I wish I had been comfortable enough in my own skin to realize then how little your opinion of me would matter now.”
Now it wasn’t meant as an insult, although it might sound pretentious. After all, it was a dream.
I realized though, upon waking, that there is a big part of me that wants to homeschool in order to protect my child from those feelings of not belonging, of not being understood, to give her the chance to bloom now that I never had.
Kahlil Gibran wrote a beautiful piece on children. I added it to Emily’s birth announcements. It reads…
Your children are not your children,
they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
We all come to decisions – about homeschooling, about life, and while raising our children – that are often based on our own experiences. It’s natural, it’s normal. But it is important to recognize where those decisions originate from.
My Emily is nothing like me. I was quiet, reserved, much like my eldest daughter. Emily is a social butterfly, her personality conquers others shyness or reserve in mere heartbeats, and I watch her win friends with an ease that, even now, I wish I had. She is definitely her father’s daughter.
If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that of all the teenagers I have ever met, when she gets to that stage, uncertainty, shyness and isolation are not in her future.
Despite my original reasons, I have read enough books on the subject, and met plenty of amazing homeschoolers in the past few years, and I believe in my heart that homeschooling is still our best option for Emily. A recent discussion with a public school teacher turned homeschool mom (due to medical issues of the child) clarified that quite well. I’ll be tackling that topic in more detail soon. Needless to say, homeschool will not be a ‘dumbing it down’ process for my child.
My dream reminded me of where I have come from…and my waking reminded me of where I am now. I’m a different person now than I was then. The distance of the years allowed me to slowly crawl out of my shell. I learned a lot, most of it self taught, and slowly the self-esteem rose and I began to realize I had actually become the person I wanted to be. I guess I like to think that, if I play my cards right, Emily will never have to go through such a long, extended period of fear and uncertainty.
I guess I’ll go back to bed and dream again…where will my daughter be in ten years? In twenty?
The house of tomorrow…I hope that it is a beautiful place for her.