The new books are ready; the daily routine/schedule typed up: it must be time to "start school." I dislike that term intensely but there really is no other name for the return to more focused study on "school" subjects: math, grammar, composition. You know, the things my kids don't like.
(Don't take that to mean they don't like learning. They do. Love it. But those school subjects get in the way.)
So today is the day, the first day of school. And as it happens, my girl is spending it on a playdate.
Last night at church the mother of her good friend asked if she was free today. It took about 3 seconds to decide to say yes. I could have said no. I could have told her that we are starting school. (The friend goes to public school which starts next week.) Some might say I should have said no. That I should have stuck to my schedule and put my kid's education first.
But will it matter if she misses this first day? Would it be just as well for me to focus on my boy today and let her enjoy a fun day with a friend? This friend will be mostly inaccessible once school starts. They'll see each other on Sundays at church and maybe an occasional get-together on a Saturday.
Do I want her to enjoy homeschooling - and perhaps be a homeschooling mother herself someday? Do I want her to see that one of the beauties of homeschooling lies in its flexibility? Or do I want to be rigid and tied to a schedule that was created by me and thus is pretty arbitrary? After all, why did I pick this day to start?
This is one of the ways homeschooling is harder than traditional schooling. School starts, the kids go. That's it, no wiggle room. But one of the reasons we homeschool is to avoid that inflexibility. We want to be able to take advantage of opportunities. I won't always say yes to impromptu interruptions to the homeschool day. But when I can, I will. Without worrying that I will put my kids behind or somehow hinder their educations.
So one more playdate will be fine. If you had seen the smile on her face when I told her what she was doing today, you would agree that "yes" was the right answer.