Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to School Confusion

The kids around here go back to school next Thursday.  For the first time in two years, my kid won't be on the bus.

It's a strange feeling for me, but I can't imagine what's going through Ella's head.  I mean, she's spent about a fourth of her life in school so far, and most of her life before school she doesn't remember anyway.  She's very bright and knows that we are homeschooling, but I don't think she "gets" it.  We have always after-schooled and summer schooled, so things are pretty much the same as they've always been for her during the summer.  No matter how many times we tell her otherwise, she still seems to be expecting a bus ride next week and gets completely stressed over the idea.  She freaks about lunches, recess, not making friends, being bored in the classroom, and on and on and on.

Since we're schooling year-round, we don't really have a start date.  I suppose I'll have to plan our own back-to-school party on some arbitrary date and let her pick the meal, bake cupcakes, pick a movie, etc.   Beyond that, I'm not sure how else to help her understand that she doesn't have to worry about all those things that tie her stomach up in knots.

Any suggestions for how we can help her relax and understand what homeschooling is and that she isn't going back to a class this year? 


  1. Do the groups around you plan anything? Usually around here at least someone plans a beach get-together on the first day of school. They call it Not Back to School Day. Maybe you could call it that, instead of trying to make it a first day of school celebration?

    Another nice idea is a German tradition, with a cone of goodies on the first day of school. Here you go:

    I've heard of homeschoolers (Waldorf or Enki based, mostly) doing that, too.

  2. Give her time; she'll get there. It is an odd feeling. We'll have something similar the week after. On the first day of school, we're having a holiday and doing fun stuff in public all day, lol. I'm thinking mini-golf and maybe a movie.

  3. Wow--you really opened my eyes when you said that she'd spent "a fourth of her life at school." I had never thought of it that way! (My kids left public school in the first and fourth grades.) Poor thing, I hate to think of her with her stomach all tied up in knots at the thought of starting back to school! But I've been there--my son was the same way until we took him out of school.

    Amy has some great ideas: if you can attend a Not Back to School party with a local group, she'll meet lots of other kids who aren't getting on that bus! We're attending our first one this year and my kids are really looking forward to it.

    I love the German "cone" idea--or some other kind of family celebration. Pick your own tradition, but make it special (and something you won't mind doing every year!) Baking cupcakes and seeing a movie sounds awesome!

    I like thisadventure's idea of being out in public on the first day. (When my kids and I go places during the school year, it's always kind of creepy how there are no kids to be seen until after 3:30.)

    Be sure to talk about the fun things you'll be doing as homeschoolers. Bring the upcoming year into focus for her by naming specific activities, especially things she's looking forward to.

    Have a GREAT year of homeschooling!

  4. Last year was our first year homeschooling. One son in traditional school and the 1st grader home with me. On the first day, we did a field trip. Some of the places around here teach homeschool classes so we went to a fort. I made a big deal about when brother goes to school we go here.

  5. So many great ideas. I'm jotting them all down and formulating a plan for Thursday. Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. You can do it, Michelle!

    Yes, it will be weird and there will be a period of adjustment, but you'll both get there. After that first day of watching the bus go by and she doesn't have to get on it - that might be all she needs right there to really understand the new life.

    I agree - a special NOT back to school outing sounds terrific. A little special shopping, a lunch out, cupcakes...that all sounds wonderful and special. Take some pictures! You'll regret it if you don't. I forgot our first year and I've been kicking myself ever since.

    You can do it, mama! We're here for you!

  7. Thanks, Deb! She has a date with the window at 7:15 Thursday morning to watch the bus drive by without her! :)


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