“I think I might want to go to school this year.”
It took me by surprise.
A few minutes later and my mind was reeling. I had been in the middle of homeschool planning, a host of nonfiction history books for middle schoolers were already in the mail, my membership with our homeschool co-op had been paid for just that morning, and I had a list of documentaries I wanted to focus on for monthly viewing.
I had hit that high that I get as the ideas of what to teach and what to cover start to energize me and I begin to look forward to what we will learn in the school year to come.
The feeling pretty quickly fades. I’m good at some aspects of teaching, but I suck at others. And while it might seem strange, the subjects that I am good at (English, Writing, Spelling), I think I’m pretty terrible at teaching – and the subjects I suck at (Math, History), I’m actually pretty good at teaching.
I sat for a moment feeling bereft and Em saw it and asked if I was okay with it. “We can homeschool, if you really want to.” She said it with a worried look on her face.
“No, baby,” I told her and smiled, my heart expanding in my chest. “Just give me a few minutes to adjust, and I’ll be okay. I love you and if this is what makes you happy then we should absolutely do it.”
I got up from bed where I had been browsing Netflix, sat down at my desk, and dug in. I didn’t just want to send her to public school, I wanted to send her somewhere where she could continue to blossom, a charter school, that focused on areas she was interested in.
It took about an hour for me to find some decent contenders…
- Crossroads Middle School
- Citizen of the World
- Kipp Preparatory Academy
As I whittled it down to just two (Citizen of the World unfortunately only goes up to 6th grade this year), I began to get excited. My sadness vanished as I imagined her going to either Kipp or Crossroads, especially Crossroads, and meeting new friends, and even walking back to my husband’s work each day after school since she will only be a couple of blocks away.
I imagined what my days would be like, especially once the Airbnb income replaces the need for me to clean houses, and I found myself smiling at the thought of the three other members of my family departing the house at the same time in the morning and returning together in the afternoon. How nice that would be to have hours to write, handle housework, and manage the Airbnb properties.
It was one thing I didn’t have to put off – the writing – in order to be present and available for Em during the weekdays. I wouldn’t have to try to balance enough schooling with sneaking in some writing time.
When I became pregnant with Em, I was in the middle of my first semester at UMKC. The first, and only, semester.
I have zero regrets over dropping out of college to have her, and stay with her, these past 12, almost 13 years. She is an amazing girl who is loved by so many, and, even in the throes of adolescence, is full of confidence, kindness, and is well-grounded.
I look at our little family and know that having an intact household, with a mom and a dad who love her, having all the wonderful things we have in our lives, and in this past year a younger sister, has all helped make her into the wonderful person that she is.
The sadness of her wanting to go to school was momentary, fleeting, and it turned into happiness at the thought that she was able to verbalize the request and that I was able to hear it not as a rebuke or vote of no confidence, but as a reminder that she is growing and is capable of going out into the bigger world.
The applications are in, and now we wait for one of the schools to contact us. Until then we are doing “homeschool lite.” I hope it is Crossroads. It would be perfect – location-wise, curriculum, and even the athletics department. Above all, I want her to be happy. When I told her that, she laughed.
“Mama, you don’t want me to be ‘just happy’ – because if that were true, I’d never have to clean my room.”
Okay, kid. You got me there. I want you mostly happy. With a clean room to go along with it!