Nevermind. I don't want to go to school.

Because we took a 3-week adventure last fall and followed that up with a newborn in November, our 2013-2014 school year got a little...behind.  That is to say, we're still vigorously working to finish our first and fourth grade studies before they officially graduate to the next grade level.  I have it in my mind that I'm a miserable failure if it's not completed, at the very latest, one day before the local public schools go back in session.  Yes, I know one of the beauties of homeschooling is getting to set my own schedule.  I also know that it's hard to change the paradigm of a 30-year old who, for 28 years, spent her life as a slave to the public school calendar.


Today, Sarah started asking a few school-related questions.  I realize educational philosophies vary greatly from family to family and depending on the season, day, or even hour, within a family.  We have done little as far as formal learning at the preschool level for Sarah, and will begin as her interests lead in kindergarten, still allowing her to do what's most important for a five year old, in our opinion - to play.  Anyway, with that disclaimer out there, the conversation played out like this.

Sarah:  Mommy, am I old enough to go to school?
Me:  Yes, Sarah.  You are a kindergartener in the fall.
Sarah:  Okay.  I want to go to school.
Me:  What do you want to do at school?
Sarah:  Play.
Me:  Well, you probably get to play a lot more at home than you would in kindergarten.  A lot of your day is spent at a desk or table in school.
Sarah:  (Not wasting a split-second in replying)  Okay, nevermind.  I don't want to go to school.

This might not seem like a revolutionary conversation.  And it probably wasn't, but you guys.  This.  This is what gives me rest.  Reassurance that we're doing the right thing. 

I love that my play-loving, creative, free-spirit can let her hair down, take her shoes off, and swing/bounce/roll/climb all day until her heart is content.  I love that she's not confined to a chair in the classroom, because you know what?  Honestly, I'm not sure she'd stay there.  And you know what else?  That's okay.  Because she's Sarah.  And she's precious.  And she's exactly the way God created her.  Spunky, energetic, whimsical, and wiggly.

She's beautiful.  And loving.  And sweet.  My goodness, she must give me 200 hugs every day.  And I'm not even her favorite.  (It's no secret.  She's a daddy's girl.  Her second favorite is Noah.) 

She's my brave, fearless girl.  She's the one who puts on a dress to go climb a tree.  Her spirit just soars.  It's beautiful to watch.  She's everything I'm not.  I don't want to extinguish that.  If I can, I want to do everything possible to fan her unique flame.

I am not detracting from the value of formal education.  I think it's so very important.  But I also think being five is a once in a lifetime experience.  And it's okay to spend it playing and wiggling.  She's got the rest of her life to be serious and sit still. 

But...if I know Sarah, she'll find a way around it.  At least, for her sake, I hope she does.

This girl was born to fly.


Sharon said...

Sarah - that irrepressible, vivacious, joyous bundle of energy. I think you're right, Jennie. I think she'd find formal education *confining* - and a desk would feel like prison. So I'm glad that you had this conversation, and received more confirmation that what you're doing is the right thing. You aren't just teaching your children, you're shaping them, and allowing each one to become the unique person they were created to be.

Sarah - keep up the good work, Jennie. Help her find her wings, and teach her how to fly.


Debbie said...

Little known fact about my mom: She hates kindergarten. She was always sad when one of the grandchildren started. She says that you lose children just a little the day they start "formal school" so the first day of kindergarten was a bit of a death to her. (You can imagine how she feels about pre-k, )

(Probably) well known fact about me: I agree with her. I do not see the virtue in shortening a time in a child's life which is too short already. I didn't have the courage that you have so ours went off at the tender age of 5 to a tiny Christian school where I thought that at least more of "it" would be preserved. Still, it was a full day of formal school and time that I can't get back now if I tried. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that at least I didn't buy into the whole pre-K deception.

I love that you aren't willing to clip her little wings. I got to see her in church recently, and I couldn't believe how much she had grown and how much she was starting to look like her big sister. Still, each of your children has his own special look and uniqueness. I love that.

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