.....and I'm happy and I'm sad.
We have finished homeschooling in our house. What started out as a "one year project" when Zteen was in the 2nd grade, has now been completed. We took an extra year because of family issues (my mom's health, PapaC's health, and a few other changes/additions to our lives), so really we've done twelve years of homeschooling.
As the homeschooling catalogs come in, here in what has been my "season of planning", it is with a great deal of regret that I toss them into the recycling bin. And for the first time in I don't know how long, I didn't attend the Book Fair, looking for "just the right math program" (our nemesis!).
There is some relief here. Zteen is taking a semester off to work, and he will start at our local community college (very friendly to homeschoolers) in January. I suspect that when he enters, he will have to take one remedial class in composition, unless he chooses to work on his skills a little during the fall. Other than that, I think he will be fine, and will surprise himself with how well he will do. Of course, I suppose the surprise could work the other way, but let's hope not.
I am so grateful for the years that Zteen and I spent together. I have a son who is a reader (he read Moby Dick for fun), but also a video game player. I have a son who serves at Mass every single Wednesday(and has since he was 12), but who is also a movie fiend. I have a son who is an Eagle Scout, but who is also a hypercompetitive card player. He is such a nice blend of normal and weird. I couldn't have wished for anything better.
Our one fear of homeschooling an only child was that he would become too dependent on us. That has not proved to be the case. Zteen and I spent Monday night talking; until 2 in the morning talking! He is excited to start this next chapter of his life. I told him that it really was *his* life now--for better AND for worse. Not that his daddy and I won't be standing there ready to advise (and fund!), but we *won't* decide for him what to do, what to take, how hard to study, etc. Those days are done. I told him it's an exciting time for him. And that it can be a scary time, too.
One of the things that I told Zteen was that the weirdest thing for me when I started school and "my own life" was how things didn't just stand still back at home. It's hard to explain--but it seemed normal for me to be making my decisions and plans, but I never thought about the people back home going around and doing things that *I didn't know about* while I was gone! I saw them in some sort of suspended animation, I guess, just waiting for my return. It was odd when I found that they had gone places and done things that I never even knew about. Zteen nodded his head. "Yeah. There'll be times I come in from work or school and you and Dad will have gone out to eat, or to a movie or something, and I might not know what's up. That'll be weird." And it will be. For all of us for awhile.
So, this summer we are taking the last guaranteed Big Family Vacation. We can't really afford it, and if we were truly sensible, we'd probably save the money for college tuition. But it's our big, fun farewell to twelve years of a lifestyle that is radically changing.
Yee haw! And pass me that Kleenex to wipe my eyes with.