I had a fleeting moment of guilt. Guilt that we should be having so much fun on a Monday night. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we allow guilt in where is has no place? It takes up residence in a little corner of our heart and begins to gnaw away.
Are we having too much fun?
Shouldn’t the girls be tucked in bed hours ago?
All the neighbors houses are dark, their children are tucked in ready for school in the morning.
We are just winding down our day.
Why should that make me feel guilty in any way?
Even on our third year, the school vs. homeschool guilt can creep in. When we were passing a catholic school in town, on our way home from somewhere fabulous, we saw the children lined up outside listening to their teacher. Grace said she felt guilty that kids were in school when we were having so much fun with our learning. I reminded her that lots of kids have fun in school. It is not a bad place to be. Our learning looks much different because we have made a different choice. Guilt should not be a part of that choice.
Guilt creeps in when it is 7:00am and I hear the school bus rumble by outside my window. Or at 7:30 when I hear my next door neighbor take his 6 and 8 year old children to school and we.are.still.in.bed. Or at 8:30, when the neighborhood kids begin their walk down the hill to the neighborhood school that my girls once attended. We are out of bed at this point, but usually having breakfast or sitting on the couch reading. Our day has a much different beginning than it did a few years ago and I love it. Actually....I don’t feel much guilt about this part of our life. I revel in the fact that our day can start any time we want and unless it is a co-op day, we don’t have to rush to be anywhere before 10:00am.
If we were given the ability at a young age to create the life we wanted, would we have taken the chance? Would we have embraced the opportunity and set about seeking realizations to our goals or would we have been too afraid to take that leap of faith and trust in our own not-yet-fully-developed abilities? When I was nine or ten or eleven, if I suddenly was given the change to pursue my own interests my day would have looked very different than my day in school. I would have read all the time. My knowledge would come from my intense desire to read everything and anything I could get my hands on. I wonder where that would have led me? If I could have gone to the library at any time, visited with my Aunt and Grandmother at any time, spent hours exploring the park next to my house, rode my bike at will.....I can’t really imagine fully what that would have been like.
My Mom would have been a great homeschooling Mom (even though she would roll her eyes at the thought!). She let us explore the park on our own for hours. She bought me every book I ever wanted. I had lots of artistic freedom. I remember using my wood burning kit unsupervised, my spiral marker art, my pom pom maker, my sewing machine, my ribbons for super cute barrettes. My Mom would let us have free reign of the kitchen to muck about with flour, eggs and vanilla creating our own cookie recipes. I learned to play the piano. I took ballet. She dropped me off at the Girl’s Club (a place that we should have in every community) where I learned pottery and how to sew. I walked with my friends along a very busy city street to Friendly’s, to spend the money in my pocket on ice cream with my three best friends. These were all things I did, in a city, before I was twelve years old.
When I push aside the guilt I sometimes feel at giving my children the opportunity to live a life of their own making (like when they bake all morning together, at the expense of doing math), I can marvel in the wonder of the lives they are creating.
- They have chosen amazing friends who are unique and capable and confident.
- They have set schedules that work for their bodies and their learning styles. Grace may do math at 8:30 am while she is eating breakfast and Lilah may be found writing a comic strip at 10:00pm when her creative energy is at it’s peak.
- They can explore what interests them the most. For Grace is still weather. For Lilah, it can be insects one day, cooking the next.
- They can choose classes outside of our home that build on those interests.
- They can read and read and read and no one is telling them to put the book down and do something else.
- They can learn about life, while living an authentic life.
Guilt be gone. You have no place in this journey. If we choose to have a dinner with friends that involves wine and dessert and laughter and joy, and that dinner goes until 10:00pm on a Monday evening, who says fun can only be had on a Friday? This is our journey. We make the rules. We set the goals. We pick and choose. We can have fun along the way. Each and every day.
I will not feel guilty about that.