That Time of Year Again

You can’t miss it. “Back to School” ads. “School Clothes” shopping. Even conversations among complete strangers who run into each other at the grocery store, eagerly anticipating their child being away from them soon. It’s August, and there’s so much excitement surrounding the kids starting their new school year.

For homeschooled children, this can often leave them feeling a little left out. They’ve forgotten the horror stories the kids told them of their school year last April or May. For some reason, by August, the slate is wiped clean and most of them sound pretty eager to head back to their schools. Or at least that’s what the marketing would have you believe.

Over the years, magazine articles, and now blogs, give great suggestions to help combat this:

  • Find a Not-Back-To-School Party hosted by a local homeschool group
  • Go out to breakfast (brunch in our case) on the day the school kids go back
  • Sleep in that day
  • Host a mid-day potluck for your homeschooling family friends
  • Let your kids have a slumber party – on a “school night!” :::gasp:::
  • Make a week or two of great day-trip excursions that your kids would enjoy – children’s museums, nature centers, amusement parks (think of how short all the lines will be!)
  • Head to the beach or camping – the places will be cleared out and you can avoid the hype altogether!

But what if you, as the mom or dad, are a little wistful about all this Back to School stuff?  Sure, you know in your head that homeschooling is a better way. Still, something nags at you. It’s called American Marketing! And it’s been working on you every August since you can remember.  So when all of society is pushing one way, and you’re swimming the opposite way, you might need to bolster yourself up a little bit.

You should pull a few things to the front of your mind:

  • Jot down all the reasons you chose to homeschool your child. You might even keep this in a journal so you can add more reasons that come up as time progresses.
  • You will be able to protect your child’s love of learning – finding amusing opportunities and fun experiences
  • Your child will avoid one of school’s big lessons: intellectual and social conformity
  • Your child will be able to develop at their natural pace and have a truly individualized approach for learning
  • Your child will have far less peer pressure
  • Your child will be able to truly learn what’s before him, instead of just remembering and repeating
  • Your child will be able to avoid the constant test prepping that happens in schools
  • Your child will be able LIVE in the world, instead of just read about it
  • Your relationship with your child can be so much deeper and richer because of the experiences you are going to have together!

These are just a few ideas that come to mind for many homeschooling families. I’m sure you’ll be able to create a list of your own!

Just remember, all the Back-to-School hype will end after Labor Day, so why not try to celebrate your family during these few weeks of chaos. Remind yourself and help your children to see that your family has an exciting year ahead too! Maybe the last couple weeks of August can be full of new traditions for your family. Go ahead and ride this wave of enthusiasm that we’re being bombarded with. Harness it and let it be a celebration of your family’s freedom to choose home education!

And, when you run into that mom who says, with her child beside her, “I can’t wait! One more week until school starts!” You will be able to just look at her and say, “I know! We’re so excited!” My best advice is to move away quickly at that point. She won’t really know how to respond and all YOUR child needs to hear is that the road ahead for them looks GREAT!

Originally written for Linda Dobson’s August 31, 2012, PATH Newsletter, , which she retitled it (I’m terrible with titles!) Tips to Help Your Homeschooled Child through the Back to School Hype.

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