Friday, August 30, 2013

a big decision

this is not a casual announcement.  it isn't about a casual decision.  it has been carefully considered, debated, weighed and measured, pondered, fretted over, dreamed about.

diana is attending public school this year.

this will take some of you by surprise.  "what?  i thought you were homeschoolers!  how did this happen?"

this was entirely diana's decision, and we fully support her in making it and following through with it.

she'd actually been thinking about this for quite a while, even before we moved to virginia.  the desire to "try it out" solidified for her over the summer.  she'd shared her early thoughts with only a select few people, concerned that she would be ostracized by some in the homeschooling community or teased by public-school families.  though a little tentative to tell some people we recently met here, she took the plunge and was met with a pleasant disinterest; the girls just wanted to make sure they'd still be friends, regardless of the style or location of their education.  what a refreshing attitude!

so, why? why here? why now?
  • many people attend public school at some point.  she wants to try it for herself, to experience it firsthand.  an important benefit of this, she noted, is that she'll be able to incorporate a voice of experience into her writing.
  • she's heard and read about how other kids "hate" school.  she just doesn't understand how it could be as bad as so many people make it out to be.  it's supposed to be an institution of learning, and she has clearly established she loves learning.  so, naturally, being the skeptical, questioning scientist and philosopher she is, she wants to find out on her own.
  • she has not heard, at least from us, that everything about public school is bad.  she is excited about the potential to meet and work with new teachers, establish friendships amongst students her age with whom she can share common interests and experiences, and study subjects from a different perspective.
  • the school really is a neighborhood one.  it's within easy walking distance; many of the public-schooled kids walk in groups to and from there on a daily basis.  diana already made friends, through science camp and going to the pool, with other students in the same grade, and they have shared in her excitement about spending more time together at school.
  • the timing is right.  the recent move here gave her the impetus she needed to dive right in.  we were making a clean, new start in a new place with new people.  at this point in her life, she has the self-confidence, maturity, energy, and desire to approach this experience with courage and commitment.  she has the determination to make the school the better for her being there, and i believe she will be successful in doing so.
she's got a new backpack, a new haircut, and plenty of super school supplies she loved shopping for, including a never-ending supply of freshly-sharpened no. 2 pencils that are "lucky", according to her.  she has plans for the mini-muffins and cookies she wants to bake with me to tuck into her lunches.  she met her new teacher at the school open house and, after a few minutes, stated to me that the woman presented herself as someone who would make a very good friend.

this haircut was all her idea, too. she'd had her hair long for so long, i wondered if and when it would happen. she loves how it looks and feels, and she thinks she looks good. that's all i needed to know.

does diana has any misgivings?  sure.  she worries that she won't be able to keep track of all her belongings or will be late in arriving to where she needs to be.  she's concerned that she may use up all of her "social energy" by being with people for such an extended period of time, but she's already made a plan on how to recharge each day.  she's somewhat disappointed, after reviewing the subject outlines of material she will be studying in 5th grade, to see that we have explored nearly everything on the list already in some fashion, but she is enthusiastic about reinforcing what she knows through different approaches. she believes she will find plenty of new things to learn.

so what does that mean for me?  well, for the time being, i am released from one of my current occupations as diana's primary homeschool teacher.  how that manifests is yet to be seen, but i'll let you know how it goes . . .

one thing for certain, i am still happyer at home.  this blog will continue.  there are so many things for me to write, and i will have more time to spend on my writing, among my other project work.  especially for those of you who are curious as to what a transition into public-schooling from homeschooling is like, i'll have special topics* to report on for you.

forget about welcome back to school.  it's welcome to school, at least for this young lady.

* at more than one point along the way, i felt a pang of fear that my dear daughter, my precious child, was asking to attend school because something in her homeschool experience was severely lacking, that she was trying to get out of it, that i had not done enough to make it a worthwhile experience.  she assuaged my concerns most reassuringly, telling me that she was "not running away from" me or homeschooling, but, instead "running towards" something new with enthusiasm and curiosity.  she refuses to avoid public school out of fear, and wants to embrace it for the potential it holds.  i'd like to think that was one of the lessons she learned through our homeschooling experience.


  1. hope it’s a wonderful experience, diana! :)

  2. Hi Dawn, As a parent who has one in school, one at home, and one at part-time nursery, I can really relate to your post. I really admire that you are 'going with it' and hope that Diana enjoys her school experience. She is so fortunate to have a mother who listens to her and will take her feelings and experiences seriously. Ilook forward to hearing how things develop-- for you and for her.

  3. Big decisions are exciting and scary. I bet her confidence and love of learning from her homeschooling days will help her no matter what type of educational situation she decides to try. Hope it is a great experience for the whole family.