Thursday, May 4, 2017

Third year of education: That's a wrap!

As I sit here and write to you fine folks, I am also watching The Force Awakens for the 17th time, and fielding a constant flow of questions about the Star Wars universe. Because it is May the 4th. But more importantly, because we are DONE.
Star Wars pancakes. May the 4th be our last day of school! Woot!
Today went different than expected, but ONLY because I am a moron who is incapable of learning from past experience. Shoot, this whole WEEK went different than expected. My eldest had a fever. I had a migraine. And the middle two had very interesting and inexplicable pains in their stomach/heart/leg/head/ear/neck/chin. Which is to say, 2 of my kids are hypochondriac liars who haven't yet learned the actual symptoms of the flu, or at the very least how to run a thermometer under a little hot water. Nice try buttheads. Get back to work.
The Offsprings on the FIRST day of school
On top of that, I FULLY intended to test the kids this week. I mean, as much as I believe in our eclectic, book-centric, independence promoting, laissez-faire approach to education... sometimes I'm not sure I believe in our eclectic, book-centric, independence promoting, laissez-faire approach to education. See, the cool thing about having an education system is that it's a system. LIke, your kids are learning the same basic things at the same basic times as all the other kids in town. And I know that mine are, well, not. Sometimes they're learning it earlier. Sometimes they're learning later. Sometimes they're learning different things entirely. But are they learning enough? What is enough?? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???? 
The Offsprings on the LAST day of school

So yeah, I'm plagued by crippling self doubt and anxiety and the constant fear that I am failing everyone around me, first and foremost my own children. So I was gonna test them.

But then I didn't. Not because I had a change of heart. Not because I didn't have time. Because, as it turns out, I've spent a lot of time with these kids, and as I looked over those comprehensive tests, I knew exactly how each kid would do. I knew where they would soar, and where they would struggle. Which was enough information to tell me where we need to grow. So lucky them, they get to go another summer, another year, another whatever, without having their self-perception dictated to them by a particular letter of the alphabet. You are not an A. You are not an F. You are a Weirdo. Now go finish your chores and then play some more.

Sometimes it's tough to be the oldest.
Despite all my panic, I took a little stock today. They're growing up, these kids. They're getting bigger. They're becoming independent. And by the grace of God, they may even be getting smarter.
Certainly there are many days when I look at my kids growing up and I want to scream at them. STOP! Turn back! This is happening too fast! Be my baby again!  But today, today there is none of that. Certainly, I can see how much my kids have grown. Their chubby cheeked baby faces are being turned in for skinned knees and rolled eyes. They're not babies. They're kids. Soon to be young adults. And you know what? It's really fascinating.
Booyah kids. There is no escape.
So how do I feel then? Right now, the answer is probably proud. And excited. I'm proud of the tiny humans I made. I'm proud of the nice and generally thoughtful little people they're turning out to be. I'm proud of their senses of humor. That I can make fun of them and they think it is wonderful. I am proud that my six year old child, who could barely read Level 1 books a year ago is now barreling through chapter books. And I am incredibly excited to see what kind of people they turn out to be.

Sure, it'll be bad sometimes. And sure, this growing up is hard, because it means that every day, they're leaving us a little bit more. But growing up is also life. And life is something to celebrate.

Of course, juuuuuust in case, amid all my enthusiasm to appreciate the awesome people they are becoming, I somehow, someway, managed to forget to educate them, well then, here's the super great book bags I made them to fill with all their super great summer school materials!

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