Tuesday, July 21, 2015

School Bus Time Approaches. I No Longer Feel the Same Way I Once Did.

Ah, that time of the year again . . . when I constantly bite my tongue when hearing other parents talk about not being able to wait until they can ship their kids back off to school.

I don't think it's as simple and clear as judging them as not missing their kids enough (I know many schooled parents who DO miss their kids during the day . . . and I also remember having that "can't wait for the schoolbus" feeling when my kids were in school, even though I did miss them).  I think there are multiple factors at play.

When you are accustomed to a routine-- get up, eat, meet the school bus on time, free time for the stay at home parent to do housework, errands, doc appointments, meet the schoolbus, afterschool activities, dinner, homework bed-- your life has a predictable feel to it that gets disrupted in the summer.  I think it is normal to feel antsy when your routine is disrupted, and to welcome that routine back, no matter the pitfalls.

Households with two working parents and young kids also face a dilemma in summer about how to ensure their kids are supervised properly, and that stress is relieved when school resumes.

Finally, in today's world, the notion of just letting your kids be bored sometimes instead of constantly entertained, in entertainments arranged by adults, is an odd one.  Many of today's parents feel pressured to make sure their kids are busy and productive.

I think when you are accustomed to having your kids cared for by someone else all day most days, you do start to think of taking that on for yourself as being harder than it actually is if doing so is just your normal routine.

But I admit I still feel sad when I hear it.  It comes across as sounding as if the parents really don't like their kids or spending time with them.  And I think the kids overhearing it can sometimes hear it that way too-- and kids overhear more than we usually realize.  I am happy now that I get to spend my days with my kids (over four years now, not to mention their pre-school days).  I am happy that our "routine" includes them being around, so it doesn't feel like a burden.  And I do think that parents who make spectacles of themselves at this first school bus pickup are pretty far gone-- that behavior sends a really bad message to the kids.

We are not better humans because we homeschool.  We are not superior to kids-in-school parents.  There are good and less-good parents in both camps.  But even knowing I once felt the same way, it's hard to hear parents celebrating handing their kids off to strangers, and that they don't know how to interact with their own children for more than a couple of days per week, or not trusting their kids to be okay if not being "organized" by someone.  It's just hard.  But I know it's complicated, and so I bite my tongue.  Then go hug my kids, and thank my lucky stars that homeschooling is an option for us.  It has definitely changed my outlook on life and family.

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. I think you're right in that it's complicated. And that a change in routine causes stress. And for kids who go to traditional school, summer challenges change with their ages. When they're little, working parents can send them to day camp, but between the middle school and driving (summer job) years, most don't need constant supervision but they do need to be occupied to stay out of trouble and prevent their brains from turning to mush. Most of my friends that "celebrate" their kids going back to school either do it with an air of humor, or maybe relief for the return of structure. I envy the consistency in your kids' lives (and yours). :)