(Not) homeschooling high school

Ever since my kids were wee little things, I’ve been asked how long we plan to homeschool. And, I wouldn’t really have a good answer because I wasn’t sure—would I be able to homeschool a 10th grader? Would I want to?

The options for homeschooling high school are as varied as they are for younger ages, but now those options seem to carry a lot more weight, especially with “college” looming on the horizon. My homeschooling friends are talking about transcripts and college courses and distance learning and how the heck are they going to do science labs in their kitchen.

So, when my now-eighth-grade daughter announced definitively that she wants to start public high school in the fall, I was a bit relieved. Sad, but relieved.

I’m sad because, damn, I’m going to miss her. I know the ages of 13 and 14 are supposed to be hell with teens, but I’ve really enjoyed this more mature person in our house who still tells me a lot about her friends and her life. I love how she sees the world and how she’s approaching this next chapter in her story. Oh sure, we still snip and snap at each other like I did with my mom, but she still comes in for a goodnight hug or wants to tell me some big long story about something she saw online.

I’m excited for her too. Our town’s high school has so much to offer, and over the years, she has made some good friends who can’t wait for her to join them.

And, yes, I’m a bit relieved that someone else will be there to talk her through Algebra I and World History II. But boy am I hoping that I gave her enough of a foundation to stand on when she’s in those college-prep classes.

But here’s the big question: Will it be weird if I walk her to the bus stop on that first day of school and cry as my baby boards a public school bus for the first time? I’ll wear sunglasses. And promise I won’t chase the bus down the street as it drives away.

Seeing eye to eye

You know what is really startling? The day your oldest child walks up to you and you realize that she is looking you straight in the eye and not gazing up at you like the big maternal figure you’ve always been to her.

Seeing Eye to Eye: Belly and Mom

On some days, it feels like a challenge. See me? I’m becoming your equal. I’m not your little girl anymore.

That’s mostly in my head, of course. She is still my little girl who needs my help, advice, and cash (of course) to get through the days. But, she often reminds me that she’s not a baby anymore through her words, actions, and the occasional disdainful headshake that let’s me know that I am so, so, so not cool.

But it’s an amazing thing to see the kids literally growing up (and up), having their own (strong) opinions, making their own decisions (good and bad), and just generally going from being little kids to teens.

I’m pretty okay with this. But the day I wake up and my other two are towering over me? I may need some time to myself that day to collect my thoughts.

Seeing Eye to Eye: All three kids