I’ve just wrapped up the most strenuous phase of an important project: my childrens’ quarterly homeschool reports are drafted, and their attendance logs brought up to date.
It’s a large burden lifted from the beginning of my month – the reports are due by the 15th. I set the date, which is my right, but the reports themselves are legal requirements in my state. They’re a project that means little to me. I trust my childrens’ ability to learn what they need to live lives that matter to them; much of my time with them is spent in supporting that ability in every way I’m able, from casual conversation to major excursions and expenses.
But these reports are a necessity in order to lawfully homeschool in my state, so I do them four times yearly, with added letters of intent, instruction plans, and end-of-year reports and/or testing.
So, now that project is well underway. I’ll wait a day or two before I review them for errors (I have an intense dislike of making typos on homeschooling paperwork!) and submit them to our local school district.
And, with the drafting project complete, I’m able to make a projection: by the time he is sixteen years old, in early September, my son will have completed all state-required units of study, and have, in effect, “graduated,” even though that fact will change nothing about the way he chooses to learn, and our state does not grant diplomas to homeschool students.
I might create one for him, if he’s interested in having it. He could then legitimately say he has one, should he have the occasion to want it, and it would be a nice way to “formalize” this point in his life.
You might notice that I don’t call it an accomplishment or a milestone. That’s because it isn’t, for him. He’s never lived within the mainstream educational system, and he’s never been particularly interested in what our state requires of him. When I tell him he’ll have to test this year, or that certain things are required, he does them because they’re the cost of living his life on his own terms, and he’s mature enough to understand that resisting simply wastes time and energy he could be using to do what needs to be done, so that he can go back to doing what he wants to do.
And what does he want to do, this sometimes-goofy-big-kid, sometimes-breathtakingly-near-to-being-a-man person who lives at my house? Well, the “experts” in the educational system spend a good deal of time projecting images of what might happen if children are left to their own devises, without teaching and limitations to steer them on the way to adulthood. There’s also a great concern about “screen time” and how devastating that is, and a general sense that young people today are entering their adult lives later than ever, and poorly prepared for the challenges they contain.
Well, in recent months, he’s researched the legal requirements for starting a small business, emigrating to Canada (to my Canadian friends – you’d be fortunate if he ultimately decides on that course of action; he’s quite a guy, and funny, too!), various laws in our nation and others, slang from the last several decades, and more. He’s chosen to tour Fort Ticonderoga, the Albany Institute of History and Art, where we watched a documentary on Alexander Hamilton’s Albany connections; and to a local theater to see the film version of George Takei’s Allegiance: A New Musical, regarding the internment of 120,000 Japanese-American men, women, and children in the wake of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
In an effort to better manage his personal finances (something he shows marked talent with), he’s created a ledger, and begun to investigate the costs of various aspects of adult life.
He’s also become much more helpful around the house; he frequently cooks simple fare, and has become far more thoughtful and conscious of where he can step in and make life a little better for others. Now that he’s nearly a head taller than me, he’s very willing to help with some of the heavy lifting and toting, which is greatly appreciated.