9.01.2015

Not-Back-to-School Day Fun

My family and I utilize our own version of a year-round academic schedule. One reason - among many others - is to demonstrate by our example that there is nothing "magical," special, or even necessarily good about the typical institutional school calendar. In fact, what everyone thinks of as "the school year" - the government school norm that is blindly followed by most private schools and even a sizable portion of home-educating families - is really just another example of the Pot Roast Story gone awry, and I've realized there's no reason to cut the ends off my family's lifestyle just because "everyone else" does.

Part of our family calendar involves starting a "new year" on January 1, not in September. Another aspect of the schedule that works for us is using a 6/1 format (i.e., studying for six weeks and then taking off for one). And, finally, we take a longer break in July and another in December but we do academics through June and August. Thus, we've been "back at it" - still making whatever time we wanted for summer fun - since August 3.

So we did our normal bookwork yesterday, and we'll do it again tomorrow. But we didn't do any today.

Instead, we enjoyed our freedom to live outside the system's box by purposely not making today - the first day back for all the government-school kids in my state - our "first day of school"  and by purposely not doing any academic work.

We've taken this quiet stand on the system's first day for several years running. At times, we've simply had a playdate or gone on a small field trip with friends. Other years, I organized a not-back-to-school picnic for anyone in my local association who cared to join us. This year I decided it would be a private affair - for just my girls and me.

We started out with what has become a solid tradition: breakfast at IHOP...arriving only after the morning school bells have rung. Then we went fall/winter (i.e., not-back-to-school) clothes shopping, with the girls choosing a visit to Goodwill in lieu of a "regular" store so they could stretch the budget I'd given them - and each came away with at least 10 items for the price of only one or two things elsewhere. We did visit two regular stores as well, and they had fun being silly before I surprised them by saying I'd buy them each one item of clothing beyond the budget amount. And then after a quick, diversionary jaunt to Hobby Lobby, I surprised them again by heading over to a matinee showing of Inside Out, where we munched on popcorn for lunch and were three of only six people at what amounted to a "private screening." Finally, we surprised my husband by going out to our favorite local place for dinner in celebration of the fact that our evenings are ours (i.e., not subject to homework).

We don't take our homeschooling freedom for granted; we realize it came at a heavy price for those who served as modern pioneers in our state. And it's actually for that reason that we choose to actively demonstrate whenever we can that we are free - i.e., not bound by the constraints of the institutional system. Actively participating in not-back-to-school fun is part of the plan in that regard...and a blessing to our family as well.

*****



1 comment:

Queen Bee said...

I love following you on Facebook and appreciate all the hard work you do on the Homeschool Roadmap! I especially love your rebel nature against the "traditional" classroom. Keep it up!!

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