Andy returns to work tomorrow. He’s a primary school teacher.
“This is Dad’s last day of holiday,” I say to the girls.
They are quiet for a moment, and then it suddenly dawns on them. “You mean the new school term starts tomorrow?” says Sophie, a smile appearing on her face.
I nod, and Gemma-Rose shouts, “Hooray! You can read to us again.”
“Well…” I begin. “I didn’t say our term begins tomorrow.” The smiles disappear.
“But there’s so much we want to do,” says Sophie.
“You don’t have to wait for me,” I say. “You’re good at learning things by yourselves.”
“I know but what about reading? We like you reading to us… and everything’s much more fun when we do things together.”
Sophie presents me with a list…
Things I want to do:
- Watch Space Odyssey,
Voyage to the Planets. Read the book too and play around on the website.
- Learn all about planets and space.
- Read A Little Bush
- Learn about New Zealand.
- Learn about the Second World War.
- Learn about Australian birds.
- Watch more Gilbert and Sullivan musicals
- Learn poetry.
- Read Little Women.
- Learn more about maths.
- Learn about water.
- Learn to play the organ.
It looks like my lazy days are over. I need to think about how I can help the girls learn all they want to know. Maybe I should take a walk around the house looking for appropriate resources. Perhaps I can make another half an hour ‘plan’ for next term.
I love Sophie’s and Gemma-Rose’s enthusiasm. I love how they are impatient to acquire more knowledge. After a long relaxing summer, they can’t wait until we return to our usual school term routine.
When I was a child, I also looked forward to the start of the new school year. I was eager to wear my new uniform, meet up again with my friends, find out who my new teacher was… A few days later, all that enthusiasm would seep away. It was business as usual… back to the grind. I tried looking ahead to the next summer holiday, but all I could see was week after week of tedious work. I sighed.
I can also remember, years ago, sighing as a homeschooling mother. I’d start the year off with great anticipation, armed with new resources and ideas, and then a few weeks into the term, my enthusiasm would die. Teaching my children no longer seemed like an exciting adventure. It was just one long hard struggle. But that was in the days when we weren’t unschooling.
My girls won’t be sighing in a few days’ time, or even a few weeks’ time. I’m sure they’ll still be bouncing around full of the joy of learning. Their enthusiasm won’t have disappeared. I hope mine won’t have either. And I am very grateful for this. I am very glad we found our way to unschooling.
Sophie appears again, a book in her hand. “This looks interesting,” she says. “Perhaps I can add this to my list of things I want to do.”
I read the title: Aircraft of Australia and New Zealand. “Aviation… Amelia Earhart, Charles Kingsford Smith, The Wright Brothers…” I pause as I try to remember more.
“Can you spell those names?” asks Sophie. “I’ll go and look them up.”
The new unschooling year has begun.