Stefan, Colin and I had a conversation last month that ended with a decision. Colin would stop going to school. He wasn’t happy in class, we didn’t see a match between Colin and the formal school environment, and we wanted him to have lots of time to explore interests without timelines. The plan: withdraw from school and indulge in violin, reading, aikido, nature class, random math when the interest strikes.
When he stopped going to school, the first thing Colin did was take off his shoes. The second thing he did was sleep in. Then he started playing his violin. And playing it some more, sometimes for four hours at a time.
Sometimes he walks casually up to Stefan’s guitar and plays Harry Potter riffs on it while it’s still upright in the stand. He pets the cats and folds the laundry, plays Minecraft and makes himself a snack. Right now we’re on the couch together – I’m writing while he watches Mythbusters.
Colin attends my Kid Connection radio show recordings. He sits in a booth with headphones on, absorbing everything my guests say. We go to the dog park with Nigel, both of them getting to know local canines who hang there. Colin spends time with his grandma, gardening, cooking and getting to know her more. He chills out with his dad. He was promoted to Junior class in his aikido dojo, and his sensei asked him to continuing attending Pre-junior classes as well to act as her assistant.
He and I went to the vet today to get our cat’s anal glands cleaned. They just don’t teach that in schools these days.
Frankly, we don’t care about curriculum. Stefan and I know that Colin will learn what he needs to learn, and he’ll pursue educational opportunities in his own time with coaching from us and from mentors and teachers in his life.
We’ve homeschooled before, so we have a connection with that community, but Colin isn’t missing friends and group activities. There are two homeschooled neighbors who are great friends, and Colin has six other friends here in Tierra Nueva cohousing. This isn’t a child missing connections with kids. He craves uninterrupted focus time.
I sound confident. I am not. Not a day goes by that I don’t think, “shit, are we going to regret this?” What if my child loses out on opportunities or isn’t prepared for some unknown future expectation?
But I remind myself that I trust the process, I value homeschooling, we’re not alone, this is not forever, and – most of all – I honor Colin. We know that, at least for now, this is what he needs. I am so grateful that our family has the flexibility to listen to our children’s preferences.