At one of the first parent support groups, one of the things the experienced parents talked about was giving Katie time to “de-program” from her experiences at public school. I had no idea what they meant but I listened and watched because I figured they knew what they were talking about.

Turns out, they were right!

I have noticed a few things that are different now that we are homeschooling. I am interested to know if you experienced similar things and what else I might expect…

#1: A License to Learn
Before, school was where most learning occurred. We did things outside of school – maybe the best thing was Girl Scouts as a Juliette (not in a troop, on our own, I always called it home school Scouting). Scouts offers us amazing field trips and I would wrap learning around those events and earning badges. Great stuff. But now, Katie is all about the learning. From her bed she’ll yell out – can we do some home school around Halloween? Or Thanksgiving? You bet! Now every day is an adventure and she sees the opportunity. It’s amazing.

#2: Her Inner Spaz is Free
The barn door is open and the uninhibited spaz has charged out! For me, the difference between now and then is all about Katie’s willingness to unabashedly try new things. Or be weird – like performing, singing, becoming a character. Oh yeah, she always had this in her, but public school didn’t give her much time to channel her inner spaz – between homework, classroom time, peer pressure. But at home school, it’s all about being yourself. And I have watched her come back out of her cocoon and exhibit pure joy about just being. It’s great and contagious (it doesn’t take much for my inner spaz to come out!).

#3: Living the New Life: Conventionally Unconventional
Okay – we are still hopelessly ordinary. We take care of our four chickens (who have an abnormal run of the entire backyard), we work tirelessly at training our hamster and we cuddle with our two cats. We go to bed by 10pm and get up early to take advantage of the day. But I do feel like we are now unconventional as well. We cook more because we aren’t on a killer schedule. We run errands together because we can (I can take advantage of natural breaks in my work day). And we generally will do fun things at strange times because our time now belongs to us. And we have adapted “school time” to those hours of the day when Katie learns better, instead of the bleary-eyed, 8am zombie walk into a classroom.

#4: Letting Go of Expectations
Finally, I don’t think Katie feels like she’s missing out anymore. Now that things are rolling and we have our own unconventional routine, there’s an ease with which we are living. And she’s finally managed to work her friends in and she’s making more friends in the home school program. She’s also playing on her own in a way that I can only think is tremendously healthy. Good, complex games that require lots of planning and execution. I think she’s finally let go of her expectations of “what is supposed to be” and has finally embraced “what is.”

And it’s all good.