It’s the first day of school.
Today yellow buses are rumbling through our neighborhood. You can hear their squeaky brakes and stiff doors open at each stop. Kids climb on the bus with their new school supplies and shiny backpacks, dressed in their khaki pants and polo shirts. They talk with friends they haven’t seen all summer, compare vacations, find their groove again.
My kids aren’t on the bus. The two girls are in their pajamas, playing games and planning their day. My son is still in bed after a late night at a downtown baseball game with his father. There isn’t a pencil case or school uniform in sight.
We are homeschoolers and we won’t start school for almost another month.
This will be our third year of homeschooling. I can say with complete honesty that our family loves it, despite the occasional day when I want to pull out all of my hair. It works with our family’s dynamic and I have watched my children thrive as I have taught them here at home.
I am the first to admit that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. One day it might not work for us either, and my children will ride on the school buses with the rest of the neighborhood children. But for now it’s a good fit.
Despite my confidence in the path we have chosen for our children, there are days (like today) when I wonder what it would be like if we had made a different decision. If we had chosen public school this year would my children be happier? My house cleaner? Our family stronger?
Every decision we make immediately cuts us off from a different choice, a different outcome. If you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you are not eating Captain Crunch cereal. If you wear your red shirt, you cannot wear your blue one.
If you homeschool your children, they cannot go to public school.
I truly am confident that we have made the best decision for our family. Honestly and promisedly. But today when we are so clearly out of step with the people around us, I wonder what it would be like if we had chosen differently. I wonder how our lives could have been.