Saturday, May 06, 2006

Learning to Live with the Virus

Empty nester?

Former homeschooling mom?

Homeschooling parent alumna?

It's been a few years since I've really thought about my status as a homeschooling parent. Since my daughters became teens, we've focused more on their specific interests and have been less involved than we used to be with the homeschooling community, whether the local group or the larger state and national organizations we've worked (and played) with in the earlier years. Their theater and competitive fencing have been fairly absorbing activities and haven't left me time to think much about my own role as a homeschooling parent until recently.

But now that my younger daughter is making arrangements for her college orientation and dorm housing, the fact that within only a few months I will no longer have a homeschooled child around has got me thinking again about the ways we've learned all these years and about the effects our homeschooling life has had, not just on the girls, but on all of us. I've always thought of homeschooling as an insidious, infectious activity, and often joked at homeschooling conferences about how easily parents can be affected by the contagion--homeschooling's a kind of cultural virus that changes, perhaps permanently, the ways we deal with the world.

Considering how I will spend my time and energy once Christie leaves for school, I've found the idea of working at a conventional job somewhat daunting. It's not that I don't want to work--it's that I've been spoiled. Before the girls were born, I'd been a teacher, and I'd worked retail, selling books and then computers, but once the girls were born, I've worked only part-time or intermittently (with commensurate income), mostly from home, as a writer, as a homeschooling activist, and as a fencing official. For the most part, I've been able to choose how I spend my time and how much time and energy to devote to each activity I've undertaken. Naturally enough, I'm reluctant to give that up, and our homeschooling life accounts for a great deal of that ornery independence, and almost all of my faith that I can figure out a way to avoid falling into that retail rut again.

I think I've got a plan . . .

3 comments:

Beverly Hernandez said...

Hi Mary Griffith,

I just wanted to say hi and leave your first comment. All my kids are grown now too. My youngest just got married. I have 4 grandkids. I will always be a homeschooler. I guess I'm a retired homeschooler, but I'm always helping somebody with something. I do help with my 4 grandkids a lot and stay involved running my website and going on field trips with the grandkids. It's a good life.

Just rambling,
Beverly

Mary Griffith said...

Thanks, Beverly! I'm tickled to have a first comment so quickly. I hope you'll be back when there's more of what I'd like to make happen here going on.--Mary

Joanne said...

Hello Mary,
I'm looking forward to reading your new blog. I'll be sure to post the link on my blog.
I have the Unschooling Handbook on my bookshelf and I recommend it to others.
Joanne
A Day in Our Lives