It’s that time again. September.
Across social media there are pictures upon pictures of smart, pressed uniforms. Polished new shoes waiting to be worn. Children excited/nervous/anxious at what the year will bring. New teachers, new classrooms. A whole year older.
Children who look so small and vulnerable, yet at the same time so grown up as they head off for their first days.
Parents nationwide have mixed feelings. Pride, anxiety, excitement, joy and that hint of sadness perhaps at yet another milestone reached and passed in our children’s growing years. It is a huge big deal!
My four year old would have been starting reception, and I’ve seen the photos of lots of our friends in their uniforms. As a home ed mum, I haven’t had that experience with him. Perhaps our first “missing out”. No uniform, no smart shoes, no waving him off with a kiss on the cheek and a tear in my eye while he carries a back pack nearly as big as himself into a strange new building.
Nope. For him, everything remained the same. He played reading eggs at his own request to play his game. He prepared his own lunch of crumpet pizzas with his sister help. He watched some telly, he played with friends (well, the teenagers had friends round and they all played together).
Does it feel strange? Yes, just like when my 13 yr olds year group transitioned into secondary school without him. Or when my 16 yr olds year group were enjoying their proms and their “study leave”. Yes, we are missing those.
Do I feel like we are missing out? It’s a tough one. On those specific things, They are definately experiences that my children won’t have. So a very simple answer is Yes, they are missing out. I guess a more appropriate question is, are we sad about it?
Because there was so much that we did experience within the mainstream school system that I am deeply sorry for. Things that I truly wish that my children never had to experience, and I missed out so many of their special moments and their firsts over the years when my older children were in school. It simply doesn’t make up for those amazing, proud moments of seeing them in a clean pressed uniform. Because the days when they came home in pieces can’t be covered up with shoe polish and a smile. The tears can’t be wiped clean with a smart shiney blazer or a fancy prom dress and the anxiety can’t be fixed with a new set of stationery. So no, I’m not sad about missing out on a few occassions. On a big “back to school” photos.
I want to do something momentous. I want to mark this huge occasion that four yr old has reached the age where I need to include him on my reports to the Local authority.
But nothing I can think of translates into a photo. The Pride, the joy, the adventure, the amazement, the excitement. Because we are a home ed family. And for us, for him, everything will carry on. And it is a huge big deal!