Saturday, May 08, 2010

WPA Conference

The statewide homeschool conference is today. It used to be a given that we'd be there. We saw friends. We collected ideas. We were energized in our decision to homeschool. We led workshops. We purchased goodies from the curriculum fair. It was a highlight of our year for nearly twenty years.

This is the fourth year in a row we have been unable to go. That constitutes a huge change in my life.

Not only that, but I am not as distraught over missing this conference as it seems I would expect. When I see the cool workshops, I know those ideas are for bygone days -- just like when I see awesome baby toys or puzzles or dollies that nobody in my house is interested in. In these waning years of homeschooling, wonderful new school ideas are more burdensome than stimulating.

As we approach the end of our homeschooling years, I find that there is less joy in it. When the older kids were finishing up their high school years, there were always younger ones around who still had time to pursue their passions, read and discuss books and music and ideas. There was still lots of self-motivated learning that grabbed our attention. That provided balance to the family. Nowadays, it seems like we're just trying to jump through others' hoops, whatever hoops may be necessary for college and career and jobs. Our homeschooling efforts now are focused on making the kids acceptable to the outside world. That takes so much of the joy out of homeschooling; we are no longer learning for the sake of taking pleasure in learning. Now we do what "they" expect us to do. And that is like a monstrous vacuum cleaner, sucking delight out of our school days. Almost like a dementor.

And just think: that's how most students spend almost all their school years, doing what they must to keep Somebody happy, seldom experiencing the thrills of learning for learning's sake.


  1. I'm working on a blog post that references some counter-cultural ideas on higher education. I hope that some of those ideas are feasible as Sparkle approaches the college years.

    On the other hand, if she should chose something more conventional, we'll be in the same spot as you are: hoop-jumping! Argh!

  2. Boy, can I relate to this post!!!I still have homeschool materials in the garage that I will be sending to some black hole because my hubby wants his garage...after 7 years in this house...

  3. I can relate too. I have not enjoyed it at all the last year. Hanna and I are having more fun just talking and being close. She studies on her own, and I am really just here doing not much except the college hoop thing. I really miss the younger dsys. But, alas, a new season is beginning. Time marches on.