Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | March 21, 2016

No Going Back

When we first decided to homeschool, my big girl’s beloved kindergarten teacher said something to the effect of – “You may homeschool for a year or two, but I just can’t see you homeschooling forever, Tracy”.  I took the comment in stride on the outside, but her comment stung.  Why did she think that?  Had my mother somehow managed to get a message (from the other side) to the kindergarten teacher regarding my selfishness?

In hindsight, I probably read way too much into her comment.  I suspect that the teacher had visions of me planning two beautiful Waldorf main lesson each night.  Teaching perfect individualized, Steiner-approved lessons to the girls each morning.  This is actually most people’s vision of homeschooling:  mom creates a little school-at-home (usually at the kitchen or dining room table).  And I suspect that if we’d gone the school-at-home path that the teacher would have been right; I probably would have lasted only one, maybe two years playing the role of both Waldorf teacher and mom.

But, anyway…luckily we are slow homeschoolers (or unschoolers, if you prefer that term!).  And so, fast forward three years from that conversation with the kindergarten teacher and it turns out that she was wrong.  I still am happily, joyfully homeschooling my children.  And let’s be clear here:  there’s no going back.  We could never give up our freedom.  We could never rejoin the mainstream (school) culture, not when we’ve tasted the good life.

The girls and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) today.  And the whole time, I kept thinking, “Why would anyone go to school?”.  “How could anyone who’s so much as heard about homeschooling not try it?”  Before we began homeschooling, I read the book Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything (in which the author pretty much describes the life that we now lead) and the whole time I kept thinking, “c’mon, is this really possible?”.  I wasn’t even particularly confident that it was possible…but it just sounded so wonderful (so much better than the hell that we were living when my older daughter went to school) that I knew we just had to try it!  And every single day, I am grateful for that book.  Grateful to the universe for connecting me with just the right people to encourage me to take the plunge.  Grateful for my husband’s faith in my judgement.  Grateful that we tried homeschooling.  Because it turns out that, as Weldon’s book title claims, homeschooling really does change everything.

And so, here is our great day at the MFA in photos.

mfa1 mfa2 mfa3 mfa4

And if the photos aren’t enough to convince you how great homeschooling can be, let me whisper some of the day’s magical logistics to you…

We left our house at 11:40 and got to the museum at 12 noon.  TWENTY MINUTES from Arlington to the MFA (unbelievable!).  Because it was noon (when no one else is at the museum), there were multiple spots at meters.  I paid $3.75 to park.  Three dollars and seventy five cents to park just outside the museum (unheard of!).  We stayed at the museum for about 2.5 hours.  We pulled out of our rock star parking spot at 2:40 and into our driveway at 3pm.  Our trip to the MFA today is just one little example of the miraculous experiences that homeschoolers enjoy every.single.day.

I’m sorry.  I just cannot help but be evangelical.  TODAY WAS A GREAT DAY TO BE A HOMESCHOOLER!  The truth is, everyday is a great day to be a homeschooler.  I think that may be my new tag line!!

Love, Tracy

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