Thursday, September 06, 2007

Long Overdue Photographs

After a lifetime of homeschooling, drinking tea and eating homemade cookies, mornings of snuggling on my lap, countless wrestling matches with the dog, and not a single homework assignment ever, Daniel decided it was time to liberate himself from the laid-back, love-fest that was our home-based Silvermine Academy and enslave himself to the rigors and requirements of Charlotte Christian School. So, on the morning of August 20th, he donned his collared shirt, denim shorts, pristine white sneakers, and newly minted LLBean backpack complete with his last name embroidered on it (not by his mother, mind you, but by the factory!), and set out on the long, hard road of "traditional school." As the photo clearly depicts, he was broken hearted by the prospect. As was his older sister - the one who made the decision to stay home with her mother and continue down the road towards a homegrown education alongside her adoring dog and loving mother.

For some reason, I felt compelled to make him turn and face the garage door so that I could get a shot of his backpack rather than his face. Being the obedient son that he (sometimes) is, he obliged my request. Cute bag, isn't it? Cute kids, too.

Minutes later, we piled into Steve's car, drove my dearly beloved son to school, took one last look at his locker (I actually took photos of the inside of his locker! I'm such a newbie at this school thing... everything is still worthy of digital documentation), and turned to walk away, leaving him behind in that dungeon of danger and despair. As I dragged myself away, one question wound its way through the endless folds of my seething brain: "What kind of heartless and thoughtless mother am I after all?"

Unable to bear the very likely possibility that I would never see him whole, unscarred, and joyful again, I turned back and snapped one more shot of my recently abandoned offspring. This next photo was taken less than one minute after I bid him farewell.

Okay - I guess I overreacted a little bit. This is one social kid! Just after taking the photo, I was silently reprimanded by him - with that "You'd better not come back over here and hug me again" look. It was my turn to oblige his request. Inwardly, I wept. A few minutes later, I wept outwardly as well.

Private school is no joke. On his very first day of school, Daniel came home with several homework assigments to complete. Eager to please, eager to get it over with, eager to get outside and play with his friends, Daniel dove in immediately. Nice!

Moments later, I asked him what he thought of his first day of school and the homework assignments. I couldn't have expressed it any better.

I still miss having him here at home with me during the day. But if the frequency of phone calls and text messages is any indication, if the number of invitations to sporting events and playdates is any indication, if the number of times that he asks to be allowed to stay after school and hang out with other students mean anything at all, he is adjusting just fine. So much for the criticism that homeschoolers are not able to interact comfortably with their peers. This boy busts all those stereotypes.

How is he adjusting academically? That part doesn't matter to him nearly as much as not being known as a geek because he's in pre-Alegebra or because he actually obeys the teachers when they ask the students not to talk in class. However, the academic part matters to me and to his father a great deal - and I am happy to report that his lowest reported grade on tests and quizzes so far is an 85. His highest is a 100. Yeah, Daniel! (I include the word "reported" because I imagine that I will find a crumbled paper in the bottom of that fancy backpack someday with a lower grade, an unreported lower grade... Rumor has it that sometimes students don't tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.)

Tomorrow will be the last day of his third week of school.
All is well. All is well.
Thanks be to God.

1 comment:

Goddess of Leonie said...

oh darlin gail...
my gosh those beautiful children of yours are growing up (and growing even more beautiful) if that is possible...
blessings on all your journeys...
with love and light,