With the school year ending, it’s time for me to hang up one of my hats – for good. For the past year and a half, I have been homeschooling Nigel, and in September he will attend the high school for a full day, so I will no longer be his academic teacher. When he started back at the middle school in March, it was only part-time, so I continued to homeschool him for language arts and social science. He made some amazing progress in those areas, writing a total of five essays, including a comparative analysis of Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. His case manager at the middle school was so impressed that she took a copy of that essay to give to his future teachers at the high school. I’ll have to make sure they realize how much of an effort it was for him to complete that; it took him weeks to write it. They need to be aware of that before they expect him to produce more work – or at a faster pace – than he is capable of doing.
At any rate, come September my academic responsibility will be limited to helping him with assignments and encouraging his organizational skills. I will no longer be designing his curriculum, preparing lesson plans, or teaching the material. It was doable in middle school, even though it took me a while to get used to the idea, but I don’t think I could do it for high school. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly intelligent, but there’s a lot of high school knowledge that I would need to relearn in order to teach it to my son. It would take quite a bit of effort and time, and as a single parent of two, I’m in short supply of those items. I also had to radically reduce my work hours so that I could homeschool Nigel for the amount of time that I did; as a result, my bank account is in sorry shape. So continuing to homeschool is really not an option, and I’m glad that Nigel no longer needs it. We’re both looking forward to his return to full-time regular school, for many reasons.
But there’s something else that happens at the end of every school year, and has for the past eight years: Nigel and Aidan go visit their dad in Los Angeles for several weeks. LA is nearly 700 miles away from us; it’s a long drive. And another world away. They get a taste of big-city life, get to bodysurf on warm beaches, and Nigel gets to go to the day camp for autistic kids. These are all things they get to do that they can’t do at home in southern Oregon, and I am glad that they have the opportunity. I’m also glad they get to spend time with their dad, whom they miss so much during the school year. But I miss them while they’re gone every summer. It’s just consuming, this missing. It’s not like when they’re gone for a week at Spring Break. One week is nothing. But seven, eight, is a daunting expanse that cannot be filled. Maybe I’m being melodramatic – I mean, after all, we go through this every year. But it never gets easier. I walk down the hall and see their empty rooms. I can’t watch a movie or eat ice cream without thinking of them and missing them. True, I’m keeping busy, especially since I’m back at work full-time, thanks to my wonderful employers. Life is full and good, but there’s this void with the boys gone. It doesn’t feel natural. I feel disjointed without them. And I’ve got a long summer ahead of me.
Since it’s impossible for me to go more than a month without seeing them, I’ll be visiting them next month, so that will break up the time, make it a little more bearable. For a while now, Nigel’s been requesting to go to the Grand Canyon, so three weeks from today, that’s what we’ll be doing. I can’t wait to share another adventure with them, but mostly I can’t wait to see them, hug them, to be in their presence. Of course, until then, I have phone calls to look forward to: “Hello, Mom. This is Nigel [insert last name] speaking.” Or perhaps a conversation like this one. Oh, well. I’m just happy to hear their voices.
So summer begins. And it just dawned on me that I’ve essentially combined two separate posts here – the end of homeschooling and missing my kids. Correlation? Nada. Let that be a testament to how disjointed I feel with my sons being away! I can’t even write!