Yesterday afternoon, I attended ds5’s siddur party. A few days before that, I attended dd16’s high school event that is in lieu of a graduation ceremony. This coming week there will be a performance of some sort for dd12. As the school year winds down, there’s a lot going on!
In the past two school years, I’ve attended a number of events – a sixth grade bas mitzva performance, my first grader’s chumash party and before that his siddur party, school birthday parties for the kids in kindergarten and other miscellaneous events. There have been quite a few. This has been particularly interesting for me as a long-time homeschooler, since people so often talk about how hard it must be for homeschooled kids to miss out on all of these special occasions.
It’s been very nice to attend all of these along with the other mothers and feel part of things. This feeling was particularly strong in the first few months I was here, as I pictured how left out I’d be if the kids weren’t in school. But as time has gone on, experience has shown how fleeting and insignificant this sense of belonging is. I get a lot more connection and bonding by chatting with moms in the park or store.
With few exceptions, the events have been very nicely done, with a lot of time and effort invested by the teachers/administration to make each one special. I’m grateful that my kids were able to have these experiences and particularly glad that this year there was a siddur party in kindergarten (in the past it’s always been first grade). After ds7’s siddur party earlier this year (which was particularly special), ds5 kept asking if he would also have a siddur party next year when he was in first grade and now he’s had it so it won’t be a perceived lack when he’s homeschooled next year. (This party was the most meaningful of them all, since ds6 had the lead role in his class with two solos and a duet. This degree of personal opportunity is unusual but he has a small class and he had the willingness and confidence for these roles, and we all enjoyed seeing him shine – I wanted to post a video of one of his solos but the blog interface wouldn’t allow me to upload the file type used -sorry!)
As lovely as all of these have been, I must say that attending them gives me increased confidence that kids who don’t go to school (and their parents!) aren’t missing out on much. I have absolutely no feeling of regret or wistfulness that the younger kids won’t have these opportunities, only positive anticipation about the experiences they will have as an integral part of homeschooling that dwarf all of these.