My youngest has never stepped foot in a traditional classroom. During his toddler years, he suffered through countless parent/teacher conferences with us as we journeyed through my oldest's years in public school, but that's the extent of his classroom experience.
He never attended any kind of daycare program or preschool. He has always been home from day one.
It's crazy to think about how different his early years have been compared to my oldest, 6 years his senior. He began preschool at age 2 and stayed in public school through 4th grade. I worked full time. Our lives were just different then.
My youngest, on the other hand, has never experienced getting up and rushing out the door by 7:00 am. He's never had to eat in a cafeteria filled with hundreds of screaming kids, or worse, silent lunch.
He's never had to deal with a teacher he didn't like, standardized testing, or walking in a straight line from point A to point B.
He has grown up in a totally different type of environment than my oldest. One free of class rules, late bells, and early morning car lines.
And while I'm so thankful for that, there's a small part of me that wishes he had experienced some of those things. I mean, a little disappointment never killed anyone, right?
There's a part of me that wants him to know what it's like out there. I want him to know that things don't always go as planned. Sometimes school is hard, but you push through and move forward.
He needs to know that some days suck and you don't get to wear pajamas.
Sometimes, it bugs me that he doesn't know how good he's got it at home. It kills me to hear him complain about a lesson or act like I'm being too hard on him when I know that I'm not.
I get frustrated that he doesn't always seem to appreciate the perks of homeschooling, and I take it personally when he whines about having to write complete sentences with proper punctuation.
I'm guessing this is just a stage I'm destined to go through as a homeschooling mom. It must be some kind of right of passage to survive homeschooling a child who has never been to public school or experienced any kind of real academic frustration.
Even though I point out the perks of homeschooling here and there, he doesn't really get it.
Should he be expected to appreciate the homeschool life when he really knows no different?
I need to remember that this homeschooling journey is different for him.
Homeschooling will never be to him what it is to my oldest.
Homeschooling wasn't a saving grace or big positive life change for him. It's just what we've always done. For my youngest, homeschooling is just school.
And like most 9-year-old boys, he hates writing long sentences. It's nothing personal.