525,600 minutes

As E counts down the days until she gets to try out school for the first time, I feel grateful that no matter whether she chooses to stay or not, her first eleven years were able to be spent with her family. Not that families can’t develop strong bonds if their children attend school, and not that it’s all rainbows every day, but you just can’t beat the hours we spend with each other week in and week out for relationship development.

I took this picture because to me it was a sweet example of this glorious luxury—the relationship between E and F, who are thick as thieves, and seven years apart in age. I think back to my own childhood—Amy and I referred to our youngest siblings as “the little kids”, as though they were a different species—the Little Kid genus—and they played a mostly peripheral part in our lives.

It’s all worked out—as adults all six of us are friends. But you should see how F and E love each other—he is her little protege. She is his second mommy. They are deeply important in each other’s lives. Isn’t that what’s really important for young children? The development of strong bonds with the people who love them most?

The school my daughter will be attending has a silly little joke up on its sign board. It says, “dear parents, tag you’re it. Signed, the teachers”. I remembered when another unschooling mom had taken exception to that joke—the idea that parents don’t still carry responsibility for their children throughout the school year. And you know, fair point. On the other hand, school really does take up most of the waking hours of a child.

Are those hours ideally spent?

Either way, I’m grateful for the hours my family has gained by choosing this lifestyle. And I’m excited for E’s chosen foray into something new!

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