The kids’ quarterly reports are going to be late.
They were due yesterday and I’m dropping them in the mail this afternoon. So it’s not like they are SUPER late, but usually I get mine in on time.
This quarter, however, we were kind of busy doing cool things like traveling in Southern California or attending NBTSC in Joshua Tree or walking the Brooklyn Bridge or visiting a friend in Toronto or showing that same friend the sights of NYC. There were musicals to be rehearsed and performed, friends to visit on Long Island and now and then an afternoon spent doing nothing, lazing in the somewhat late in arriving but finally here Spring sunshine.
This quarter must have been particularly busy, because even last week’s panicked emails from parents asking me for help in writing their quarterly reports wasn’t enough to remind me to sit down and do my own.
This is probably because the paperwork is the ‘small stuff’ of unschooling. It isn’t the driving force or motivation. That’s not to say it isn’t important; I would never advise a family to blow off the paperwork. If you live in NY and choose to homeschool, it’s up to you to be in compliance with the regulations. If you disagree with them and want to spend your energy getting them changed, you’ll probably need to spend a lot of time in correspondence with the lawmakers in Albany.
For me, the paperwork is fine. I don’t mind it. Sometimes I enjoy it. It’s important, but only to the extent that it allows us to keep on doing what we’re doing. It isn’t a barometer by which I judge my kids or their learning, and I don’t plan excursions or trips in order to beef up the paperwork. Some quarters the kids do more, some less, and that’s just fine. In the end all the stuff they do covers the required subjects. Isn’t that cool?
The big stuff of unschooling is watching your kids’ interests wax, wane and grow; watching them become independent, confident people who are kind and empathetic to others. It’s ‘big stuff’ to see them navigate their world without fear or hesitation; to see them develop the ability to question established norms and also admit when they are wrong.
That’s the stuff to focus on. Paperwork? Write it, send it, file it away.
There’s living to be done.