Today, my little homeschool classroom loses a student. It’s probably a good thing. She made it to a systems of equations unit in 8th grade math and this was the practice problem we looked at until our eyes crossed:
Christopher is 20 years younger than Ishaan. Ishaan and Christopher first met two years ago. Fourteen years ago, Ishaan was 3 times as old as Christopher. How old is Ishaan now?
Jesus come quick.
If you can tell me the answer, I promise I’ll take you out for coffee. Because I can’t even.
My skills have run their course with the teenager and so when our county schools announced they’d be going back to the classroom in March and the guidance counselor suggested Maddox go ahead and enroll now, we raised our hands together in a rare showing of mother/daughter unity.
Yes. This is a good idea.
Parents, we’ve been surrounded this last year by so many, many ideas. To school at home. To rearrange our careers and schedules to be available to our children while they learn virtually. To send them back full time at a new school. To learn with a pod. To find a tutor.
The enemy of decision making is overwhelm.
This new idea, this plan to send my teenager back to school so she can be among math teachers who went to school to teach actual math, and fellow classmates who have the same humor and doubts and worries and dreams, it is good.
And so I release control on the original plan to homeschool until the end of the year. I lose a student, and in so doing, I gain a relationship with my daughter that isn’t based on her study time for a science test or the writing assignment I gave her this week.
And this year, this long season of loss and grief and exhaustion and decision overwhelm, it has taught us to hold loosely the plan, hasn’t it? It’s the analogy of the sand in the palm: with hand held open, very few granules are lost, but close tight the fist and half the grains slip through the fingers.
We have lost. We have gained.
We are losing. We are gaining.
We will lose. We will gain.
Both truths exist. Both can live in tension with the other. In past, present and future.
These are lessons learned.