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Sunday, August 17, 2008

When Worlds Collide

My perfect homeschooling world has once again been T-boned by reality. In this case it's the hastily arranged, last minute decision to allow my youngest daughter, Elle, currently the only one I am teaching and the only one not bound by an institutional school schedule, to travel back to the States with her dad for a couple months.

I heard the gasps, just barely, over my own hyperventilating. Shocking isn't it?

Besides missing her like crazy and worrying about her health and safety every single minute, her education gives me pause for concern. Is this trip going to screw up my carefully developed government approved lesson plans? Of course. Is anyone else going to be as attentive to teaching her as I am? Of course not.

I am nothing but flexible.

I would like to pack a couple of her books, mostly just math and grammar, but as she will be on the go with her dad traveling from job site to job site, from east coast to west, and visiting relatives all over South Florida, they'd most likely be misplaced. We tried something similar with Sarabelle years ago when Grice and Elle were at the very exclusive and very cozy west coast charter school and I was working for our broker buddy. Sarabelle spent a couple months traveling back and forth from coast to coast with her dad. Not many of her assignments got done. And, yes, books vanished. In the end, it didn't hurt her, and what she did learn was practical. I'm comforting myself (or fooling myself, take your pick) with the idea that the entire trip will be a learning experience. Elle will get the same opportunity her sisters had at various times to apprentice her at father work. She will learn all about permitting and government red tape, schmoozing clients, juggling finances and real estate transactions, and the physical act of building, which is loaded with math and science.

Our bookshelves at home are overloaded with stories she's finally capable of understanding and enjoying on her own. She'll have the opportunity her sisters had, to browse through our collection of well-loved children's stories and read to her heart's content. It won't be any burden to insist she always have something to read with her for those long rides between places.

She has missed out on the constant presence of and bonding with extended family that Sarabelle and Grice had, and with Jorge's office in the hub of his family's business, Elle will get to spend time with her beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma. Imagine the joy of a well-stocked closet of office supplies, the thrill and responsibility of answering the phones, the excitement of pushing the buzzer to let the mailman in!

More than one-fourth of her life has been lived in Australia. Jorge wants to ensure she has some strong memories of where she came from. And not only those associated with the madness and mayhem of Christmas.

It will definitely be an education. Just another stop on our Odyssean learning adventure.


Becky said...

I vote for comforting vs. fooling :). And besides, you wouldn't want to get bored at this point, would you?

I think she, and Jorge, will have a marvelous time and she will definitely get a good dose of the real (American) world, at Jorge's side.

Bon voyage and happy travels to Elle! And a brown paper bag for her mother to help with the breathing...

sheila said...

And besides, who WOULDN'T want to be alone with a closet full of office supplies! It was the only good memory I have about working in an office.

I hope you all survive these few months happily. It's a drag missing family (family you WANT to miss that is). But I love the idea of travelling around and learning. A sort of junior Dharma Bums experience.

L said...

A paper bag is exactly what I need!

Thanks, Becky, for the plug, and a big hello to all the new visitors! I'm pretty lame on follow-up replies to comments (unlike one of my favorite bloggers), but I do appreciate each and every one and love to read them. Okay, so usually I just can't think anything witty enough to respond to your thoughtful words, but know that here on my couch I am either chuckling away or giving you a mental high-five. Thanks for stopping by!

Sheila, I am confessing right here and now that I am a Post-It Note nut. What did I ever do before 3-M's greatest invention? The day a co-worker handed me the office supply catalog and asked if I needed anything (anything? ANYTHING?!) was equal to the joy and anticipation I felt as a kid getting the Sears catalog and making my Christmas wish list.