The last few days I have been filling out our yearly home school paperwork for the state. This is the second time around where we are required to set out our plan for the year, MCOS, as they call it at the state level. I am not even entirely sure what that an acronym stands for, and I honestly don’t care. While I believe in documenting our states children, and I believe in keeping parents accountable when they make this large leap to stray from the norm, I feel that these little slots labeled with each subject the state deems important do not do homeschooling (or likely any schooling) justice. How could I portray to them in a few tiny sentences what our days will be filled with? How can I even put into words the lessons my boys will absorb and discover? I really can’t. So, I transcribe from the curriculum we occasion, not being inaccurate, just leaving out all the really good stuff. All the stuff that makes my boys, my boys. All the things that give me pride and confidence in this decision.
How could I explain that my boys spend hours in the woods learning to listen so well they light up at the sound of broken twig, in hopes it is a porcupine or woodcock they will get to a glimpse of. Or the level of communication it takes to navigate two people across our rope bridge without falling off. Or the math involved with cutting down trees, measuring and remeasuring. Can I write in the physical education slot that they will run so hard after fireflies for hours after dark they will go to bed sweaty and exhausted? Does that fit inside their requirements? Can I just say they will play? No. I cannot. I will indicate which sports they are signed up for, and feel that I am pleasing them. Does a proper teacher hold a tape measure and answer math questions with knitting on her lap? Does she receive gifts of homemade bench swings to hang in the forest to knit on? I can’t imagine they do.
But, I know how their day goes. And I know how their education goes. I am not being deceitful in these little slots, I just know they are not the best few sentences to fully describe this life we choose. I am also not insinuating the state requires more sentences from homeschoolers either, I am just pondering the whole process in general; The labels on the slots, the timeline, the deadlines.
For now, I will silently smile and mail off these completed and not inaccurate forms. I will sigh with relief that their days are, in fact filled with much more than these lines could contain. And I will revel in the beauty that is spending ones day in the forest, with a bucketful of lessons bubbling up out of it.