The Path Less Traveled

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday, my six year old had his Kindergarten graduation ceremony.  He was given a beautiful folder with a diploma, photograph of him in cap and gown, and the above quote printed next to the photo.  Love it.

The elementary school at the end of our street is great.  Dedicated teachers and staff.  Nice families with involved parents who are committed to making sure their kids have the best education.  This is the school I have taken one or both of my boys to for the past three years.

But come fall, we aren’t going back.  We are taking a new path.   (Okay, so that is probably NOT what the school had in mind with the quote… oops.)

This year, we have decided to homeschool.  What’s that?  Oh, it’s some of you screaming “GET BACK ON THE PATH!!!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TAKING THOSE CHILDREN OFF THE PATH???”

Yup, I hear you.

Look, this is not something I ever thought I would do.  In fact, I remember saying things like “We have a wonderful public school, why would I not want to take advantage of it?”  Why not, indeed.  Public school is a wonderful thing.  Isn’t it a gift for all children to have the opportunity to learn?  Many kids thrive in public school and plenty of kids are downright saved by public school.  But what about those who don’t thrive?

It’s like this.  Imagine that you have a fabulous hat.  Why would you have a fabulous hat?  I don’t know, maybe you’re going to the Kentucky Derby.  Maybe you’re British royalty.   Just bear with me and pretend you’ve got the hat, people.

So, this hat.  You want to take good care of it and protect it by putting it in a box.  But the problem is this box you have handy is made for a different hat.  Your hat doesn’t fit in the box.  That’s okay, just smash the hat down and make it fit.  Cram it, squish it, crush it!  Just make the hat fit in the box!!!

Guess what?  People are a bit like hats.  When you try to make them fit in the wrong box, they get crushed.

I can see it happening to my kids.  They don’t fit and their spirits are being crushed.  So to me there is no choice.  We cannot stay on the well traveled path.  I have a clear view of where that path is leading, and it’s not somewhere I want to go with my kids.  So we will choose another path.  We aren’t the only ones going this way.  There have been others before us who have pushed the big obstacles out of the way so that we can have an easier time of it.  And encouragingly, many of them have reported back that we going to like what we see.

Still, I’m definitely a little nervous about the journey we are embarking on. I don’t take the responsibility lightly and I know it’s not going to be easy.  But I am excited too.  I’m excited to see my kids start to love learning again.  (Yes, in kindergarten and second grade they have already decided that learning is a drag.)  I’m excited to give them the freedom to explore the things that are interesting to them, and not just with what little enthusiasm is left after 6 hours of school and an hour of homework.  We already have a request to see my van’s engine.  This is going to be interesting.

So, where will this adventure take us?  I’m looking forward to finding out.  And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Formerly reluctant learner devours guide to mushrooms... and learns not to devour mushrooms. ;)

Formerly reluctant learner devours a guide to mushrooms… and learns not to go around devouring mushrooms. 🙂



  1. Congrats on making a tough decision. And it is a difficult one. I am sure that, with your dedication, the little ones will thrive- and you’ll probably learn a lot on the way, too.

  2. I wish I had done that. It’s a big responsibility, but I know you’ll rise to the occasion!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks Kelly! It definitely feels like it is sink or swim time! My friends who have done homeschooling assure me that the kids will learn, but it is going to be a challenge to keep up with everything for sure.

  3. Sherrrill says:

    You are absolutely right! Do what’s best for the boys and you’ll never regret it. And I loved the illustration of the hats. (Can you believe that Princess Eugenie? I mean, what was that girl thinking?!!!)

  4. Rebekah says:

    *gleeful applause* YAY! 😀 I cannot wait to hear all about this!


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