It must be that time of year in the school year when people who were waiting until "after Succos to see if things would get better in school" are finding that things are not getting better. In the last two days, I've had 3 inquiries about homeschooling. I always enjoy speaking about homeschooling. One of the questions that came up was: Do you worry that your child is missing out, being homeschooled?
When I was asked that, I had a rush of memory. It has been so long since I've worried about that. But yes, I do remember worrying about that. I remember worrying about preschool. My child won't have that fantastic jungle gym (we actually live across the street from a playground). My child won't have music lessons or learn all those songs (they didn't) (Chana did pick up violin 2 years ago, though). They won't do all those projects (I actually didn't worry about that, because I did do projects with them, until I admitted they are not my bag). I worried they wouldn't go on those great trips (turns out homeschool trips are indescribable). I worried that they were missing out. I worried I was depriving them of important life experiences. Important Life Experiences. That they were missing. My Fault.
I'm not sure how that worry faded. I remember worrying about it, and I know I haven't worried about it for over a decade. Maybe because homeschooling was just so ridiculously fun.
I was thinking today about some trips that I used to do with the girls when they were little. For example, we used to regularly visit the Museum of Natural History. The little ones have never been there. I just haven't been able to get out of the house with them without one of us coming home crying (including myself :-P). So are they Missing Out? Well, yes, they are. They certainly are missing those great trips.
But I realized today how many fantastic memories they have in their childhood. They have neighbors on the block that they play with every day. Every day is a paradise of fun and joy for them (well, not for the 4yo who is currently low man on the totem pole. But the others). They have plenty of things that interest them and that they love.
The same way I saved some books from my childhood because I wanted to give that experience to my children (and my children weren't really interested). The same way I saved books from the girls' childhood to give that experience to the boys. But we are fortunate to live in a world filled with rich educational materials, places, and opportunities. The path we choose will always cause us miss out the path not taken. But each path has its own special delights. And that has made all the difference.