Photo by Jonathan Garcia
They caught my eye as I stood in line at the grocery store this week; binders in every color, fat markers and brightly colored boxes of crayons.
It's back to school time.
Eleven years ago, I sent my son off to kindergarten a bright eyed, cheerful kid who was so excited about school and learning that he could barely sleep the night before. It's amazing to me how things changed over the years, from that kid that was so desperate to be at school to a weary, frightened one who asked if he really had to go.
For the first time since that initial back to school day so long ago, we are skipping back to school. Well-maybe not skipping it altogether, but doing it differently. I had not realized how much time and effort is put into back to school prep-going to the school to find your locker and pay fees, buying new supplies and clothes, and all the general angst that comes with it.
This year is different. There's no lunches, no labeling anything, no feeling that I must buy him shoes for gym or get a new lunch bag because the old one is worn out.
All Kevin needs this year is an internet connection and his computer, where he'll learn math, biology, and computer programming in the comfort of his own room. Likely in his pajamas. He'll eat lunch with his Dad, and then see me again in the early afternoon. There will be time to go for long bike rides, trips to a local gym, visiting the public library, and more. I've volunteered to drive him anywhere he wants to go.
He may be at home, but the world will be his playground. We'll make sure of that. When he needs lunch, he'll just wander to the fridge. Nobody will question his computer connection, and there will be no hassle about printing his work or requests just to have access to wireless so he can send in assignments.
Over the last few months, if I had any reservations about how online schooling might go, the simple lead up to back to school has been reassuring. There's been no stress, no anxiety, nothing. Just a happy, glowing kid who is back to chomping at the bit to be learning again. If there's one thing about Kevin, he loves to learn. There's still time and opportunity for social, but it will be different. Healthier. He'll only have to be with the people he wishes to, rather than put up with the angst that oozes from some.
The spark that faded from those blue eyes is coming back to life, bit by bit.
I can hardly wait to stoke it into a raging fire.