I guess one way to simplify the homeschooling is to send one child off to school in another country. Andrew is in Germany. It feels like months; actually it has only been three weeks. He has six more weeks to go.
It has been Andrew’s dream to be an exchange student. His second language is French, so when this opportunity to Germany came up, we were surprised that he jumped for it. He had two years of German, but that was about four years ago.
Getting everything together seemed to take up all of our family family focus for a month, and then at the airport we struggled to hold back tears as he walked through the detector and disappeared. That was the hardest moment, seeing him step away and waiver about leaving us behind.
We had to explain to his German host family, that he had never been to “school” and going to “school” everyday would be a new experience. Andrew had taken classes, but nothing that was from 8 in the morning to 1, everyday of the week. The host family was baffled . . . Andrew has not been going to school? How do we explain, through our language barrier, that we homeschool, a concept that is illegal in their country.
Home life is different. We all miss him. Emily is really feeling like the only child that she use to wish she could be. However, this is not so fun. No one to squabble with, but also no one to hang out with.
Life became too simple. Half the carpooling. Half the schedule. Our food bill has dropped by $200. (No swimmer that is eating 5,000 calories a day.) Swim fees and car insurance have been reduced. I would think the electricity bill and water fees will also drop. However, we now know who is responsible for using all the towels in the bathroom, and it was not Andrew!
In a year from now, this will be the reality. We will send Andrew off to college, and instead of waiting nine weeks for his return, it will be nine months. The return will always be temporary from there out, and possibly be more of a visit. My heart is heavy for this new stage of life. I have known that the day will come, and have enjoyed every stage as we lived it, not wanting to rush through to graduation.
My heart also rejoices. I have this incredible son that is so talented and ready to face the challenges of adulthood. It is exciting to see him become a young man.
My sliding window has not been washed in three weeks. Andrew is not here to do that chore. And I do not want to wash the last handprints that he placed on the glass as he opened it with his flat hand. Somethings are not worth decluttering and clearing out. Little boy fingerprints are one of them.