My 15 year old started kindergarten this year.
We homeschoolers sometimes think we are getting away with the tormenting first day of school with our kids. The dreaded day when we send them off into the cold world with all the necessary tools for survival in their backpack. We watch them go, without Mom there to protect and guide, not knowing what kind of dangers or difficulties await them. Wanting to run through everything we have ever taught them in their entire life in a quick 5 minute window before they disappear from our presence. Well, for most people, that happens when their child is about 5. For me, he's 15.
I hope my friends and family are patient with me and understanding. You see, I know how crazy and silly it must sound hearing me lament about letting my son go off and do things without me at his age. I also know that I can't just throw him into the world on his own at 18 or so, expecting him to successfully adjust and find his way on his own, without some safer field training beforehand. I'm trying to do so without whining and worrying. I've got my feet wet in various ways, like letting him have a summer job that required tearing away the bubble wrap I had him wearing for many years, but he was still very close to home. Now he goes off farther away...out of my codling reach. To Mom, he is still that big, bald, precious baby that I would die protecting. In reality, he is a trustworthy, God honoring, respectable young man whom I need to let experience the world...just him and the Holy Spirit...making their way together.
I know it's a Mom thing, because my husband doesn't struggle with it much at all. Once all the facts are set out and the situation is accessed as acceptable, he sleeps like a baby. His reassurance is vital for me. So is the experience of older moms whose sons are all grown up, parachuting out of airplanes, braving the high seas and backpacking across Europe. It's just plain funny how we homeschoolers think we are "off the hook" by having them home for so long. Unless we want little Johnny living with us at 50 years old, with no family of his own or spiritual muscle, we had better start thinking about when and how the field training will take place. I write this because I really didn't prepare myself for the trauma. I didn't know it would be traumatic. I thought the fact that he is taller than me would make it easier...it doesn't. But faith in Jesus and the grace of my son's character does.
This hurdle in our lifestyle choice is being overcome. I will be better prepared for the next boy when he stretches his wings...naa...who am I fooling...kindergarten is kindergarten, no matter how many times you go through it in your mind. The age old "apron string cutting" is inevitable. I'll just rest on prayer and the firm foundation God has allowed us to give them through the bubble wrapped years.
Wading into the icy water, rather than diving in has always been my preference. But you need to make sure they can swim well on their own before expecting the waves not to overcome...and this world is pretty wavy.