Sometimes people have the impression that homeschooling can be a lonely road.
But the “road less traveled” comes in particularly handy when you want a relaxing escape. Because we make our own school calendar, that means that when most of the salmon are swimming upstream, we’re lazily floating downriver with an umbrella in our drink.
Every year we start school in early-to-mid-August. (The timing is dependent upon how annoying the children have grown over the summer.) Then, when most children are heading back to school in September, we’re leaving for a vacation with a month of school under our belts. That feeling you get when your side of the highway is sailing, and the other is grid-locked? Yeah, that’s us.
We learned early on the world is your oyster when the school district isn’t determining your schedule.
Of course we do very little in the way of day trips and vacations during the summer season. We have an aquarium membership and did not go once from June to the end of August. Instead, we went on the first day of public school. If you’ve never had the aquarium – or any other Mystic venue – all to yourself, it is amazing. We’ve had the same experience at the Seaport. It's trips like those that remind me of why this lifestyle is so extraordinary.
The week after Thanksgiving, we took a mini-vacation to New York City. You wouldn’t catch me in Manhattan on a school break on a bet. But during the school year it’s fabulous. My sister asked me if, since I enjoyed it so much, I’d go into the city with her during the Christmas break. I told her no thanks. Everyone in the world – or so it seems – will be there. That’s not my idea of a good time.
I made the mistake of going to the mall with my sister a few Christmases ago. Wow. The only way I’ve seen the mall in the past few years is on a weekday, late morning or early afternoon. The only people there are the mall walkers or moms with toddlers, and you can hardly call them a crowd. If I can’t park three spaces away from the entrance, it’s too crowded for me. And if I have to share the walkways, fahgettaboudit.
There’s an entire off-season tourism industry catering to and supported by homeschoolers. Disneyworld has days specifically for us. There are homeschool cruises. Most historic venues and museums such as Sturbridge Village and Plimoth Plantation have homeschool days. Many of these tourist attractions are wising up that there are customers ready and willing in the off-season.
But even with all those offerings, I choose to go on days that are indeterminate. Sometimes even the road less traveled can get a little crowded.