Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I Will Miss: Homeschooling in D.C.
By Windy

Eleanor and her friend Ally
at the Kennedy Center
Our decision for me to quit working two years before leaving was one of the best decisions we've ever made. Even though it was an unneeded strain on our money-saving ambitions, it gave me a new perspective of D.C. and introduced me to a group of other homeschooling parents whose company, support, and inspiration I have enjoyed immensely.
I wouldn't know the city like I now do had I stayed in the workaday world. The girls and I have explored it together during the past two years, all of its nooks and crannies. As a die-hard Californian, I have come to appreciate D.C. because it's a truly international city, because of the fantastic museums, because the local government doesn't meddle too much in the affairs of homeschoolers, because of the excellent (and forgiving) public library system, because we can trek down and watch the inauguration of the first African American president, because we can walk a few blocks and stand on the mound where Lincoln came under fire, because of great public transportation, because the great outdoors runs through the middle of the city (Rock Creek Park), because it's a short drive to family-run farms, the beach, and the mountains.

Our D.C. homeschooling co-op
To top it all off, so much of what we do here is FREE (or very inexpensive, American taxpayers, I am deeply grateful). Last year I took Eleanor and her good friend Ally out for an elegant evening at the Kennedy Center to see They Might Be Giants. Total cost: $5 for the train ride, round trip.   We regularly cavort in the shadow of Teddy Roosevelt's Stalinesque statue on Roosevelt Island. (Aside from the monument, Roosevelt Island is a green pocket of wildness, surrounded by the waters of the Potomac River. We love Roosevelt Island). Total cost of each trip: $2 in fuel. When our homeschooling co-op met at the National Zoo, the cost was $5 for the the train. The museums, the monuments, the Supreme Court, the Capitol: all free. These things I will miss.
Eleanor at Calvert Cliffs State Park
Finally, we enjoy all of this in the company of a growing population of homeschoolers, many of whom, over the last couple of years, have become close friends to my daughters and me. Though these families came to homeschooling for a variety of reasons, they remind me of the cruising community in their pursuit of a lifestyle that bucks convention and sacrifices monetary gain (which is really another way of bucking convention, I suppose). Lately I find myself imagining, not wishing, but imagining our life continuing as it is today. I imagine the girls growing up with these amazing kids who are their friends. I imagine years down the line, sitting with the same parents I sat with today, sharing our misgivings and our triumphs. It would be a good life. The problem is that it doesn't include Mike, not enough of him at least. And we can't have both because D.C., aside from all of the recreational opportunities I mentioned, is a costly place to live. Most families here live on two incomes. We are fortunate that we can live on Mike's income alone.

I'm painfully aware that the decision to move onto a boat with our kids is a compromise. We hope to gain much, but we will lose much in the process. In all likelihood, we will leave D.C. and not return. We have a lot to miss.

P.S. Here are two articles written by a friend and fellow D.C. homeschooler about homeschooling in D.C.: Part 1 and Part 2 (I'm quoted in this one)
Winter at Roosevelt Island

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Wendy, I recall feeling very similarly about the wonderful community we were part of when we left Vancouver. I kept imagining what our alternative future would be--it looked good too. The great thing is we've met more of those wonderful families and now have even a bigger circle of dear friends...
    But it is a bitter sweet thing--leaving a life you love...


Thank you for taking the time to comment; we look forward to reading your feedback. Don't forget that you may also contact us directly at (please type DEL VIENTO in the subject line)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...