Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter, homeschooling, and the end of an era

This summer feels like a turning point in my life for so many reasons. It's amazing how a three-month span of time can encapsulate so much change.

In June my husband began working in another state, where he taken has an apartment. Monday-Thursday we live apart. After 25 years of marriage, that's a big change. As part of that process we are selling the house that we have lived in for nine years--almost twice as long as I have lived in a house, ever--and are moving to a supposedly less-expensive house. The move is one I've wanted to make for years. We will be closer to friends and church. But it has also been problematic, adding a layer of "What the heck were we thinking?" to the change.

In 30 days our only daughter is getting married. It's all good. He's awesome. They're moving away, but not horribly far. They'll be close enough that visiting can be the matter of a weekend. Like  I said, it's good. But it's also an ending. For almost 25 years I've been the mother of four, at home, living under my roof, and soon I won't be.

My homeschooling days feel like they are almost done. After almost 16 years this is also a big change. My 18 year old needs only a burnishing of math skills, and will be in a college class or two this year. My 15 year old is ready to spread his wings. He wants to go to a residential charter school--at a university out of town--for his junior and senior years. It's a good plan. It would be a challenge for me to provide a challenge for him if he stayed. I have one more year with him, but I really don't do anything for him anymore except buy books and shuttle him places.

My almost 21-year-old, who was the catalyst for our homeschooling, and therefore so much of what has been wonderful about the past 15-plus years, has gone from being that kind of weird, unhappy five-year-old who didn't GET letters and hated school to a college honor student and suit-salesman extraordinaire. And Harry Potter was a part of that. Back when I was trying hard not to despair of him ever learning to read, he went from zero to Harry Potter in three days. Yep. Although he had never read a book before, he read The Sorcerer's Stone in three days. It was a major turning point.

And over the past eleven years Harry Potter has been a part of our lives. Almost every summer has been marked by a new book or movie release. We've been to book release parties and midnight movies. We've  bought multiple copies and still had two people lying on the floor with a book open at two different spots, reading. We've debated the good or evil of Snape and of the books themselves. We've drawn all kinds of comparisons between the books and movies and other books and movies. We've gone to HP sectionals at Higher Things and listened to HP discussions on Issues, Etc.

And tomorrow night the last movie comes out. My three oldest are going to the midnight movie with my youngest and oldest sons' best friends. (My youngest is away for the week and can't believe he planned so badly!) I made it to all of the midnight showings until the last, but I fear age and responsibility have caught up with me.

So bear with me if I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. This is yet another chapter closing in a bittersweet summer.