Friday, on Mont Royal, was the annual Not-Back-to-School picnic for Montreal-area homeschoolers. Where were we? At school, funny enough. Zahra, Noah and I are volunteering in the school library once a week, when Leila’s class comes in. On our day, only two kindergarten classes come through. Noah helps the kids find books, and Zahra sits at the desk to scan them. There aren’t too many other tasks at the library, so I sit and watch all the delightful-ness that is a new kindergarten class: the eager beavers, the ones whose feet don’t even touch the floor when they’re seated, the ones with big eyes (either in awe at all the newness, or else trying not to cry), the space cadets, the ones who immediately go to the books they were told not to take…I love them all.

public school

But there’s one I love more than the others, and surprising her in the middle of the day is why I love volunteering in the school. Library, pizza lunches, field trips, special class projects: sign me up! It’s a great way for the big kids to volunteer, too.

After Leila got home, we went back to school again, this time for the back-to-school Hot Dog Dinner/Talent Show/Giant Play Date. We brought our own turkey dogs, because that’s how we roll. We watched kids sing, dance, do magic tricks and more, at varying levels of proficiency, all hysterical and admirable at the same time. The kids were whisked away by their friends and played on the playground until it started to get dark and the mosquitoes came out in hordes. It feels like a great privilege to straddle both of these worlds at the same time: homeschooling and public school. We’re trying to pull the best from both sides and cobble together an education style and lifestyle that works for our family.

We rushed home to be there when our guests arrived. My friends, and Leila’s Godparents, Elise and Harold got to our house around 7:30. They and their five kids filled the house with laughter, and we couldn’t stop talking, just trying to catch up. The kids haven’t seen each other since Leila was a newborn, but they just clicked as if they’d grown up together. It was bittersweet because they could only stay one night, but as they were leaving Saturday morning, we promised to go visit them soon and are already planning our trip.

Ristaus visit