Tomorrow it will be a month since we moved to Belgium to homeschool. I was anxious in the beginning. Even though deep in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do I couldn’t help but hear this nasty little voice resonating in my mind: Wouldn’t it have been a million times easier for everyone to just stay in Holland? Maybe school wasn’t so bad after all? Simon would have continued seeing his only friend every day. My husband Steven wouldn’t have had to spend hours in traffic jams. I wouldn’t have had to sit on the kitchen floor sobbing about how I miss Amsterdam – my love, my life, my true place on this planet. And, very importantly, I wouldn’t have had to sort waste and store it in ugly containers on my balcony, or fear for my life ghost riding my bakfiets on the tramrails in a narrow cobbled street because this town has only three and a half bycicle lanes.
But this week the nasty voice went dead. I think it crippled somewhere around the time I first noticed that Simon was singing continuously. Around that beautiful moment when Simon came up to me and said: Mom, how come the days have become so short lately? And the sleeping doesn’t last long anymore either? – It’s because when you do stuff you really enjoy you don’t feel the time go by, I said.
One thing Simon really enjoys is learning. I’ve noticed him constantly do maths problems out loud, he has become faster and turned to using tricks and own startegies. Even more importantly, I’ve noticed him giving himself tasks and making discoveries he shares with me. Mom, did you know there are more seconds in an hour than minutes in a day? Mom, I’ve discovered that two and a half 1/5’s is the same as 1/2! I’ve seen him spending three hours with a maths textbook and an additional one and a half hours with his maths teacher the same afternoon without getting tired of maths. I’ve noticed him loving the story books I read at bedtime much more now, because he doesn’t fall asleep in the middle of the chapter – he gets enogh sleep now. I’ve noticed him watch educational video’s again and take notes on the computer – something he used to do but then stopped doing when full-time school kicked in.
“I’ve got so many things to do”, he told me yesterday. “Antwerp is a place I can learn to love, too”, I thought to myself.