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Part of my flight to the North Woods involved a “short hop” from Boston to Maine.  Short hop translates to “small plane” in air travel parlance and traveling in one is very different from a trip in a massive transoceanic aircraft.

For one thing, when I checked in, they asked for my weight and assigned me a seat accordingly, for balance.  Secondly, the gate involved a set of stairs down to the tarmac and an escort to the side of the plane.  After tugging on the door, he waved me to clamber up and duck through a low door into the passenger compartment.

Once I resigned myself to the pilot holding her window open to stay cool, it was fun to see the towering planes around us as our flight took its place in line for take off.  She was still holding it open as we lifted into the sky.

Cruising altitude in these little nine-seaters, where I sat knee-to-knee with the other slightly pop-eyed passengers, is only about two thousand feet.  On a nice day – what a view!

The pilot turned the propellers toward our destination, and the plane surged forward.  Freakily, it also moved side-to-side as well as up-and-down.  No straight, smooth shot, this flight was subject to wind and air temperature changes that made for a bumpy, indirect ride.  Forget technology.  Judging by the way she peered over the dashboard, I think our pilot made her way north by following the silvery river north from the sea.

An hour after take-off, the co-pilot pointed out an airfield on the horizon.  A few moments later, we bumped to earth and pulled up in front of the tiniest terminal I’ve ever seen –  an eight-seat waiting room and a few bored TSA agents.  Off I went to the next phase of my journey.

It’s the movement of the little plane that makes me think of homeschooling.  If you’re coming from a traditional school setting, you’re used to a multi-engine juggernaut that launches and thunders straight toward the destination.  Homeschool?  Well, our goal is out there, but we’re following the river of our children’s changing academic needs.

That’s homeschooling.

You think, if I buy these books and this curriculum, follow these rules and do this paperwork, my child will fly right through school.  And they probably will.  Just be prepared for an indirect route. More progress one week than another.  More attention to academics one season than another.  More satisfaction with the process sometimes than others.  Up and down.  Side to side.  It’s okay.  Don’t worry.  Don’t buy more supplemental workbooks.  Don’t lay awake at night.  Propellers toward the destination, eyes on the landmarks, you’ll get them there.

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