My parents may have brought me into this world, wiped my bottom, funded the roof over my head, fed me occasional scraps, sewed the patches on all the hand-me-downs I wore, and generally loved me to death.
BUT they failed in one regard – they failed to really bond with me.
After nearly 20 years they still can’t correctly pronounce my wife’s four-letter(!) first name and they haven’t ever known much, if anything, of what I did and thought.
Like the old long distance phone commercial said, if it wasn’t for sports, like many sons, I wouldn’t have much to talk to my father about.
My mother….she could never bring herself to even read my blog posts – that’s how curious she was about my life. Yet I had thousands of virtual strangers more interested! And despite our outrageous success, she still doesn’t get homeschooling either.
It went both ways of course. I knew very little about them and their life stories.
I simply wasn’t interested. Our family life orbited around the kids, i.e. school and kids’ sports. That was the extent of it.
My wife and I didn’t start out homeschooling so that we could forge tighter family bonds. Our motivations, to the extent they weren’t merely instinctual, were rooted in academic acceleration.
BUT what a wonderful bonus we have enjoyed through our evolving relationships with the kids!
Homeschooling from day one has lavished us with both quantity and quality family time to an extent that’s not even remotely possible in the context of institutional education.
Educating our children outside the system has given us infinite touch points for deep connection. Just to give one small example, chess….my kids and I have learned chess together. We play each other often; we gang up on our online opponents; and we’ve sat side-by-side in tournaments together. We’ve been profoundly frustrated and upset over tough losses and we’ve shared in a few major triumphs together.
Another good example would be web design. My son and I not only learned how to master WordPress together, he rapidly passed me and has become my bona fide tech support team for almost everything. So as far as I’m concerned, the long, frustrating hours we spent together, crashing our websites and debugging our voluminous coding mistakes represented not only bonding QT….it was a great investment from a business standpoint!
Because we aren’t enslaved by a school calendar and schedule, the kids can stay up longer when my wife works late to get in that extra QT that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
And they are so well-behaved, I can bring them to clients’ houses and they’ll sit there, for hours(!), while I do my consulting and teaching. Note – they are still only 9 and 11 years old. (How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t homeschool because I have to work”???)
Seldom a day in public goes by without someone remarking to me how well-behaved they are to be sitting down and reading quietly. In fact it just happened today at the doctor’s office, again. The impressed identified herself as a middle school teacher to boot!
Well it doesn’t just happen. My kids would be just as wild, just as disobedient, and just as incapable of entertaining themselves as any other kids today if it wasn’t for the intention, priorities, and parental discipline we have instituted over the years.
Again, we’ve invested the time and energy in our relationship with the children AND that is precisely why they comply. They respect us and the hierarchy is not inverted as it is in so many families today.
So many parents genuinely believe they can’t homeschool their children because “they would never listen to me.”
I do my best to explain that is a serious problem on its face; it will only get much, much worse into the pubescent/teen years; AND that the only solution with a chance is, to their utter consternation, spending a LOT MORE TIME with the kids. The only solution is to start homeschooling them, now.
The fact is, school is a WEDGE between parents and children – and it has been for generations now.
Homeschooling precludes that division because it encourages, if not FORCES parents to learn and grow WITH their children.
I plan on, and have planned for being close to my beloved children for the rest of time here on Earth.
What about you?