Save this one for a really hard day.
I’m going to tell you another one of homeschooling’s secrets:
Don’t tell anyone, but if you homeschool, you might end up really liking your children.
We don’t talk about this out loud, those of us who’ve done it for a long time. It’s not kosher.
And we never talk about it with folks who aren’t already homeschooling.
There’s no good way to tell your non-homeschooling friends this – there’s no way it doesn’t end up making them feel defensive and insecure. Don’t even think about it. You’re going to have to keep this one to yourself, and only marvel about it to your spouse and your homeschooling friends.
There’s simply no way around it – when you’re with people 24/7/365, you can’t help but end up liking them. When you’re with these little people you’ve created, helping them navigate the world, you’re having far more impact on them than you generally know. I mean, sure, you see it when they suddenly reflect yourself back at you – for good or for ill – they’re the best mirrors you’ll ever have. But what’s really going to happen is that the best of you is going to end up in the best of them, and they’re going to be people you really enjoy spending time with.
This is the part of homeschooling that gets better and better as they get older. Suddenly they’re blossoming into these extremely cool adults that you want to be friends with on Facebook, and you want to follow on Twitter. And you’re going to miss them terribly when they’re gone, and you’re going to be so full of joy when they return.
The younger your kids are right now, the harder this will be to take on faith. Older parents will tell you to cherish these years, because they pass so fast. It’s impossible to believe them – the days are so long, that it’s hard to know how short the years are. The days are even longer trying to juggle diapers and nursing and homeschooling. But those years are still so short. You’ll just have to trust me on this. Grab those older moms, the ones who tell you the days are long but the years are short — befriend them, enlist them. You need allies in these long days. Seriously, if an older homeschool mom is making baby eyes at the grocery store, you want to “friend” her right then and there.
And for those of you struggling through the tween and teen years – you’re not going to like these people every single day. Somedays, everyone’s going to need a time out. Everyone’s going to need some space sometimes. Take some time away from each other, if you need to.
Better than that, though – put the school stuff aside, and take a mental health day – go do something really fun. Have ice cream (er, this time of year, maybe donuts). Wander a creek. Go to the park. Go gather with friends. Get out of the house and go do something fun.
Here’s the great thing about homeschooling: every year is better than the last.
You’re hitting your stride, you’re finding your groove, your kidlets are getting older and they’re becoming the super, awesome, extraordinary people they were born to be.
You chose homeschooling for a reason – it might not have been to raise people you like – but that’s a bonus you’re going to get.
Just don’t tell your friends.