Notes from the homeschool mom alumni coffee!
Last night one of our friends (one of the former support group leaders, in fact) was in town. She fired off an email to a bunch of us with a date, time, and location to reunite.
Thirteen met. I haven’t seen some of them in a very long time. Not all of them were/are close friends, though some are. But we’ve been in co-ops and support groups, we’ve attended conferences and committee meetings together. Two helped me put together The Writer’s Jungle the first year I spoke at CHEO (Ohio’s state convention). Another was responsible for that invitation to speak!
We went around the table one at a time sharing “where our kids are now” – seeing pictures of grandbabies, hearing about weddings, and new adventures post-homeschooling (like refurbishing a camper and traveling). Each one shared about her post-homeschool search for career and/or meaning (so many volunteers, so many teaching in some capacity, several have gone back to school and earned new degrees, some are working at jobs they like or to help with finances at home). Some were enjoying freedom to be at home and not required to do anything.
As the evening wore down, conversation around homeschooling itself took over. A few thoughts repeated themselves and I thought of all of you.
Don’t rely on the promises of systems. All those books you buy—even mine—be sure you tailor everything you do to your kids and to your unique family. Conventions are especially prone to promising outcomes if you follow the rules of whatever system. A unanimous “not true” followed. Kids are their own persons and no system delivers the vision you create for them. They must choose for themselves. Take everyone else’s experience with two big grains of salt!
The stay-at-home parent is the homeschooling parent. Therefore, it winds up leading to a lot of marital dissatisfaction when the (usually) wife expects the full time employed husband to be in charge of the homeschool. Rather than enjoying her chosen career (educating the kids), she can wind up resentful that her husband doesn’t match the “role models” at conventions. Everyone doing what they care about doing and supporting each other is enough. This was a big discussion point last night.
There are things going on in your home you don’t know about and won’t find out about until your kids are grown ups. This leads to a great number of fabulous family stories to be shared over holiday meals between your kids who love each other. One mom said the stories usually start with, “When we were supposed to be doing our school…” Ha ha! Loved this one.
Homeschooled kids, no matter how they were home educated, do tend to be close to each other as grown up siblings. So great to hear that across the board.
Some kids still live at home into their twenties. Some got married at 18.
Many mothers are burnt out by the end of the homeschooling years.
Some adult kids swear they will never homeschool (and put their kids into schools they never went to!) while others have chosen to homeschool their children. Some of the homeschool mom alums are helping home educate their grandchildren!
Adult children are grown up small children. Some will struggle into adulthood. Some will thrive. Some will cause you profound worry. Some will move you to embarrassing pride. And often all of these in one family. Homeschooling doesn’t guarantee outcomes—it does promote family closeness in most of the cases I’ve seen.
I loved seeing everyone. The most incredible part of being with these women is seeing how much stronger they all seem on this side of the journey—confident, able to think for themselves, clear about who they are, vibrant women making contributions. That’s a wonderful benefit, I think.
Cross-posted on facebook.