Today I had one of those moments at the park that just made me thankful for my life and for the decisions that we’ve made.
Five years ago, when my oldest was 2, homeschooling was not on the horizon. As a matter of fact, we picked our house for the schools. My husband and I had a lot of conversations on the topic, and I really feared that my kids would be irreparably socially harmed if we homeschooled. I feared that they wouldn’t learn the social nuances that come from school, and I didn’t want to make their lives harder.
Today as we sat at the park, I realized that: Yes, my kids are different. There’s no denying it. There was a group of public-schooled kids there. (I saw them get off of the labeled bus and listened to them talk about it.) They weren’t vandals or thugs. They were just normal kids, doing normal kid stuff on the playground. One of the parents was there, and he seemed like a great dad. I did notice differences in the way that the kids played. It wasn’t good or bad. It just was. My son was playing down at the stream, and none of the other boys were interested in playing down there. My daughter was laying in the grass, reading a book. She’s working on Charlotte’s Web right now, and it has really sparked a love of reading in her. The other kids were playing in ways related to school and tv, and their play was just… different.
As I sat there (and helped my 1-year-old up and down the slide a million times, lol) I realized that the thing that I feared the most has happened. But, you know what? Its not the big deal that I thought it would be. I was fearing a great big social monster that doesn’t really exist. Are my kids more into nature and reading than the average kid that we see when we’re out? Yes. Is it a big deal? Nope. My son’s love of nature meant that he was the only kid who could identify the birds and snakes that appeared on the t-ball field during his games. It made him the hero for the day, LOL. When we go to homeschool park day, there is a huge group of kids who are already wading in the streams, catching crawdads, and pretending to be fairies and gnomes. He may be different, but he’s far from alone. When my kids go to church, they play with all of the other kids. They fit in fine and they have a lot of friends.
What I realized as I sat there was that we made the right choice for our family, and it felt good to know. It was a peace with certainty. I honestly think my kids would’ve been fine either way, and I don’t fear the “monster” of the other side – the public school monster. Yes, my kids probably would’ve played a little differently, but I know that I would feel just as much peace with that decision if it was right for our life at that time.
Three years ago when we moved here, we picked our house in hopes that it would give our kids a life rich in nature and low in television Unlike our previous houses, this house was built in a way that opened up the natural world much better. We are in the city and our lot is small, but we back to open space. My kids see coyotes, mallards, foxes, red-winged black birds, and red-tailed hawks during breakfast. This house has no obvious place for a tv on the main level, so we only have a tv in the basement. We recently got rid of our satellite, and it was a great decision. Our life before was filled with a lot of Dora and Blues Clues. It wasn’t all bad – I’ve been riding those free Spanish lessons from Dora for a while, LOL. It was just time for a change. It felt good today to watch my kids play in such a natural way and to know that we were achieving some of our goals for moving where we did and being intentional about our lives.
We still have a long way to go, but I just really enjoyed the little piece of peace that came from watching my kids and knowing that we have been able to give them some of that more natural life that we wanted for them. It also felt nice to realize that the things that I feared the most weren’t really as scary as I thought.