Visualizing the End of an Era

Earlier today a friend posted on her Facebook “I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!” and the dam broke. I responded with, “What do you do when your child no longer loves it?” The comments that followed were very kind and helpful, and I truly appreciate those lovely moms reaching out and trying to help me struggle through this. I’m quoting below what I wrote in response to their advice (because I just plain don’t want to type it all out again).

I do want to say that our parenting style is pretty much exactly what was described above, and I know that is a big reason why our kids (all five, from nearly 30 down to 15) are the amazing people they are. Our daughter is a strong and wise but also very respectful and obedient. I have every reason to believe that if I just told her, “Honey, we just can’t do it. It isn’t in your best interest, period.” she would swallow hard, nod, probably cry a bit, and then she would go on with life without being sullen or resentful (it truly isn’t in her personality to act that way, thank the Lord).

My biggest concern is that she will turn 18 and look back over the past few years and (even if she doesn’t say it out loud) think to herself, “Wow. I really wanted to experience that, and now that time in my life is gone and I can’t get it back, ever.” and feel a sense of emptiness and loss because we refused to budge in this area. Our family is and has always been about relationship. Everything hinges on that–with God, and with one another and with others. Every attitude, word, and action happens with relationship in mind. I honestly believe that is why our family is so close-knit, and I have to say I believe that is why we stand out from the norm. Out of all the people we know personally, we know ONE family whose relationships are like ours.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m talking in circles. I’m honestly just trying to flesh this all out from all angles. Just for background, my husband is absolutely against her going to public school but he also doesn’t want her resenting him and having it affect their relationship. If it was something cut and dried like her wanting to try smoking or drugs, or hitch-hike to California, we would have no problem saying definitively, “Um…no. Ain’t happening.” This isn’t quite so simple.

Another thing is that she isn’t even totally sure she wants to go to public school. Actually I think a small Christian school would make her happiest on all counts. It isn’t even really that she wants to be with her friends, since 1. all her dance friends here are spread out among several different local schools, and 2. we are moving to another area in July so none of her friends would be there. She is a social butterfly, so the idea of being a new girl and making new friends jazzes her rather than making her nervous. Then again, she has never had to deal with environments like I’m pretty sure she would find in ANY of our local schools.

Anyway, I’m rambling now but I wanted to give a bit more information and share a bit more about our thinking. I think I might even be lazy and paste some of this into my blog since I had planned on blogging about it. Thank you sweet ladies for being my sounding board. See? Us veterans don’t have it all together even after doing this for 22 years. Don’t ever feel badly because you haven’t been doing it long enough to know everything; it will always be a learning process. After all, as we homeschoolers know, learning is lifelong.

I’m still thinking, still praying, still talking to Steve. It’s a process, and I’m working hard.

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Frozen Fingers

I want to write, but my fingers are freezing! I have my green plaid blankie tucked around me, but having my fingers flying across the keys (well, and the fan blowing on the computer to aid the CPU fan) is keeping them from warming up. It isn’t bad enough that my brain freezes up when I sit down to my computer to write; now I have to deal with frigid fingers, too. It doesn’t help that this is the draftiest room in the house, without the added fan!

I’m enjoying Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, although I’m glad it’s written in small bites (1-2 page chapters) because I can only handle so much Zen philosophy before I feel like my head is melting and I have to put the book down. I read her books like I eat fish, pulling out the tasty meat–and there is lots of it, on the topic of writing specifically–and tossing out the Eastern religion bones (irony in the term duly noted).

Right now I’m reading about allowing freedom in wording, using descriptively specific verbs, and just freeing the mind to throw out onto the page whatever wants to show itself. I’ve done stream-of-consciousness writing before and I have to say I’ve always loved the exercise. I particularly love going back later and re-reading things I don’t remember writing. It’s a bit like uncovering a mystery I wrote myself.