Recently, I wrote about real life high schooling (HERE). I spared no details when talking about how much work it takes and how many boo boos we parents sometimes make along the way.
I wrote that article so you’d know what high schooling really looks like from the inside. I wrote it because I hate it when homeschoolers are handed some phony tale of hearts and rainbows by some “expert” out to sell an e-book. Those experts only tell you one side of the story, my friends. I doubt the real truth ever comes out during the premium, platinum or gold membership, either.
I was willing to tell you the truth.
Just like I’m going to tell you the other part of the truth right now.
I’m going to tell you the part about how high schooling is really fun. I’m going to tell you how much I have loved doing it. And I’m going to make sure you understand what an overwhelming privilege it is to get to prepare your very own kids for life.
There are as many joys to high schooling, as there are joys to living life with your kids. When homeschooling, those things are so intertwined, it’s hard to separate them out. In fact, when I thought about this article, I realized I could write about this forever. So, I decided to simply choose some of my favorite joys to share with you instead.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Because high schooling is pretty much the most amazing thing a family can do. But, for me, some of the many JOYS of high schooling kids include:
Getting to know your teens, inside and out. And by this I mean their hearts and minds, and everything else that goes along with that. As kids get older and smarter, conversations get easier, more fascinating, and infinitely more rewarding. You’re no longer nodding in agreement over everything they say when they’re little, or answering ten thousand questions an hour as they grow. No, conversations with teens are real, intelligent, heartfelt and revealing. There is raw emotion, true depth, and honesty over everything and nothing. Sometimes, it’s frustrating, too. I love all of that.
The surprise and excitement we get to feel, when we see our kids for who they are, and learn their true calling. I want to make sure not to trivialize this. Because this is huge. Cause no matter how many times our kids say they’d like to be this-or-that when they grow up or do this-or-that when they leave home, we parents know it isn’t real until a certain moment, when we discover it really is real. It’s different for every child, but that amazing moment our kids begin saying things, doing things, and showing us who they really are, and what life has planned for them. That is so powerful. We get to be so proud of them, and we get to feel as though everything is finally so perfectly aligned for that young person. It’s both beautiful and overwhelming to tears. I remember when it happened for each of my kids. In pretty much every case, it wasn’t what I thought. It wasn’t what the child seemed like he would do when he was younger. But, when each of my kids revealed himself, I realized how perfect it was, and they were. I wondered why I didn’t see him that way sooner.
Seeing yourself in them, but not too much. I’ve heard some parents find this threatening — the notion that teens don’t always agree or follow in parents’ footsteps or beliefs. I actually love that. It means they’re learning on their own, and they’ve learned and discovered different things from what I’ve been able to. It means they’re part of a newer generation than I, one in which certain progress has been made, certain discoveries have been found, certain stereotypes have been eliminated, and certain thought patterns have been reprogrammed. My husband and I appreciate when our kids honor our values and respect our beliefs. We try to stay on top of research, trends, and new ideologies. But, we don’t for a minute expect our kids to be like us in all ways, because that isn’t realistic. We’ve raised them well, so they’ll draw from our wisdom when they need it. But we know that we’ve had our time — and this time is for them.
Seeing your kids through the eyes of others. I love watching my kids in real life. I love seeing them speak to others, move around in the world, doing things on their own. I love hearing feedback from other people who have met them, spoken to them and worked with them. There is tremendous validation in watching your children do as you have taught them to do, knowing those lessons weren’t lost, and feeling as though you’ve had a part in making them successful/keeping them safe/advancing their future. Plus, it’s fun to see how they add their own personal flair to all those things, too.
Seeing their eyes turn back to us. I kills me, in a good way, every time one of my boys heads off, then looks back at me. For wisdom, support, or just to know I’m watching them as they head out. This is perhaps the highest level of joy at this stage — to release a child on his/her own, yet know we are still valued, needed, and very much wanted in their lives. My heart breaks open every time one of my kids does this, as I feel so proud they’re independent, yet so grateful I am still an important part of their lives.
There is more. I could write on and on.
Just know that high schooling is so much more than shuffling papers and completing forms. It’s more than choosing curriculum and correcting papers. It’s more than setting alarm clocks and driving teens everywhere they need to go.
High schooling is about real stuff. Stuff that matters. Stuff that no matter how hard high schooling may seem sometimes, or how many mistakes you think you may have made, it’s the only stuff that really counts once it’s all over.
Truth: Part II.
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. The founder of many homeschool groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, or with no educational background whatsoever. A liaison for regional school-to-home organizations and a homeschool leader in Florida, Marie-Claire also mentors homeschool families nationwide. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., HECOA, FLHES, and many other events. She currently writes for audiences at Quick Start Homeschool, and as a guest on other sites as often as she can. Her articles have appeared in CONNECT, on Homefires, at Circle of Moms and she has contributed to hundreds of other blogs nationwide. Dr. Moreau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.