Today I found myself repeatedly reminded of why I homeschool. It was a lovely day – sun shining, snow melting, chickens gleefully expanding their foraging into the newly uncovered grass – I have no doubt that, if I had been driving, every traffic light encountered would have been green. Maybe I would even have been driving a new car!! Have you had days that felt like that? It was a day where the path behind me lined up perfectly with the path in front of me, and I was able to see it and marvel at this life.
Apparently my kids had a few discussions over the weekend and decided that they would like to make lunch together once a week. Without me. They informed me of their decision today, their persuasive reasons at the ready if necessary to convince me. It’s not a huge leap — they already help with most meals. They set the table, chop vegetables, warm leftovers, and bake independently. The new thing here is letting them handle raw meat, not an easy thing for me. But they convinced me and immediately set to work (at 10:30 in the morning?!), consulting their Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children, taking stock of available ingredients in the fridge and cupboards, consulting with me regarding substitutions. I found myself drawn into helping, so I decided to excuse myself from the room while remaining close enough to listen to their discussions. It was such a joy to see them work together so well. (And the turkey meatballs and homemade guacamole turned out really good, too!)
Later we went to the nursing home to visit our former neighbor, Beverly. The kids got to know her when we lived in town. They had a path through a wooded lot to her house, and, not being in school, could run over to her house at any hour and visit when they saw her outside. Beverly is 95 now. When we entered her room today she looked at me and said, “I don’t know who you are.” But then she saw the children and her eyes sparkled in recognition; she was so pleased to see them. We spent nearly two hours with her, chatting and putting a puzzle together.
Neither of these situations is remarkable, really. And yet I felt a connection to my kids, and watched them connect to one another and to Beverly in ways that did feel remarkable. I wondered, if they went to school all day, would they get along so well and work together so sweetly? Would they have had time to develop such a special relationship with Beverly? I found myself thinking about my first exposure to homeschooling. I was working at a Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane Washington in the early 90’s as a pediatric physical therapist. I met so many wonderful children there, and so many caring parents. But two of the the families that I met there stood out to me, and they were both homeschooling families. I saw in them a relationship that was more connected than most families. There was an ease of being together and an understanding of one another to an extent that I did not observe in other families. They seemed to take such pleasure in being together. I hoped that, should I ever have children, I would have that kind of relationship with them. Today I realized that I do. And while my past self may have thought about my future relationship with my children, I didn’t consider their relationship as siblings. I never imagined the strong bond that my kids would develop with one another. I can’t imagine them apart all day. In fact, I can’t imagine them apart ever. I am forever grateful that I am able to homeschool my children.