Anytime I meet someone new and disclose to them that I homeschool, their immediate reaction is to recoil and ask, “How can you stand being with your kids all day?” I’m going to admit that at this point in my life, I cringe and think, “How can they think it’s okay to say that?” I’m not going to pass judgment on these people, however, because I’ve been there.
Since we’ve all grown up with the routine of children being separated from their families for 35 hours a week and 36 weeks a year minimum, it’s a valid question. As a society, we just aren’t used to being with our own kids anymore because we’ve grown so used to them being gone most of the time in school or daycare.
So how do we do it?
Do we have superhuman patience? You can ask my kids that question. I’m going to say that’s a big ‘no.’ Ahem.
Abnormally obedient children? Now’s my turn to answer. Another big ‘no.’
My answer is probably going to shock you, so I’ll just come out with it…
You get used to it.
The more time you spend with your children, the more immune (for lack of a better word) you get to having almost constant movement, noise, questions, and messes.
I know I’m probably scaring some people off with that description, but I want to make it abundantly clear, that those “inconveniences” have become endearing to me.
Does that mean it never bothers me? Of course not. Everyone has bad days, and everyone needs to be alone sometimes. But those feelings are not the focus of my life. It is not all about me.
It is all about our family.
Even more importantly…
One thing that most people don’t think about is that, in the case of children being withdrawn from school in order to homeschool, the kids need time to get used to being home, too. And I’m telling you, after children are out of the school atmosphere for a while, their behavior completely changes.
Unfortunately, parents of kids who attend brick and mortar schools often only see the worst behavior of their children- the leftovers, if you will.
Think about it. School students are inside a building all day, usually seated and being bombarded with tedious and repetitious work. Many of these kids stay after school for sports or after school programs. These kids have been going and going all day, and by the time they get home, they are exhausted. They are crabby. They just want to veg out and be left alone. Instead, they end up completing hours of homework and are incessantly barked at about finishing their chores.
I’d be cranky, too.
Unsurprisingly, the parents of these kids tend to think, “Wow. My kid really needs an attitude adjustment. He’s just horrible to be around.”
Is it any wonder that people automatically assume it would be a terrible idea to homeschool their kids?
But that’s the thing. For the most part- there’s always an exception to every rule- homeschooling changes family relationships for the better. There’s less hustle and more savoring the moment. The ordinary stress that accompanies school all but vanishes in a homeschool atmosphere that embraces the freedom that comes with home education instead of replicating a traditional school day.
The more you’re with your kids, the more you’ll enjoy them.
Shockingly simple, isn’t it? But that’s the beauty of it. You don’t need to be a superhero or have androids for kids. We’re all ordinary people, just like you, who have realized how much easier life can be without school.
That, my friends, is how we can handle being with our kids all day.