A few reasons why homeschooling my eventual kids will rock

When I think about homeschooling my eventual children, here are some of the nice things that occur to me:

1) We can live anywhere. And then we can move and not worry about the new schools.

2) We won’t have to have the public/private debate and end up worrying that our kids aren’t in the most advantageous environment if we choose public or that we don’t have any more money if we choose private.

3) We can travel as a family, and it can count as schooling. Maybe we can do this on a boat. Boats sound nice in my fantasies. There was that family a while back who sailed around together for a year, and the mom wrote a book about it (of course). I can’t imagine this working very well when I was a kid, because of my brothers. They chased each other around the house a lot. And then the house felt small, even though it was a house. But maybe I’ll have quieter kids. Bear is pretty quiet. And calm. And low key. I’m really, really hoping our kids turn out just like him and practically nothing like me. I also hope they get his nose, because it’s adorable.

(I googled “boat” and got this. Amazing. source)

I was imagining something more like this:


4) My kids can play outside a lot. Playing outside is like the archetypal thing that parents imagine their wholesome eventual children doing. So it sounds pretty corny. But it really is great, when you get down to it. I played in a stream for a lot of my childhood. It was amazing. Really. I had so many adventures in that stream. I was so proud of that stream. When it dried up in the dead of summer, I was embarrassed for both of us. It looked so naked and sad and had so obviously failed, and it was mine. When there was a brief flood that caused panic among sheltered New Jersey adults, I snuck outside and forded my raging river stream, bursting with pride and excitement. Dad was very upset when he discovered that I was gone. He was also very upset when I came back, and he got to tell me how upset he’d been.

Maybe my children won’t fall in love with a stream, but I’d like to at least give them the opportunity to do a lot of fun stuff outside.

5) My kids can mess up without it being a big deal. They can try to learn a really difficult language and then decide they’d rather learn a different one and they can switch over without getting anything on their record. They can get all of the math problems wrong until they get them right, and it won’t even matter. Actually, it’ll just be nice for them not to have records.

6) My kids can hang out with each  other. You guys know how much I love my brothers. Can’t live without those guys. And it’s always been that way. My non-schooled friends have pretty much always  been friends with their  siblings. And I’ve been friends with their siblings, too. People came in families, not alone. We all belong to our families, whether or not we like it.


Bear and I are in California this week, visiting his family. Sometimes it’s a little heartbreaking, to be on opposite coasts. I wonder how we’ll make it work. I wonder who we’ll have to choose– mine or his. I wonder where our kids will grow up, and which set of grandparents they’ll grow close with. You’re not supposed to put it like that. You’re supposed to say “they’ll be close with both, for different reasons” or something. But it’s much easier to be close with someone you see. Someone you spend more time around. Growing up, I had a primary and a secondary set of grandparents. That’s just the way it works sometimes.

And I don’t want it to work that way for Bear and me and our future children. I want both. I want everything.

My dad says, “That’s not the way life works,” sometimes. He tells me that people settle down. They make certain choices. They build a home.

I think, “People don’t always have to do the thing that people always do.”

I think about spending winters and springs there, summers and falls here. I think about how else it might work. And then I think about how I will homeschool my kids, and I feel relieved. The imaginary structure of my hypothetical future is flexible. There may eventually even be room for a boat trip. Who knows.

14 comments to A few reasons why homeschooling my eventual kids will rock

  • Emmi

    People sometimes come FROM families, not always with them. I am decidedly the black sheep of my screwed up family, the one who started out rebellious and weird and ended up normal and boring. It’s no secret among my relatives that I’m the one who “got out” of my childhood’s crazy household. My friends, upon meeting my parents and sister for the first time, are always shocked. We are different breeds, I am the happy anomaly.

    Not to say my family and I don’t get along, I like them fine most of the time (now). I sympathize because their lives are hard, but that’s where it stops because every hardship without exception is one they created for themselves. But the people I care about usually don’t bond with my family (unless my Dad is being goofy), and I’m not surprised. Kate, you have been very fortunate to be a part of your family – I know you know this. I am envious of you in a way that is one part wistful and two parts fantasy, because I have almost no frame of reference for comparison. I had a lousy childhood, and then I left. I figured things out for myself. And now, to me family is sort of a moot concept. I have relatives, not a family. I suck at Family.

    I totally support homeschooling, I think it’s wonderful. I think that if I had children I would almost certainly go that route. But I am most likely not going to beget any, partially from health reasons but mostly because I have zero family instincts. I have no idea what a happy and healthy parent/child relationship should be. So instead of hoping I do alright and jumping into a potentially perilous parenting pit, I’m just not going to go there. So, it seems that I will also not do the thing that people always do.

    I think your future spawn will be quite fortunate in having you as their Mum. You’re already good at Family, you’ve got a leg up already 😉

  • Love this post. We spent a month in China last summer, two weeks in Costa Rica in January, and we’re planning to spend six months in Cuba next year. Traveling is not the best thing about homeschooling, but it’s way up there.

    And having kids who love each other, love being together, and playing outside together until they are dirty and tired, is simply delicious.

    (Much of the time, my kids fight like crazy and drive me crazier. But occasionally, I get a peak at the men/brothers I think they will become. Here’s a post on their most recent example: http://homeschool-chronicles.com/?p=308)

    Thanks again for writing. It is so encouraging to see what all of this may lead to.

  • Libby

    I’ve often wondered if my dreams of traveling with my family are a little bit out there. A few months in Japan? Why not? Winters spent on big far away mountains fitting “school” around our ski schedule? Heck ya! I fell in love with the idea of exploring this wonderful world with my children almost immediately after falling in love with homeschooling. Thank you Kate, for being so “out there”. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Actually what I find great about home/unschooling is that we really dig into our community. Our kids really know their ‘home’-that is the surrounding trails, the regular art crawls, the best thrift shops, the best environmental action groups, the university and libraries the people etc etc. We are big on LOCAL!! You’d be amazed at how little some people know their own back years!!

  • Gillian Goodwin

    I remember the woman who sailed around the world with her kids and husband. Unfortunately, the outcome of that story was pretty terrible. Since the kids had been out of school for a year, they ended up being social misfits because they were suddenly different from all the other kids, were still into things from a year previous that were now horribly uncool etc. Then the mom died, which exacerbated everything tenfold. Then one of the sons tried to kill his father with a hatchet. Don’t let this scare you though. Completely overhauling a kids life when you know that you’re going to die is probably not the greatest idea.

    That horrible story non-withstanding, I definitely plan to homeschool my future kids. My friends think I’m totally crazy-cray. Really. My friend thinks my kids are going to be total freaks. I have a feeling that me having children will end our friendship.

    • kate

      WHAT?! That’s ridiculous. I am never referencing a book I haven’t read again.
      Ok, maybe not never…

      Although I have a hard time understanding how the kids could be social misfits because they weren’t in school for a year. Like, the other kids wouldn’t accept them back? Is that really how it works? Eek.

      • Gillian Goodwin

        I think it was a combination of a lot of things. They had been on a sailboat for a year and had this amazing experience and then they had to try and re-integrate themselves back into an average, boring life. Then their mother passed away. I think that it was a giant shitstorm. There was also a lot of media attention on them, so I think that exacerbated it. The kid probably had mental issues, considering the fact that he tried to kill his father. I think he ended up being institutionalized.

  • Beverly

    You know, if I had to spend a year cooped up on a boat with my dad, I’d want to kill him too, but my family is just like that. The farther apart we stay, the better we get along. I hope my son doesn’t feel that way about me, but at age 2, he was already telling me, ‘Momma, go away.’ I noticed he tended to do it close to his nap time though, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t personal. :)
    He’s five now, my only child, and I’ve had him in head-start because his speech was delayed and he needed help. At first it was so bad that they told me they thought he was autistic, but he improved enough this year to be moved out of special education into the mainstream class. I was happy about that at first, because he’s a really bright kid and I was afraid being in special ed. would hold him back. Now I’m just aggravated, because he’s still doing well academically, but the teacher is having such a hard time dealing with his behavior that she suggested giving him ADHD meds, which he doesn’t need. Home schooling is looking like my best option at this point, but I worry that as a one-and-only he might not get the extra socialization he needs. I’d love to hear from anyone who has done unschooling with an only kiddo, or a special needs one.

  • Patty

    We are unschooling our 13 year old son, our one and only. He went to school through third grade and we are still working on un-learning untruths he learned about himself there. He is gifted and he has visual processing difficulties. At school he learned he was slow and unmotivated. Some how his gifted qualities were never highlighted instead he learned to doubt himself because he couldn’t finish the work in the time allotted. Learning to distrusts one’s own perceptions and rely on experts is one of the main things learned in school.

    As far as homeschooling an only child goes we get together with other homeschooling families. We also make an effort to see his friends that are still in school. Depending on your area he may be able to take a class in something he is interested in and meet other kids that way. In the Summer my son takes drama.

    Beverly I encourage you to take your son out of school before it effects his perception of himself. It sounds like the school is suggesting medication in order to facilitate classroom management. This becomes a non-issue in home school. At home if your son has had enough of academic work and needs to move around you just go outside. A great book to read is ” The Last Child in the Woods”, it talks about how all children benefit from spending time in nature especially those with ADHD.

    • Beverly

      Thanks Patty! :)
      I’m still looking into our options as far as social and group activities, and my son has asked me about playing soccer or baseball this Summer. Maybe if that works out well he will be interested in trying some other camps or activities. I personally hated all that stuff when I was a kid, but I’m more of a lethargic loner, where he tends to be a rowdy joiner. :) Also, my Mom chose the activities for me instead of letting me follow my interests, so the choice was not always a good fit. I’m looking forward to following where he leads me on this. It took longer age-wise for him to be able to tell us his preferences on these things, so we still get a little giddy when he takes a serious interest in…well…anything. I would hate for anything to stifle his interests, and I do know how that can happen in public school.

  • Both my sons have special needs. And being home has been great for them.

    I was so inspired by this post that I started a list of my own. Thanks for the idea.

  • […] Cool post from a new blog I found: Skipping School. #edreform 08 May A few reasons why homeschooling my eventual kids will rock « Skipping School […]

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