Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Family Unit

My husband is away. Far away on business. In Australia (which is just plain wrong for many reasons). It is an uncomfortable feeling.  We are not used to it.  The children are uneasy about it. They all end up in my bed.  There is someone missing and a general feeling in the house of waiting for our unit to be whole again.

Our family life has become far more enjoyable since we started homeschooling.  This is my 5th year of homeschooling.  Prior to homeschooling were attending a well respected Montessori school.  We picked our location based on proximity to this school and I respect and admire Montessori education.

My intention was to keep the children in this particular school all the way through middle school and be part of the school community.  Tristan started this school at 14 months. (eek!) It was a beautiful school and I spent a lot of time there observing in classrooms, volunteering and fundraising.  The problem was that my children were just not thriving in it.  Claire found it difficult to find like minded peers and Tristan wasn't ready to sit for 3 hours a day, independently and alone doing close ended activities using fine motor skills.  He needed to move all the time and was extremely social.  By the end of his short school career he was miserable and only 4 and a half.

Much of our time as parents was spent trying to convince them why they had to go to school, preparing for school, going to school, organizing things for school and then talking about all the stuff that happened there that they were unhappy about.  Then when my husband came home it was all about school again.

So one of the greatest joys for me homeschooling is not having school at the center of our lives. What replaces it is the four of us talking about all the things we dream about, the activities we are doing, documentaries we are watching, recipes we want to cook, who we want to see and where we want to go.

All that negativity has been replaced with this positive energy that is directed towards the center of the family unit.  We feel much more bonded.  We really listen to each other and know each other.  We have a wonderful sense of belonging to a tight family unit which was an unexpected gift of homeschooling.  We meet with other homeschooling families that are also experiencing the close family bonding and the children really seem so nourished by the security of that.

These are the kinds of families I want my children to be surrounded by, not just by peers but whole families with children of all ages and fellow like-minded parents who my children can seek out to ask questions and get advice on their projects and life experiences. These are families who we are lucky to share our homeschooling journeys with and will hopefully be close to for the rest of our lives.

In the meantime, we are holding our breaths until our Papa safely gets home.


  1. Moving from a school centered family to a home centered family is a big shift. There are definite differences most notably for us, being committed to the schedule of our choosing rather than an arbitrary once set by a school board. This has allowed us to travel with Greg on his business trips without fear of homework piling up and make up tests. The girls now stay up later and get to spend some quality time with their father before bed. That never used to happen when I was so obsessed with bedtime so they would be rested for school the next day. If we have dinner at 7pm, no biggie. If we want to take a day off and hop on a train to NYC, we can! Often I wonder how this sense of personal freedom combined with personal responsibility will shine through when these children are older. I don't see many of them opting to sit in a cubicle for 9 hours a day and work around someone else's rules and schedules.......

    Just another day and your family unit will be whole again. Traveling spouses are hard on the family. I am glad ours don't have to leave often.

  2. School I suppose is a good way to learn to sit in a cubicle for 9 hours and submit to authority and implement regulations. ...I am pretty sure my kids will not choose to work for the government! I don't see too many people having that as a dream! I also don't think you need thirteen years to prepare yourself for working in a cubicle situation. I went to school and 7 seven years of university and I couldn't be tied down to a desk unless it was in my area of passion. The work environment is changing all the time. So maybe our children will be entrepreneurs because they can see a better way of working that keeps them and their families in balance. They will be able to see out of the box. I guess the proof will be in the pudding!