As a homeschooling parent, you have the (sometimes dubious) blessing of spending every day with your kids. They’re rarely away from you. You know what they’re doing every day, who they’re spending time with, how their school lessons are going. You get to spend more time (quality and otherwise) with your kids than anyone else does—and far more than a typical parent who does not homeschool.
If you’ve been homeschooling for a long time, you may well have reached a point where you are taking that for granted.
Some days, it’s all about getting through the day. The kids are bickering again. The house is a mess. They’re behind on their schoolwork. And don’t even get you started about the to-do list you have to deal with! All you want is for the day to be over with a minimum of tears—mostly from you.
Take a moment to stop and look around you, especially as the holidays approach. What memories are you making?
You’ll only have a limited amount of time with your kids at home. Many parents choose to homeschool through middle school and send their children to a public high school; others homeschool all through high school, but college is always looming on the horizon. Sooner or later, they’re going to leave the safety of your nest and go out into the world—and you won’t have those hours anymore.
Stop and think about that for just a minute.
How many days have you sent them away as soon as the schoolwork was done, desperate for just a few minutes of peace and quiet before you had to start dinner? How many times have you turned down opportunities for an outing because you “just couldn’t deal with it” that day? How many times have you rushed out of the house alone, leaving the kids with whoever was available to keep them, because you were so tired of little hands tugging at you all the time?
How many memories did you miss making…and how many of those moments will you wish later that you could have back?
Every moment can’t be about making memories. There are still chores that have to be done, schoolwork that must be completed, and every once in a while, Mom does need some quiet time to herself. On the other hand, when you have the privilege of being at home with your kids, you need to take advantage of it.
Take field trips. Have experiences together. Take lots of pictures.
Put up decorations for as many holidays as possible. Do little, silly, fun things whenever you can. Make them laugh. Play together. Take more pictures.
Cuddle. Watch movies together. Read a book together—even if they’re more than old enough to read it for themselves. Take pictures of those moments, too—and make sure that you’re in some of them.
Start traditions. Do a service project together. Every once in a while, take just one child with you while you go run errands. Take more pictures—even if you have to enlist the help of a stranger.
Cook together. Plan meals together. Discuss what they like and dislike. Have long talks about nothing in particular, and really listen to them, so that when they have important things to say, they’ll come and say them to you. Learn who your children are and who they want to be.
Encourage their interests. Support their dreams. And make memories—together.
When they look back on these years, what do you want them to remember? Make time for those moments—because you never know when you won’t have time for them again.