Things We Gave Up

I read a blog post (which I, for the life of me, can't find1) the other day listing some sacrifices the author had given up because of homeschooling. There were 3 or 5 thoughts expressed, such as no longer wearing fancy jewelry and clothing -- things that one might wear to the office. Suffice it to say, I found it hard to personally relate to this list.

I don't know that I've given up much, if anything, to homeschool -- that I've noticed, anyway. Of course, since we've never not homeschooled our school-aged children, I don't have any frame of reference. Things have changed dramatically as children entered our lives, regardless of schooling. I guess I just think of homeschooling as part of parenting.

What did come to mind for me, though, were some of the things I think of my children sacrificing as homeschooled students:

My children will probably never attend prom, homecoming, or any other school-type dances.

As photos come out of prom dresses and dates, I think of the the fact that my girly-girl will probably miss out on all of this pomp and circumstance, which she'd likely very much enjoy.

I remember going to dances in school; prom was the best. The lights and the music and the food were probably fun, but all I (and everyone else as far as I could tell) really loved was the dress. We don't spend our lives going to balls, like they apparently did in Jane Austen's era. For us, prom is the closest we get to a reason to put on a gown and corsage.

My children will never ride a school bus.

I know, this probably seems silly, but if you think about it, kids are taught to love the big yellow from birth. My kids are no different. They would have looked forward to riding the bus, as Kindergarteners usually do.

One of my siblings pointed out that my kids never have the excitement of getting ready for the first day of school each Fall.

I remember the supplies lists and the shopping. The fun was in getting new clothes and shoes to wear for the year. It was like Christmas.

Prom is the closest we get to a reason to put on a gown and corsage.

Then, we'd each get our hair done or cut and get new backpacks and whatever else we might need. The day before the first day we'd lay out the outfit we'd wear, which was always the best we had, and got all of our things ready.

My daughter might never have a boyfriend. My sons may never have girlfriends.

Caring about boyfriends and girlfriends is part of the school culture. It probably stems from children spending all of their time with same-aged children. That isn't to say that they won't (and don't) have crushes and admirers, but it probably won't occur to them to go out on a date or anything like that for quite some time.

My kids don't really get the satisfaction of earning a good grade or academic award.

Worksheets and daily practice are never graded. I do grade tests and some writing assignments, but the grades aren't given to anyone or recorded anywhere special. They do share their work with Daddy, and if they've done poorly, I do report it to my husband. I also scan most of their test papers and save them for posterity, but they don't get a grade in anything. When your teachers are you're parents, there's no reason for a report card.

Graduation is not a thing my children get to do.

We may celebrate moving up sometime this year, but we've never celebrated this before. Most of the time the kids don't know what grade they've finished or when one grade has ended and the next one has begun. I'm sure we'll do something special to mark getting through high school, but I recall going to Kindergarten graduation and eighth grade graduation with white attire or caps and gowns and trophies and diplomas. Our children won't have any of those experiences.

This list is not serious. Take heart. None of these things matter.

The excitement of a snow day or sick day or summer vacation is completely lost on them.

At our house, a snow day just means that it snowed. Usually, the kids go out to play in the fluffy, white stuff after we've finished our lessons for the day. I might shorten my plan, or something, but I do that for a lot of different reasons.

Holidays are the same. I remember being so glad for a weekday break, gives you an extra day to get homework done. At home, everyday except Sunday is a possible school day.

My kids will be missing a significant time reference throughout their lives.

I often think of homeschoolers when I try to place a childhood memory and do so by remembering what grade I was in and/or what school I attended at the time. Most people do it all the time: i.e. "I got my puppy for Christmas when I was in third grade." Where we were in school serves as a marker for most, like a timestamp, giving context to our pasts.

My kids may never have the opportunity to see how long you have to wait, or how patient you have to be, to get on a ride at an amusement park in the summer.

We almost always go to popular places while everyone else is at school. There was no wait at every ride when we went to LEGOLAND on a weekday in November. At Busch Gardens we were able to ride a couple of rides more than once without having to get back in the line -- because there wasn't one!

I keep telling the kids that that's not how it usually is, but they'd have to see something like that to understand it. And I am not standing in line for 2 hours to do something for a couple of seconds ever again in life.

There are counters for each of these; that almost goes without saying. I'm restraining myself from commenting beyond the basic point of each thought. This list is not serious. Take heart. None of these things matter.

I'll add more as I think of them...

  1. I can't say for sure but it might have been somewhere on