Unsocialized Hope

I went to bed last night with two prayers:

One, that the vetiver I was putting on my feet to help me sleep would not give me nightmares.

Two, that I would gain inspiration for a blog post that doesn’t have a single thing to do with business practices or rabbit trails that take me even further down the mystery hole of questions to which there seems no end.

I’m pleased to state that the vetiver did not give me nightmares. Or any dreams whatsoever! This is a major accomplishment because I can have some crazy dreams all on my own, and vetiver, along with pickled okra consumed before bedtime, has been an instigator in the past.

The second prayer, well, let me tell you what was on my mind when I woke up:

The second generation homeschoolers I know.

Before I had children I had never considered home education as a real option. I believed the line that the culture offers that homeschoolers were very smart – but very weird. (I didn’t realize at the time that kids, in and of themselves, are absolutely bonkers.) I thought that home schooling children would be very pale from not going outside during the day… and always be in some form of a matching denim jumper.

I can clearly remember looking at my husband and saying, “If we do this homeschool thing we’re going to have be intentional about getting out of the house, socializing the kids, and no jumpers – ever!”

I wanted us to be “cool” homeschoolers.

We’ve been on this homeschool journey for almost a decade now, and I have to say some of my fears were true – we are really not “cool” in any way.

“Cool” takes a lot more effort than I’m willing to give it these days.

And… our kids are pretty odd. Like for reals. They’re super weird.

But they’re the kind of odd I adore and want to foster.

I love that our 13-year-old isn’t consumed by boys or a cell phone. (Partially because she’s the one of two kids on her soccer team who doesn’t even have a cell phone.)

I love that our 11-year-old has the time and inclination to start designing cars and creating acrobatic shows in our living room.

I love that our 9-year-old went up to a teammate and said she noticed she’d been mean to another girl and it made her feel badly to see… and that teammate changed their behavior.

I love that our 6-year-old walks up to kids he’s never met before and boldly asks them if they want to kick a ball around with him… and after they stop looking surprised, they say, “Yes.”

I prayed and hoped at the beginning of this journey that our children would be able to explore the gifts they’ve been given that make them so unique and precious, that home education would allow them to step outside of the group think of peer pressure and be free to pursue callings I can’t even imagine.

But, let’s be honest, my kids are… kids. I like what I’m seeing right now but this homeschooling adventure is a long-term study. How do we know this educational experiment will even work?!

That’s a recurring theme of fear in my head when I am down.

So this morning when I woke up I found myself thinking of the extensive list of folks we’ve come across who are functional, successful adults who were homeschooled as children.

Some are now homeschooling their own children as second generation home educators. Most have their own businesses, and those businesses are outflows of their passions. They are mothers and fathers, realtors, scientists, artists, coffee roasters, dairy owners, ministers – all sorts of careers have come out of this educational choice that was highly suspicious twenty years ago (yet absolutely common place 100 years ago!).

I haven’t seen any of them wearing denim jumpers. And they’re not abnormally pale.

They are hilarious free thinkers, who consider the culture and look for opportunities to serve others.

Across the board they are people of principle; they consider where to invest their time and energy and have an ability to answer, “why?” they do what they do when asked.

They all used different curriculums as children and some were raised in the city, others the country. There is diversity within their interests and abilities. Their success is not because of any one plan of study, it’s because they were given the freedom to grow and mature in an environment that was largely free of the drama of peer pettiness.

They were “unsocialized.”

They give me hope.

They reinforce my belief that there is no one “perfect” path for this homeschooling journey. You find that path that fits your family best and you walk upon it, one step, one day, one lesson at a time.

And in the end, you see the rhyme and reason and marvel at how God has held your hand through the whole process.

And, until I reach that point with our own little people, I’ll continue to try to get my kid to stop layering his shorts over sweatpants. He thinks it’s a “cool” fashion statement.

I think it’s because he’s homeschooled.

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