That day nearly six years ago is still clear in my head. Andrew and Nolan, our two oldest sons, were at school. Our little guy, Dylan, was in preschool and very close to going to school full time. We had worked so hard to build the life of time and money freedom. And, we were fortunate that we did it while working from home with the kids.
That wasn’t considered ‘homeschooling.’ That was called ‘raising your kids before they go to formal school.’ Apparently, in our culture, they are not the same. With all three in school, time freed up. Everything we’d looked forward to- free time, time to dive into work uninterrupted, long lunches by ourselves, coffee with friends, was right in front of us. And the quiet- oh the glorious quiet.
But this day felt different. It didn’t feel as exciting as we thought it would feel. The night before was hectic. Even for 1st and 3rd grade, the kids were buried in homework, and it consumed our evening. We didn’t go for a walk and play in the yard like we normally did. It was a gorgeous late summer evening and we were inside following the school rules, after these kids had been following the school rules all day.
We built the life for ourselves. But we were sending our kids on the exact opposite path. In one fell swoop, we got total freedom but they lost theirs. That’s life, some would say. Suck it up and deal with it- this is the real world. Except, we knew it from experience that it didn’t have to be.
A few months later, after increased frustration, we talked with our friends, Ken and Teresa Carfagno. The Carfagnos homeschooled their four (now five) kids, and he made it sound so different than the nerdy, socially awkward and out of touch thing I thought it was. After a few personal, deep conversations about what life in homeschooling was really like, Elizabeth and I decided that we were giving up our newfound ‘freedom’ for the sake of our kids and family.
Six years later, it’s possible that this was the best choice we’ve ever made. The bond that we have formed as a family, the experiences that we’ve been able to do together, the conversations that would never have been had with our children. I could go on and on for hours, but I won’t.
I am writing this to you on Wednesday morning, as we self quarantine in Hilton Head, South Carolina. There are worse places to lay low. We are at the end of our annual winter tour, where we travel the country as a family exploring the world. Actually- it looks like we’ll be extending the trip and staying longer to avoid the madness. Twist my arm, please.
And for years, to most of our family and many friends, we were the weird ones because we homeschooled. I think we’re pretty cool parents, but homeschool comes with the vision of people making their own clothes and wearing tin foil hats or something like that.
But all of a sudden- with the coronavirus spreading and schools closing- we’re all going to be homeschoolers for a while. And we, of course, are getting tons of questions from parents who are freaked out. Some already run their businesses from home, some are forced to work from home, and some who are seeing a reduction in work. And they don’t know how to balance it all. So many tell me that they would love to homeschool, but don’t know how and don’t think they are ready.
So Elizabeth and I have been taking notes on this for years, with plans to write a book and teach others about this. We didn’t know if we were ready for that either. But there is nothing like the present to get started.
So if you find yourself homeschooling your kids out of nowhere, or if you have been planning or thinking about homeschooling, Elizabeth and I are doing a FREE Q&A call tomorrow- Thursday. March 19th at 11am EST. It will be live, we will be explaining a little of our journey and answering your questions. If you would like to join us, please sign up for the call here! It’s totally free! It’s something we’re so excited to do and to help, and we hope to see you there!