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For those on the fence.

The truth is that people don't homeschool because they would rather go to work than be with kids all day. --Penelope Trunk

I don't think this is true. No.

I can't. You see, I have an abiding respect for the dignity of the child. I believe in the nobility of the child. I know that children--if you bother to get to know them instead of who they become when they're in 'get the lessons done' mode--children are really interesting and they have great ideas and they want to do really big things. And they're good company, besides. And they're funny and they're truthful.

I can not, for the life of me, imagine that those traits are hard to see. I can not imagine that an adult would send a child away because they didn't want to be around a being who was trailing clouds of glory. For the sake of a paycheck and adult conversation? No. I don't think that's why most people don't homeschool. I have more faith in my fellow human beings than that. It's almost a slander, I think, and I won't believe it about them.

What I do think is that people are afraid. They're afraid that they didn't learn much in school and that they won't be able to teach their children jack. Or at least not well. They're afraid they'll screw it all up. So they're willing to put their children into the same place that made them come away feeling too uneducated to teach a six-year-old. You see the irony.

I mean, this also puzzles me, but somewhat less. We're creatures of habit. If everyone else is doing it then it must be the right thing. Right? Go along to get along. Like the Germans before WWII. Just keep your head low and everything will be okay. Don't make yourself a target. Do you see the fear?

Most people don't homeschool because of fear. Fear of judgement by their peers, fear of being a tall poppy, fear of going against the grain, fear of getting it wrong. And I feel pity for people who are afraid. That's the right response. Pity. I suppose all of those things could be pretty bad.

But none of them, not one, and not even all of them put together are as bad as this: regretting the time you didn't have with your child. Regretting the relationship you didn't forge while she was home with you. This is a regret most homeschooling parents don't feel.

Do we take chances? Yes, we do. Could it go badly off the rails? You bet. But we drink deep, don't we? We get to know our children and they get to know us. We have memories that won't go away and not just a pinched pocket full of them. So many memories that our hearts and our arms can barely hold them all. And the arms of our children are filled with them, too. Lest we think it's all about us. It's not. They have this treasure, too.

Our children are family in a profound way that is only understood by those who live--day in and day out--with their children. Really. Until you're doing it, you don't get it. All things are not equal. This is not quality time. This is quantity time and plenty of it. It is radically different.

They live with us. They Live with us. It is not tidy. It is relentless and intimate and we breathe them in. All. Day. Long. Every day. They are in our faces and their voices ring in our ears and their mess is all around us. This glorious childhood flows through our life together.

And thank God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be fearless instead of missing this.

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