Our children came to us from so many scattered places with so many challenges, we used our homeschool experience as an incubator to unify and nurture. Changes in our family always seem to come suddenly, one day learning the kids have to be pulled out of school for the baby to be in medical isolation, and another day learning we are cleared and they can all go back.
We still have some serious concerns about a few issues, specifically certain curriculum that we feel shifts from teaching to indoctrinating, on issues that are really serious.
That said, we believe in public education, know their teachers are amazing, and also understand our children must be in the world but not of it.
The world may be different and harsh and even more messed up than it was when we grew up, but that’s the same world they will be sent to as missionaries and live in as young adults with their own families.
It’s all so very tricksy, and people take sides quickly; we had no idea the homeschool question was so dramatically political.
Gathering our children home to us, keeping them in the womb of our little house was critical for us for a season. It grew us together. We dressed them alike to emphasize unity, and took them with us to appointments and hospitalizations as much as the fun adventures to develop attachment to each other. We consciously and intently became a family.
It taught us better parenting skills. It helped us organize ourselves, sacrificing part-time jobs for being present with each other like never before. It was good for us in ways we never expected, with improved behavior and intellectual advancement and catchup in many developmental areas they needed so desperately.
But when it was time for Mary to go to Deaf school, she was ready.
When it was time for Kirk to return to his school, he was ready.
And finally, today, when Alex was ready, so was I.
When our kids went back to school, they went back as a family.
When they ran in those doors this morning, they went in as brothers and friends.
I missed them.
Nathan didn’t, but I did.
The house was quiet, though their laughter still rang in the halls. Their chairs were empty, though their crayons still scattered the table. Their rooms were too clean, and I had too much time on my hands.
We got a lot done today, working at our day jobs without triplets in the background.
The preschoolers even helped mop the floors.
They got their lessons finished, helped run errands, and played outside with the baby. I made them lunch and put them down for naps and went back to paperwork and patients. I was dying for school to get out!
When it was finally time, I couldn’t walk all the way to the front door of the school like I used to do for them. They have matured and grown up and earned their independence. As much as their individuality now shines since we have blended together as one family, so have they grown and earned new freedoms by proving they can follow rules and be safe.
I want to hold their hands and kiss their cheeks, but instead they foot race girls on their bikes.
I want to give them everything, and do everything for them, but I know we have reached a new healthy normal and it is good and right they are free.
We are not finished, by any means, but they have had hard training and intense refinement. Their spirits and bodies have learned to work together, and this delights me. It’s time to let them try, to let them practice, to let them fail so that they will succeed.
We will return to our homeschool womb when summer comes, before afternoons in the sun. It will be a fine tuning for all of us. They will practice rules and task completion, and I will practice kindness and nurturing.
And then in fall, five of them will go together, when we have three second graders and two preK’ers.
This vision makes us rejoice, Nathan and me, though maybe for different reasons.