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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Surviving Back-To-School Season as a Homeschooler

Back to School Photos and ads are already popping up on my newsfeed, how about you?

"Back-to-School" season can be exciting! We organize our homeschool areas and find great deals on those much needed homeschool essentials.  Back-to-School Season can also be bit of  a challenge for us as homeschoolers, because it clearly highlights our different lifestyle.

Homeschooling is lifestyle choice, not just an educational choice.  Even if you only plan to homeschool for a year, it goes against the mainstream and changes more in your life than you first expect.  Living a different lifestyle from others can be just plain hard sometimes, especially at the beginning. 

If you ae struggling during this time of year, please remember that Back-to-School  is a RETAIL SEASON, and just like every other retail season in America, it will come at us from all sides. In a retail season it is an advertiser's job to create a "want" where there wasn't one before. We will see those cute new backpacks as we grocery shop and our news-feed will start filling up with smiling kids in their new gear on their first day of school. 

Don't get me wrong, I wish all the happiness on those smiling faces getting on buses with their new clothes and backpacks!  I also that understand the hype needed to happen to get those smiling faces excited to end summer.

Even though I sincerely wish the best for those smiling faces, most homeschoolers don't buy our kids the new shiny  lunchboxes and new uniforms.  Instead we spend hours making copies and sharpening pencils, and in my case, trying to get my kids to change out of their pajamas to get a "first day of school" picture at 4:30pm on sometimes the 3rd day of school!

The biggest challenge I face during Back-to-School season has nothing to do with  sale on glue sticks, but how homeschooling subtly shifts some of my friendships. The conversations in my group of friends changes, from summer plans to their kids' classroom assignments. They start sharing countdowns until they get their school year "free time" back, and celebration videos of the kids getting on the bus while I'm neck deep in high school transcripts planning and science curriculum research. 

My public school friends will change their routine again, and our friendships again change.  There is nothing wrong with their routine or conversations, but we have less in common and less time together during this season, which can be hard,

Back-To-School Season highlights that I have a different lifestyle than many of my friends. And that is OK. I still love them, and they love me. We have a different routine, but WE HAVE THE SAME GOAL.  We all love our kids and just want them to be the best version of themselves they can be. I am challenging myself NOW not to become defensive or hurt by the back to school celebrations. I am also praying for compassion for those public school friends who also become defensive in response to my choice to homeschool.

One practical way I commit to celebrate the back-to-school pictures on social media is to take a moment to pray for each of the children, or family, that shows up in my news-feed in their brand new backpacks.  I want to pray for their teacher, their parents, and their school year.

My boys may one day marry one of these beautiful public school girls, or become best friends with a public school boy.  I must stop looking at my own insecurities, and look at the amazing children who will change our world one day, public school and homeschooled alike.



First Day of School Scavenger Hunt with Printable 

Security in My Choice to Homeschool