It’s the May long weekend, the holiday Monday, and I am home alone. My husband is working, helping the neighbours get the last of their crop in before the rain comes. My youngest is at Grandma’s house, planting potatoes and rafting in the slough with his cousin. The oldest two are at a friend’s. They took their dad’s old Browning and the bows and they are out to get them some gophers. Pesky critters.

I am home alone. And I’m thinking of my friend, Anne, who I’ve been avoiding lately. Hello, Anne. My friend and I are trying to do some writing together. We’re trying to write about our boys and our homeschooling years and being a mom through it all, and it’s been hard. The ideas are rolling around, but the corralling of them, and the writing of them – not so easy.

A few weeks ago we gave ourselves an assignment. We decided we would each write about why we decided to homeschool. You know, way back when. And I’ve been wondering why this has been such a hard thing for me to do?

I have been homeschooling children forever. My oldest son is seventeen. I have one year left with him and then, poof. He’s done. We’re done. And I’m struggling with that a little, I think. As I’m trying to think back over the years to the mom I was when we began this journey, well, she sometimes seems like a stranger to me. And the reasons for the beginning are not the same as the reasons for the continuing or the finishing. And, really, as homeschoolers – what does finishing really mean?

Because how do I measure success? I have no idea how things would have turned out for us if we had not been homeschoolers. I can’t see how it might have been. I only see what is. And the truth is, it’s not perfect. I make mistakes and my kids do, too. Imagine.

Why do I homeschool? Here’s my short answer. Relationship.

As I near the end of my homeschooling years with my biggest boy, I am thankful for the shared time, shared space, shared words, and shared working-it-through experiences that we have accumulated together through the years. Because what that has resulted in, I think, is a unique relationship.

I think that I have a unique and interesting relationship with my almost-grown son because we chose to homeschool.

There’s nothing magical about it, really. It’s more a mathematical thing. I just know that my relationship with him (with all of them, and they with each other) is different than it would have been if he’d been traditionally schooled.

I cringe a little as I say these things. Because I don’t want anyone to feel judged, or to think that I consider myself better than anyone else IN ANY WAY. Most of my friends, all of whom I consider great parents and who have great kids, do not homeschool. So, while my short answer is relationship, the main answer for why we are a homeschooling family is because I feel God made us this way. It just seems right for us. The lifestyle, the way we live, the simplicity of it – it fits us. And because we are all uniquely made, I accept that homeschooling doesn’t fit everyone.

We homeschool because it feels right. How’s that for an airy, artsy, non-substantive answer?

Because homeschooling can be such a divisive topic, I haven’t blogged about it much. But the truth is, lately people have been asking. And I’ve been pondering, and Anne is waiting for my words. So, this is a start.