My goal is a close-knit family. Children who long to be home, who miss their siblings, who breathe a sigh of relief when they enter the haven of our home. While homeschooling seems to be one method that achieves this, how can I use my own situation (kids attending public school) to benefit in some other way?
I don't believe that I have to settle for a lesser result. In fact, I think having the kids attending school can actually create just as strong a family bond, if I use the rest of the time wisely. You see, by being away for five hours a day, the kids will see a sharp contrast between home and away. Just as "absence makes the heart grow fonder" that time away from each other will increase their desire to play with each other.
It means that I have to guard carefully that time. If they have seen their friends for five hours at school, then I don't need to feel the pressure to ferry the kids around to play dates or host an endless stream of friends. When they return home, we need to gather to work and play together, engaging in activity and recreation that is fun and encourages being together, not apart.
I want to find our family "thing." I want to foster each of our personal interests, but I want to find something that we all enjoy together, that we engage in regularly, and that ties us together. We haven't found it yet, I think mostly because having little babies makes it difficult for everyone to participate in many things. But I do know we love to hike and Geocache and camp, and we love making music (singing and instrumental.) We've also played lots of baseball and board games and have made some fun movies with the kids.
I want to keep our home setting simple and uncluttered from too much stuff. I want to encourage movement and flow throughout the rooms rather than everyone disappearing off into their own corner. While the introvert in me cringes at the bombardment of noise, a part of me understands that it means we are all here and present and engaging with each other.
I want to value work and teach that value to my children. We have an allotment of time in our life and I hope we live it out to the fullest and not idle it away in "bread and circus" living.
During the teen years, the struggle for personal identity begins, and I think that, for many, it never ends. I feel that through my 20s I was able to become comfortable with who I am as an individual. Now in my 30s I am realizing that I need to be comfortable with my family identity also. There is not one mould into which we all need to fit. There are many paths that lead to the vision of family I have. I need to choose the right one for my family and not be caught up in how others are getting there. And I need to encourage, not judge, the different paths others are on as we take this parenting trek together.