Our Pastor spoke Sunday on how we are are to be different from the world and how that difference should make the world different. We, as Christians, should be a little strange, set apart to be a light. As homeschoolers, that difference is intensified. We are walking a path that’s less traveled, less mainstream, less normal. Sometimes, it seems downright odd.

When we first start homeschooling, whether that be at the start of formal schooling or in the midst of their education, one of the worries is whether our kids will be normal, will they fit in, or are we making them social outcasts? I think every single homeschool parent has had these worries and, if we are honest, we think about it again at the start of middle school, during high school and when we graduate them and they start making their way into the world. We want them to belong, to have friends, to have community. Homeschooling seems to fly opposite of those wants and wishes.

However, after 15 years of homeschooling and having a kid in College and 2 as Juniors in high school, I have come to a realization. My kids are not normal and I am really happy about that.

1. My kids are free to be who God designed them to be.

When my kids were little, they each had a style that seemed to fly in the face of fashion. Connor loved really bright colors and wore them together. The more neon the better. As a matter of fact, my 6’4 introverted Computer Science Engineer still loves bright colors. He loves his bright blue, green, coral and burgundy pants and wears them all the time. He stands out in a sea of blue, beige and black in the Engineering College. Caileigh loved to wear all the patterns, all the time, together. Polka dots, stripes, paisley, all together on her tiny, petite frame. Collin liked all of his clothes to have numbers on them. If there wasn’t a number on his shirt, his Grammy ironed them on. They liked what they liked and they were free to do so.

Now, this plays out in who they are. Girls aren’t supposed to like machining and fabrication? Caileigh has never been told that and she loves it, so she machines. Collin seems to just gather the best and the brightest around him without even thinking about it all while being the “Dad” friend. You know, the friend that is the moral compass of the entire group. One of our beloved Bible Bowl Coaches mentioned this to me recently. He just said that he loved how the homeschoolers in our group just seem to be free to be who they are. His kids were all in traditional school throughout, but he said loves to watch the homeschoolers just be who God made them to be regardless of what others think of that. Blue hair? Fine. Take charge of the group to plan on how to maximize their time to ride all the roller coasters? Great, let’s do it. Knit and program a piano scarf to actually play music.? Perfect. Have the worst puns ever, but make everyone happy to be with them? What fun!

2. They know how to interact with others of all ages.

My kids know how to talk to adults, to kids their age and to little ones. When we do a co-op or get together with friends for a game night, we invariably have a wide age range. Everything from a baby or toddler and a grandparent or two. You just never know, and they are comfortable with all of them. The segregation of people based on age seems odd and pointless to them. Our friend’s Grandpa always has a fun math riddle or game for them and if a toddler or baby shows up, then someone gets to hold the baby or play Legos. It’s a win-win situation. All age groups have a benefit to them.

3. They love each other and love to spend time with each other. They seem to even like us!

Just like all kids, they had their spats and fights, but we always stressed that if they couldn’t be each other’s best friends, then outside play dates were cancelled. There were years that we had to work through Peacemaking for Families, but they learned how to handle conflict appropriately and learned to pick their battles. Now, they love to spend time with each other. Nothing makes this Mom’s heart happier than to see them all huddled together talking and laughing. They choose to go to movies or dinner together, inviting other friends too, but often just the three of them. I love that. Connor even invites us to go to events with his college friends. Scott went to a midnight movie with Connor and his entire Engineering Honors Dorm. Just Scott and all the college students. It didn’t even seem to faze Connor, he wanted his Dad to go, so Connor invited him. That’s not normal, but it is beautiful! His college friends say that our entire family are just clones of each other. I don’t know what they means, but I think it’s good.

4. They know what they believe and are firm in that.

When Connor went to his first year in College, living in an Engineering Honors Dorm in a large secular public university, I was a little concerned. When Caileigh and Collin started spending 30-40 hours a week at Robotics and were the only homeschoolers, I was concerned. I knew we had taught them well, I knew we prayed over them, I knew they understood the difference between right and wrong, but how would that hold out against the world around them? God had them, He didn’t need my worry or concern. Connor spent a summer at MIT interning and found a good, theologically sound church and went by himself and stood firm. Caileigh and Collin have a great time at Robotics but they hold firm and aren’t afraid to speak their mind if it’s necessary. They haven’t been swayed, their faith is their own.

Some resources that helped us teach our kids how to hold firm –

Does God Exist

Who Is God?

5. They love to learn.

Let’s be clear, they don’t always love school, but they love to learn. Caileigh spends a lot of her free time listening to science podcasts while drawing, Collin reads BBC religiously and Connor still asks me to find “good” books on his college subjects. They take on subjects themselves that have nothing to do with school just because they are interested. A comic book that also teaches Computer Science? They read all of them. I don’t see many other kids actively searching to learn new things just because they are interested. That’s not normal, but it’s wonderful.

Normality is highly overrated. I love that my kids aren’t normal. I love that they get to be who they were designed to be. I love that they stand out in a crowd. I love that they are challenged to do hard things, to go the extra mile. They don’t stop from doing something just because no one else is doing it. They are their own people.

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