The SuperFather-in-Law arrived from out of town last Thursday evening.  Real pleasure to have him down — the SuperHusband had seen him recently, but the kids and I hadn’t seen him since his last visit a couple years ago.  Lives too far for me to pile kids in a car and drive up; his HVAC business has been too busy (and short a bookkeeper) to take time off for traveling until now.

Friday we went for a walk as a family — lovely weather — and later in the afternoon grandpa did various activities with big kids.  Archery, pottering around the workshop, out for a few errands.  I realized sometime in the mid-afternoon — when we determined that we could not go down to the school playground to throw the new atlatl darts, because school was in session (but could borrow our neighbor’s yard, since he was at work) — that homeschooling was allowing our kids to spend time with their grandfather they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Saturday evening, the fabulous wonderful babysitter came and kept little girls while adults and big kids toured some historic homes downtown.  At one point in the tour the interpretive historian tells the kids rather dramatically, “And the children who lived here would not have gone to school, like children do today.  They would have been educated at home.”  No response from castle children.  Probably thinking something like, “And your point is . . .?”  Historian rephrases and repeats, trying to get through to the underage audience.  Mr. Boy finally manages a “Yeah.” Historian moves on to some other topic.

Monday, Father-in-Law heads home mid-morning, and SuperHusband volunteers to keep little girls while Mr. Boy & I go to the noon mass.  (Recap: SH is not catholic.  Not an HDO for him.)   We quick put on shoes and scramble into the car, kind of fun venturing off in the middle of weekday like this, just me and the boy, partners in faith.  See lots of familiar faces at mass, mostly retired, a few parents of some of the CCD kids, and one other homeschooling family.  (They blend in better, their youngest is in eigth grade.)  One or two mothers with preschoolers.

Got me thinking (yes, I should have been paying better attention at Mass) how fortunate I was to be there with my child, instead of my kids being off at school (even a catholic one) and me celebrating this feast alone.

***

None of this is exactly a reason to homeschool.   Parents who school-school their children also find ways to worship together, to try out new hobbies, to visit family.  All the same, I think it is one of the benefits of homeschooling, to be able to spend our days with our children, to order our school days around our life rather than our life around our school days, and to be, like my kids faced with the disappointed historian, convinced that this is perfectly normal, perfectly unsurprising.

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