Homeschoolers LOVE their children. They love having children, they love being around their children, and they love having their children live at home. I'm not implying for a moment that their children are perfectly behaved, or that everything is always blissful. I've BEEN a homeschool parent, so I KNOW that isn't true! But in general, there are some pretty big feelings when you see your children leave. You may be sad, but like baby birds that fly the nest, when it's time, it's just time.
I was a little surprised by an article in the New York Times a few years ago. What an unfriendly title: Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home. From the article:
"As the latest wave of superinvolved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day, normally one of high emotion, activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging 'Velcro parents' to back off so students can develop independence." --Trip Gabriel
I remember sending my children to college - both of them at once. As a parent, saying goodbye was emotional, but mostly I just felt proud.
When my son Kevin got married, I thought I would cry a lot. I came prepared with fancy hankies and packages of Kleenex, just to be safe. But you know what? I wasn't sad! I was just HAPPY all day long, even during the ceremony. I didn't cry at all. It was interesting. My husband didn't cry either (another surprise). Our overwhelming emotion was joy. After four years of dating and four years of college, we had already said our goodbyes, moved him away from home, and had complete confidence in his choice of a spouse. All that was left was happiness.
When you are sending your child to college, it's just one step on their path to independence. Other steps follow: The first summer they live away from home. Their first post-college apartment. The first holiday away from home, or with in-laws. Saying goodbye at college is important, just as important as the other goodbyes. Each step has its own emotions, ranging from tears to relief.
I did notice one thing as I said my goodbyes to both my sons at college: I had no regrets. I knew without a doubt they were academically prepared. I knew they were prepared for any possible assault on their worldview. I knew that I had shaped and molded their character and behaviors to the best of my ability. Their lives were now up to them. As the above article implies, ALL parents have deep emotions when they are sending kids to college, not just homeschoolers. Velcro parents happen across the spectrum of educational backgrounds! Homeschooling high school can minimize your regrets, however. With the ability to shape and mold character while educating, your children will have the best possible chance of success. Letting go can come with no regrets!
When sending your children off into the world, I have two pieces of advice:
1. Keep your five year plan in mind. In five years, you want to have a happy, healthy, close extended family. When conflict occurs during college, keep that five year plan in mind.
2. Step in only when kids are being life-threateningly stupid. They will make poor choices, but they can learn from them just like you and I do every day. The only time you need to step in is when they are being dangerously dumb. Believe me ... it happens. Not often, but it happens.
Plan ahead for the sweet parting as your child leaves the nest. You can make some purchases during senior year sales, to save money on college expenses in the coming year. What does your student need to move from homeschool to college? Download my packing list to get:
✅ Tips & Recommendations to make getting the move easier and faster.
✅ Money-saving Ideas to get the most out of limited resources and time.
✅ Experienced Advice to avoid the mistakes we made when it was our turn.
Use the list for birthdays, Christmas, and gift-giving ideas for grandma. Click to download your Free Printable College Packing List.
Are you dealing with the dreaded "empty nest" after homeschooling high school? You will love, Letting Go after Homeschooling High School: How to Successfully Launch Adult Children (or Die Trying!). It's important to think about, because as a client, Karen, shared with me, "We were so busy being excited on college visits, acceptances, decisions, shopping, and preparing him for college, I forgot to prepare ME for college. I never stopped to dream up what my life would be like after he left, or to pray for grace to move through the process bravely."
Letting Go After Homeschooling High School is one of my Coffee Break Books, designed especially for parents who don't want to spend hours and hours reading a research report or dry textbooks. Each book has a practical and friendly approach with detailed but easy-to-digest information, perfect to read over a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop. Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give parents the tools they need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time. Available in both Kindle and paperback versions at Amazon HERE.
Are you sending your child to college this year? Have you already sent a child along to college? Please share!