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They Grow Up and Leave Home: Sending Your Child to College

Homeschoolers seem to have one thing in common - they 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! In general, you're going to be sad when it is sending your child to college time. But like baby birds that fly the nest, when it's time, it's just time.

sending your child to college

They Grow Up and Leave Home: Sending Your Child to College



I was a little surprised by this article in the New York Times.  What an unfriendly title: Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home
"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."


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 there 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.

Are you sending your child to college this year? Have you already sent a child along to college? Please share!



Read what others are saying about The HomeScholar Gold Care Club!

Please note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Digging Into College Statistics
How Homeschoolers Measure Up: Comparing Percentile...
 

Comments 12

Guest - Sally Hess on Friday, 10 September 2010 18:32

Hi Lee,

As my son begins his senior year, this is very encouraging. Thank you!!!

Hi Lee, As my son begins his senior year, this is very encouraging. Thank you!!!
Guest - Lisa (website) on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:32

Great post! Gosh, what an unfriendly article by the New York Times. I'm thinking it might be better to have my kids do community college. When they go wherever to finish up, they will by then be full-on adults and we should have our "detaching" and adult relationships in place. I understand the colleges' need to get on with school, but their approach seems to place parents and children at odds right from the get-go.

Great post! Gosh, what an unfriendly article by the New York Times. I'm thinking it might be better to have my kids do community college. When they go wherever to finish up, they will by then be full-on adults and we should have our "detaching" and adult relationships in place. I understand the colleges' need to get on with school, but their approach seems to place parents and children at odds right from the get-go.
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:49

Hi Lisa!
Watch out for community college too! You might want to look at this article: http://www.thehomescholar.com/community-college-fad.php. Just keep your eyes wide open when comparing your options
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Lisa! Watch out for community college too! You might want to look at this article: http://www.thehomescholar.com/community-college-fad.php. Just keep your eyes wide open when comparing your options :) Blessings, Lee
Guest - elise on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 18:04

So timely, Lee, as a Yahoo homeschool group I belong to has had a very popular thread going on "homeschool moms put out to pasture" about what it will be like when the kids leave home. What were your favorite books for preparing the kids with a solid worldview (besides the Bible, the best book, of course!). I remember seeing Don't Check your Brain at the Door and I Kissed Dating Goodbye on your booklist...got any other favorites?
Thanks again for every one of your articles...they're SO helpful!

So timely, Lee, as a Yahoo homeschool group I belong to has had a very popular thread going on "homeschool moms put out to pasture" about what it will be like when the kids leave home. What were your favorite books for preparing the kids with a solid worldview (besides the Bible, the best book, of course!). I remember seeing Don't Check your Brain at the Door and I Kissed Dating Goodbye on your booklist...got any other favorites? Thanks again for every one of your articles...they're SO helpful!
Guest - Sheri (website) on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:16

It's funny Lee, I still have four at home, and I got two dogs this year so I wouldn't feel so lonely! I would rather adopt kids...but hubby needs to be on board for that!

It's funny Lee, I still have four at home, and I got two dogs this year so I wouldn't feel so lonely! I would rather adopt kids...but hubby needs to be on board for that! :D
Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:38
Elise, We also used and loved "Understanding the Times" http://www.amazon.com/dp/0936163003/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=thehom-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0936163003&adid=08K4RHYRJ0FZZKBZ0GQJ Blessings, Lee
Guest - June on Saturday, 06 July 2013 05:33

Dear Lee,
Thank you for this article. Having graduated the younger of my 2 daughters last month and completing 15 years of homeschooling, I had been thinking that I need to go ahead and discontinue my various email subscriptions, yahoo groups, blogs, etc. but I'm glad I hadn't yet unsubscribed to yours quite yet! Thank you for all the help you have been to me in homeschooling both my daughters through high school. The older one has done very well in her first 2 years of college (including being on President's List and Dean's List!) and I am trusting God will similarly grace her younger sister as she embarks on her college journey this fall. I am prepared to be a little sad with the "empty nest"; but like you, I am mostly happy and proud of them!

Dear Lee, Thank you for this article. Having graduated the younger of my 2 daughters last month and completing 15 years of homeschooling, I had been thinking that I need to go ahead and discontinue my various email subscriptions, yahoo groups, blogs, etc. but I'm glad I hadn't yet unsubscribed to yours quite yet! Thank you for all the help you have been to me in homeschooling both my daughters through high school. The older one has done very well in her first 2 years of college (including being on President's List and Dean's List!) and I am trusting God will similarly grace her younger sister as she embarks on her college journey this fall. I am prepared to be a little sad with the "empty nest"; but like you, I am mostly happy and proud of them!
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:50

June,
I'm so glad you were encouraged! I have a packing list for college that might be helpful too
College Packing List
http://www.thehomescholar.com/college-packing-list.php
Blessings,
Lee

June, I'm so glad you were encouraged! I have a packing list for college that might be helpful too :) College Packing List http://www.thehomescholar.com/college-packing-list.php Blessings, Lee
Guest - Lisa on Thursday, 27 November 2014 06:25

Thank you for this article today. You've helped me through the high school years more than you could realize!!

Thank you for this article today. You've helped me through the high school years more than you could realize!!
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Thursday, 27 November 2014 13:43

Dear Lisa,
That's why Lee does what she does!
Blessings!
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Lisa, That's why Lee does what she does! Blessings! Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Karen on Monday, 04 May 2015 18:51

Thank you for the article Lee. Sorry for the lengthy comment.

My only son has been off at college 2 full years now, so time has given me perspective and softened the memories of that separation. I wish I'd read some sort of guide on what to expect in the way of the separation and my emotions. But 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. On move-in day, after we all set up his room (all the freshmen families were doing it at this college), it was a kiss and a hug and he was off to attend some welcome activity. He was full of excitement for the future that lay ahead, just as he should have been. I was excited too, until he walked away and disappeared into the crowd. I kept it together until we got out of town, and then the feelings began to pour out. I remember being kind of weepy and numb for a few weeks. It felt like a loss. While he was adjusting to his new life, I was adjusting to mine. I had to learn to deal with the quiet at home, cooking less, the empty room, and not having him there to talk with or hug any time. It's hard, especially when you and your children are close. I missed mothering. I missed homeschooling. It was like I had just been retired from a job that I loved.

What evolved over time was a new kind of life for both of us. While he was joining clubs and learning the in's and out's of college life, I found the time and opportunity to do some new activities I'd been putting off. I took some classes and renewed some friendships that had waned. Getting to this new "normal" didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. Now, two years later, he calls most nights, just to check in on us and share his day. I celebrate his triumphs and listen closely when he shares a difficulty. He figures things out just fine with the skills he learned in his childhood. But knowing that he's making his way in the world reaffirms the good job I did.

While I'm not big on negative labels like velcro mom, dragon mom, helicopter mom, I am looking forward to some of the labels that will be coming soon enough, like: the graduate's mother, mother of the groom, mother-in-law and grandma! Now those are labels I like.

BTW, one of our favorite books was Blake Mykowskie's Start Something that Matters, about social entrepreneurship.

Thank you for the article Lee. Sorry for the lengthy comment. My only son has been off at college 2 full years now, so time has given me perspective and softened the memories of that separation. I wish I'd read some sort of guide on what to expect in the way of the separation and my emotions. But 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. On move-in day, after we all set up his room (all the freshmen families were doing it at this college), it was a kiss and a hug and he was off to attend some welcome activity. He was full of excitement for the future that lay ahead, just as he should have been. I was excited too, until he walked away and disappeared into the crowd. I kept it together until we got out of town, and then the feelings began to pour out. I remember being kind of weepy and numb for a few weeks. It felt like a loss. While he was adjusting to his new life, I was adjusting to mine. I had to learn to deal with the quiet at home, cooking less, the empty room, and not having him there to talk with or hug any time. It's hard, especially when you and your children are close. I missed mothering. I missed homeschooling. It was like I had just been retired from a job that I loved. What evolved over time was a new kind of life for both of us. While he was joining clubs and learning the in's and out's of college life, I found the time and opportunity to do some new activities I'd been putting off. I took some classes and renewed some friendships that had waned. Getting to this new "normal" didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. Now, two years later, he calls most nights, just to check in on us and share his day. I celebrate his triumphs and listen closely when he shares a difficulty. He figures things out just fine with the skills he learned in his childhood. But knowing that he's making his way in the world reaffirms the good job I did. While I'm not big on negative labels like velcro mom, dragon mom, helicopter mom, I am looking forward to some of the labels that will be coming soon enough, like: the graduate's mother, mother of the groom, mother-in-law and grandma! Now those are labels I like. BTW, one of our favorite books was Blake Mykowskie's Start Something that Matters, about social entrepreneurship.
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 16:09

Oh Karen!

I think we all feel a bitter sweet mix of sadness and victory when our children graduate. I love the idea of looking forward to those next "labels"! Thank you for sharing!
Blessings,
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Oh Karen! I think we all feel a bitter sweet mix of sadness and victory when our children graduate. I love the idea of looking forward to those next "labels"! Thank you for sharing! Blessings, Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
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