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    by Published on 03-07-2016 11:02 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. In Other Words,
    4. Parenting
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    To interact with Dale's original forum post, click here.


    Hi everybody! Iím Dale McGowan, author/editor of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers. Thanks for inviting me as a featured poster.

    When Topsy asked what topic Iíd like to start with, the question of identity and community came to mind immediately.

    About five years ago, I posted this question on the Parenting Beyond Belief Facebook page: ďHow do you help your kids achieve a sense of belonging?Ē Iíd been thinking about this as my son Connor entered high school. He seemed a little disconnected from others in an unhelpful way.

    The comment thread quickly exploded into two camps. Some expressed outrage at the question. It brings to mind tribalism, division, us vs. them. One said, ďThis doesnít sound like something an atheist parent should even ask! It sounds like a question from a religious parent!Ē Another said it was ďVery disappointing. Iím a member of the human race, thatís all I need.Ē ...
    by Published on 10-12-2015 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling,
    3. Parenting
    preparing-homeschool-empty-nest-syndrome-jpg

    To join the discussion on this subject, head to the original post in the forum.


    You wish for it with every breath. You pray for it to whatever god, rock, or spaghetti monster will listen. You hide in the closet in hopes that you might remember what it sounds like.

    Silence.

    But for the homeschool parent, itís as elusive as Sasquatch or Nessie. Possibly even a figment of your imagination, since you canít remember the last time it actually made an appearance in your house.

    UntilÖ..
    [cut to the inside of my house this morning]
    Iím typing furiously on my keyboard, answering one of the many emails I received since I last logged in. The hubs and my son who still lives at home have both long since left for work. The dogs (both in their twilight years) are lightly snoring on their respective beds. The only sound I hear outside of the clacking of my own fingers hitting the computer keys is the squeak of the mail truck pulling up to the curb. My heart leaps. I jump up excitedly and wave to our carrier from the window. Not because heís brought anything important, mind you, but just because heís there. A hit of the drug I didnít even know I would become addicted to - - human connection.

    Thereís just something about homeschooling, isnít there? Beyond the learning together, the frustrating battles of wills, and the spontaneous laughter. Beyond the financial sacrifices, the messy rooms, and the late night discussions. Itís that connection - - that complicated camaraderie - - that surprises you most. And when the end of it looms near, thereís only so much you can do to prepare.

    But prepare we must. Because Iím convinced there is no empty nest syndrome like Homeschool Empty Nest Syndrome. One minute you are up to your eyeballs in glue sticks, map outlines, and high school transcript drafts. And the next minute you are finding excuses to wake up your dog to have someone to talk to. Those maddening, curious, magnificent kids whoíve turned our lives upside down are going to leave us. What are we supposed to do to be ready for that?

    Trudge through those memories (and STUFF!) together
    Take some family time as their months with you wind down to pare down the homeschool paraphernalia. Going through all those old books, papers, and projects is balm for the soul, a

    ...
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