Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,728
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Preparing for H.E.N.S. (Homeschool Empty Nest Syndrome)

    Preparing for H.E.N.S. (Homeschool Empty Nest Syndrome)
    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 reminder of how much youíve all accomplished, and an opportunity to share your favorite memories of the journey.

    Take a vacation together
    As soon as the homeschool graduation decorations come down, pull out the travel brochures, and plan at least a few days of true family fun. Whether your budget will only allow for a weekend camp-out, or you can splurge on an adventure youíve bucket-listed, that kind of purposeful getaway will be like a nicotine patch on your memory bank when theyíve said their goodbyes.

    Buy them a prepaid phone plan for their graduation present
    Iím totally serious.The fact that you are paying for the minutes and data means they should feel just obligated enough to contact you regularly with it. And if not, donít hesitate to make it clear exactly what they owe you for your generosity.

    Take advantage of that homeschool spirit
    Youíve said it all along. Learning is for a lifetime. And now that you have time to learn beyond the confines of Minecraft, dinosaurs, and english lit, DO IT! Make a bucket list of everything you want to learn about when there isnít a child-led interest, a grade, or a transcript involved.

    [cut to your house in ___ months/years]
    Youíre almost two chapters into your book before you realize you havenít had a single interruption, or heard a single argument since you began. You feel immensely grateful. And yet, the tears appear out of nowhere. You and this silence thing. Itís going to be a complicated camaraderie.



    It's time to share your story. Your thoughts. Your feelings. About what it is/will be like to deal with the "aftermath" of homeschooling. Let's help each other through this thing!!


  2. Ratings Request Leaderboard
  3. #2

    Default

    Topsy,

    I thought about this today while 6 hours on the road to and from a college visit with my son. His sister left this fall for college and he leaves next fall, so it's happening very quickly around here.

    Coincidentally enough, my husband, son, and I are planning one last vacation with just the three of us. (DD is hoping to study abroad this summer.) Strangely enough, ds wants to go hike Death Valley; he enjoys the quiet and desolation!! So anyway, we're hoping to build yet even more memories there.

    I'm torn in feelings. I'm really happy and excited for both kids with this new stage in their lives. They are so eager and hopeful. But it is also sad, because other than some college breaks, I know they are never coming back, not even to live nearby. They won't find their occupational futures here, and that's okay.

    Like Shoe said in another post, we work so hard to make them independent, confident, and responsible,....and then we have to let go. On the positive side, with social media, cell phones, and texting, it IS so much easier to see what is going on in my daughter's life than when I went to college 30 years ago.

    Personally, I'm hoping to pick up some college instructor work, even part time. Dh has worked so hard for so long in order that I could stay home to homeschool, I'd love it if he could cut back, maybe with the dream of semi-retiring early. We want to travel as well, so I also have that to look forward to. I know for certain that I'm not going to rattle around in this quiet house---I'd go nuts!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3
    Senior Member Arrived Avalon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    AB
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    I'm having an early preview right now. My daughter started high school last month and I feel like I lost my best friend. I didn't even realize how much of my day was taken up with her, but boy are things quiet and lonely without her. I was so used to knowing every single thing she did that it's a bit like torture to hear only snippets of her day, not knowing who her friends & classmates are, not knowing her teachers, etc., etc, etc.

    My son is still home, but he's not as demanding as she is, and he spends a lot of time just reading or on the computer, so there are hours and hours sometimes when I feel like I don't even need to be here. I'm trying to find some new things for him to do (and for me to do), but we're both feeling a little lost without her energy around here.

    Part of me wants to just make the leap, send him to school, too, and go off to work. At the very least, I feel like I need a new hobby or interest, but I can't for the life of me figure out what that might be. I'm at a bit of a crossroads here. I'll be home with my son for one or two more years, but what will I do then? Definitely feeling lost.

    Sometimes I wonder if I have an unhealthy connection/attachment to my kids. Do other parents find separation this painful? I don't think I'm holding them back or clinging or helicoptering or interfering in their lives. I'm trying to be very grown up and encourage them to do what they want/need, but inside, I just want to squish them back down to 10-year-old size and keep them there.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Arrived
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    2,010

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    Topsy,

    I thought about this today while 6 hours on the road to and from a college visit with my son. His sister left this fall for college and he leaves next fall, so it's happening very quickly around here.

    Coincidentally enough, my husband, son, and I are planning one last vacation with just the three of us. (DD is hoping to study abroad this summer.) Strangely enough, ds wants to go hike Death Valley; he enjoys the quiet and desolation!! So anyway, we're hoping to build yet even more memories there.
    We had planned a last vacation with the whole family this past summer, but because both kids ended up getting jobs, they couldn't come. The family tradition that had been our standard vacation for the last 12 years or more just wasn't the same without them. Both my wife and I agreed that we have to make new traditions and that that former beautiful period in our lives has reached its natural conclusion.

    I'm torn in feelings. I'm really happy and excited for both kids with this new stage in their lives. They are so eager and hopeful. But it is also sad, because other than some college breaks, I know they are never coming back, not even to live nearby. They won't find their occupational futures here, and that's okay.
    Perfectly stated!

    On the positive side, with social media, cell phones, and texting, it IS so much easier to see what is going on in my daughter's life than when I went to college 30 years ago
    My son currently doesn't have a phone available (one of the things we didn't consider when sending him to school across international borders, although hopefully we'll resolve this issue soon), so I've actually considered signing up for FaceBook again just to have more contact with hi. Right now, we exchange weekly e-mails as our only form of communication. It's kind of nice in that there is a considered depth to our conversations that is not present with live talk...but I do miss his voice.
    Just call me Shoe...
    Previously homeschooled our son and daughter (both now in university)

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    2,010

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
    Sometimes I wonder if I have an unhealthy connection/attachment to my kids. Do other parents find separation this painful? I don't think I'm holding them back or clinging or helicoptering or interfering in their lives. I'm trying to be very grown up and encourage them to do what they want/need, but inside, I just want to squish them back down to 10-year-old size and keep them there.
    I don't think it's unhealthy. We devote a huge amount of time, energy and emotional investment into caring for and raising our kids, and then we let them go. It's a huge adjustment, so it's not surprising that it's so painful. But it's a good thing for them, so there's this bittersweet mixture of pride, happiness for them, along with loneliness and emptiness.
    Just call me Shoe...
    Previously homeschooled our son and daughter (both now in university)

  7. #6
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,728
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    [QUOTE=inmom;201187]

    I'm torn in feelings. I'm really happy and excited for both kids with this new stage in their lives. They are so eager and hopeful. But it is also sad, because other than some college breaks, I know they are never coming back, not even to live nearby. They won't find their occupational futures here, and that's okay.
    We visited our son for the first time in two months this past weekend, and had some interesting discussions about this subject of happy/sad. He said he feels the same way. So happy to be doing something he's wanted to do for so long. Yet super sad about being away from a place and situation he always felt so loved and accepted in. It really IS that roots and wings analogy!!!


  8. #7
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,728
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    My son currently doesn't have a phone available (one of the things we didn't consider when sending him to school across international borders, although hopefully we'll resolve this issue soon), so I've actually considered signing up for FaceBook again just to have more contact with hi. Right now, we exchange weekly e-mails as our only form of communication. It's kind of nice in that there is a considered depth to our conversations that is not present with live talk...but I do miss his voice.
    We're in a very similar situation with our son. His internship is in VERY rural Tennessee where there is very little cell service and no internet. I always thought that we'd have these incredible "digital connections" when he left, but that hasn't turned out to be the case. In some ways, it's probably good. He's able to really assert his independence even more strongly. And the phone calls we DO have with him are always really terrific ones. But it is the hardest part of this transition for we as his parents. Going from talking to him all the time to hearing from him only a couple times a week.


  9. #8
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,728
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
    My daughter started high school last month and I feel like I lost my best friend.
    Boy do I identify, Avalon! My son has always been an "old soul" and definitely one of my dearest companions. It's so hard to not get to experience their lives in-real-time anymore.


    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
    Sometimes I wonder if I have an unhealthy connection/attachment to my kids. Do other parents find separation this painful? I don't think I'm holding them back or clinging or helicoptering or interfering in their lives. I'm trying to be very grown up and encourage them to do what they want/need, but inside, I just want to squish them back down to 10-year-old size and keep them there.
    I'm not kidding when I say that I think empty nest syndrome might be even more difficult for we homeschoolers. Healthy or unhealthy, advantage or disadvantage, it is what it is. For the past few years I have felt like everything I've been involved with - - getting them ready to be independent and preparing them for life beyond homeschool - - has been counter-intuitive with what I've wanted to do, which was to will them to stay put with me for the rest of their lives!


  10. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Topsy View Post
    We visited our son for the first time in two months this past weekend, and had some interesting discussions about this subject of happy/sad. He said he feels the same way. So happy to be doing something he's wanted to do for so long. Yet super sad about being away from a place and situation he always felt so loved and accepted in. It really IS that roots and wings analogy!!!
    First, so envious. We won't see dd until Thanksgiving Break, and we dropped her off at college in mid-August.

    The conversation you had with your son seems similar to something my daughter wrote in a blog post she wrote for her brother for his 18th birthday a week ago. (BTW, "Quentin" is his blog name since he doesn't want her to use his real one.)

    I miss my brother. I’m not homesick, per se, but I do miss certain people and it feels weird not to talk to them every day and see them every day and just generally be around them. I haven’t seen Quentin since I left for college in August, and I won’t see him again until late November.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  11. #10
    Senior Member Evolved Melyssa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    CO
    Posts
    260
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I have been really struggling with the transition. My daughter didn't do much at home last year either, but this year I am not really involved in anything except to drive her places. She completes all her classes now outside the home, via a school district program once a week and then part-time community college. It does seem like such a short time ago I was in the thick of it, researching and buying curriculum, stocking up on supplies, making out lesson plans, keeping records, going on field trips, etc etc etc. She is also in several extracurricular activities, and with friends and a new boyfriend (another stage I wasn't quite prepared for!) she is not home very much. Or when she is home she is busy with homework. We do watch tv together at night when she can. But for the most part I have just felt so....lonely. And useless. What has helped me get through this change is a part-time job. In May I started working 3-4 mornings per week, only about 8-15 hours total but it gives me a feeling of purpose I guess. Before that I was feeling so lost and depressed.
    Melyssa
    Homeschooling my 16-year-old daughter Brenna in Westminster, CO

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About us

SecularHomeschool.com was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. Secularhomeschool.com aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted.

SecularHomeschool.com is a community and information source where secular homeschoolers ARE the majority. It is the home for non-religious homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers, freethinking homeschoolers AND anyone interested in homeschooling irrespective of religion. This site is an INCLUSIVE community that recognizes that homeschoolers choose secular homeschool materials and resources for a variety of reasons and to accomplish a variety of personal and educational goals. Although SecularHomeschool.com, and its members, have worked hard to compile a comprehensive directory of secular curricula, it does not attest that all materials advertised on our site, in our newsletters, or on our social media profiles are 100% secular. Rather, SecularHomeschool.com respects the aptitude of each individual homeschool parent to fully research any curriculum before acquiring it, to ensure that it holistically meets the educational, personal, and philosophical goals of each homeschooler.

Join us
Preparing for H.E.N.S. (Homeschool Empty Nest Syndrome)