“I’ve heard so much good about homeschooling. I have friends who tell me their kids are each other’s best friends. I want that for my kids.”
My friend confided in me about her yearning to homeschool. The above line caught my eye, and it kind of bugged me. I’ve heard it plenty.
Homeschooling will bring your family closer. Your kids will love the sibling closeness it brings.
I’ve been doing this a long time. My kids have never been in traditional classrooms. I have four of them.
We’ve gone through periods of time when they’ve been close and were able to play all day together.
And we’ve also gone through times when they couldn’t stand one another. The simple act of breathing was enough to send one kid into orbit.
And this was all during one week. Of course my kids love one another. It’s interesting to see how their relationships play out. At different stages they’ve enjoyed one another’s company more and less. I can’t wait to see how they interact as adults.
But I’d like to address the above fallacy in logic.
Homeschooling is no guarantee that your children will be close.
Moreover, there are a few observations that I’d like to make about siblings.
First, educational style has little to do with sibling closeness. There are homeschooled siblings who are close and those who are alienated. There are traditionally schooled kids who are both as well.
Second, your kids’ closeness will wax and wane through the years, depending on stage of development and personal interests. Some kids are close as children and grow apart as adults. Others are opposites as kids and grow closer as they mature. Looking at your kids in childhood, there’s no way of telling whether they will be close as adults.
Third, you can’t force sibling closeness. Politeness, kindness, and basic respect can be enforced, but kids are all different. They may choose an outside of the family person to be their “bestie” and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong if your kids prefer to hang out with kids who aren’t blood relatives.
Fourth, there’s a special bond between siblings. This doesn’t mean that they have to be best friends. It’s not an either/or dichotomy. Siblings can have special relationships while also nurturing friendships outside of the family.
Don’t choose homeschooling as an educational decision simply because you yearn for them to be close as siblings. In general, if you provide a healthy, respectful home, they will love and care for one another as they grow up. You don’t have to homeschool to do that.
Forced togetherness will not guarantee that closeness. In fact, if kids are complete opposites and they have no choice but to ALWAYS hang out with siblings, they may come to resent their sibling more than if they have a choice in the matter and a break from the siblings. This is why you need to nurture friendships for your kids.
More on that tomorrow.