I have been getting the comments more and more lately.
How is your son ever going to make it in the real world if you homeschool him through high school?
Your kid needs to learn to behave in a restaurant, in church, his class, in the waiting room. He needs to get ready for the real world.
In the real world, children like yours never make it. The become a drain on society and I’m tired of paying for poor parenting like yours.
I delete them as fast as they come – not only for my own sanity, but for any other mom, struggling and coming to my site, Facebook page or Instagram feed for a little encouragement and support. (Ain’t no one got time for that around here. We are too busy trying to remember our child’s last medicine dose and when what paperwork we need to send the insurance company tomorrow.)
I think it’s happening more often because my children are older. Or, perhaps it’s because I am more comfortable sharing the parenting choices I’ve made, eight years into this blogging business.
I delete the comments, but the sentiment stays with me all the time.
What if they’re right? What if am failing my children?
Because my boys are both teenagers now, the stakes certainly feel higher.
In some states, they could be charged as an adult. My oldest technically could have his drivers license now, if he were remotely interested in pursuing it. The real world is coming for them, like it or not.
But what I want you to know is this:
The older my children get, the more they surprise me.
Last weekend, my oldest and I went to lunch together. As we chatted about guitars and his new favorite show, he put his fork down, looked me straight in the eye and said, “We need to talk about college, Mom. I have several ideas about what I’d like to do. There’s a trade school that looks amazing, but I can also see myself going to a community college first and then studying marine biology at a four year. I really need to think about getting a job this summer to start to save up for whatever I decide.”
I was flabbergasted. I seriously had a bite of food in my mouth that I stopped chewing the moment he started talking and it almost fell out of my mouth.
Not because I don’t see how capable he is. Not because I disagree with his assessment.
I was stunned because of his sense of ownership and accountability. I was stunned that he brought it up and that he didn’t need me to instigate it.
Please Stop Saying My Kids Will Never Make It In The Real World
You see, I often believe the lies I hear every day, the lies that are embedded in all these comments. I worry that my children will inevitably live in my basement and play video games all day because I have coddled them.
Yet, as my children get older, what is becoming more and more clear is that all of this work they’ve done, I’ve done, we’ve done to help them understand their differences and live well despite them, is paying off. As my children get older, I see that protecting them when they need it, prioritizing their mental health over typical expectations and just giving them a break sometimes, is creating confidence and ability beyond what I expected at these ages.
I am so proud of them I could burst.
Please, stop saying my kids will never make it in the real world.
First of all, how rude.
Second, you are wrong. My boys have dealt with more reality than most adults I know, and never give up. They are compassionate, generous and committed to doing the very best they can, despite the odds being stacked against them.
Here’s the thing – they will fail. They may end up living with me at some point in their adulthood, maybe even all of their adulthood. I have no idea what the future really holds for us and for their health.
They will mess up. They will make poor choices and life will knock them down.
This is how we all learn to make it in the world.
My children are neither an exception nor an example.
They are simply a part of this family, where we do the very best we can, and love each other along the way.
It’s how we make it in the real world.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.