“I don’t know how you do it.”
“I could never do what you do.”
“How do you do it?”
But I wonder if they really want to know and I don’t really know what to say.
It’s just life for us.
We are counter-cultural.
We love Jesus. We are a homeschool family. My father and husband are military.
Therefore, we do things differently and live our lives in a different pattern than most people.
We are raising our kids to be world changers.
I focus on servant leadership because I don’t want my kids to feel entitled. I want them to have grateful hearts and know contentment in all circumstances. I am still learning this too.
We are different than the mainstream. While I don’t fish for compliments, I do love hearing how our kids are courteous, polite, well-mannered, compassionate. It is affirmation.
Even among church friends, we were different. I often didn’t have my kids attend church events because we chose not to participate in worldly activities. I spent Sunday school hour with Elizabeth, working through a mother-daughter devotional since there was no Sunday school class appropriate for her or interesting to me.
We are homeschooling our four children.
Many people I know are amazed that I have all four children at home every day. While I understand homeschooling isn’t the right educational choice for many, I do think many parents seem to prefer to not have their kids around. Many parents fear actually parenting. Many people fear relationships.
In the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I was certainly among the fearful parents. I wasn’t trained to teach young kids and I was unsure what to do with my babies, preschoolers, early elementary kids.
Liz attended a private Christian preschool and one month of third grade in a public DoD school. My younger three kids have never attended school outside the home.
Again, we are different than the mainstream who send their kids to public or private school or even do part-time homeschooling for whatever reason. I feel we’re different than a lot of homeschoolers too.
We originally began homeschooling solely for academics. Within a few years, I had changed my perspective and methods to be more of a lifestyle choice.
After trying various co-ops and classes and extracurricular activities, we decided to take a break from all that and just stay home and learn. It’s saving us money and the kids are getting creative to find ways of learning what they want in the way of music or language.
I love the freedom we have to learn what we want, when we want, based on our interests. We can days off to travel or explore something new. We don’t keep a strict calendar since we school roughly year-round. This makes some school “years” longer than others – especially PCS years.
We are a military family.
My kids are third-culture kids (TCK), growing up in a different cultural environment than my husband – or myself. Whereas by definition, I am an adult third-culture kid (ATCK), my children are experiencing even more differences from the cultural norm than I did as a military child.
We don’t have a home.
We have temporary homes and I so relate to the verse:
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14 NLT
By being TCKs, my kids experience a different normal than other kids. Military subculture permeates their existence as it did mine and it’s difficult for little kids to understand that not everyone they know understands BXes, commissaries, deployments, and other military things that are normal life for us.
Elizabeth has experienced four PCSes – permanent change of station moves. My younger three don’t remember moving at all. Victoria was four when we arrived in Utah and Katie was a year younger and Alex was only a few months old. They have no memory of packing, moving, or arriving.
For us, this is life. This is our normal. We do it because there’s not an alternative and we did choose this life. God called us to this. The kids took all of the recent PCS events with stride and great poise. I am so proud of them during this stressful time.
Saying goodbye to people, places, and things is normal for us. For many people we know, it is unfathomable to even imagine saying goodbye since they’ve never moved out of their town or away from family. Every two to four years, we pack up and move on to a new adventure. Goodbyes are hard. Hellos are harder.
Holidays are lonely for us. We spend every holiday with just the six of us. I make extra effort to make holidays special and create tradition since we don’t go to visit extended family or have anyone stay with us for holidays. These events could easily pass us by as just another day if I don’t remember to create tradition for the kids to have memories. You can always help a military family feel special by including them and inviting them to share special events with your family.
We get to live history. We’ve lived in Georgia, Texas, Hawaii, Utah, and are on our way to Germany. I take advantage of our locales to educate the kids about the cultural and historical events first-hand. I love experiential learning. The kids are super excited!
Every family is unique.
Before you blurt out: “I could never do what you do!” as an afterthought or compliment (or insult), take some time to understand that family’s dynamics, what makes them special.
Maybe you’ll make a new friend or learn from them.