When I started homeschooling I was perfectly content to delve into the process of wholly educating my kids. From reading to math to baking, I adored these little people and what could be a better way to spend my days?  We spent every day, all day together. Dad came home for dinner and we all hung out in the evenings. Life was good.

And it was…but then I kind of started going nuts.

I wanted other parents to talk to. To discuss the successes and failures of parenting. But I was alone in my house. Well, I was NEVER alone…maybe that was also part of the problem. It’s hard to say.

Either way, I had heard about a group of homeschool families that got together in a neighboring town. They took turns teaching electives. Music, Art, Shakespeare. All great classes that my kids were not currently taking. The cost was very affordable, so we joined. Brendan, Bridget, and Kelly were ecstatic. As much as they loved each other, they wanted to see other kids as much as I wanted to see other moms.

One of the many parenting issues that homeschooling alleviates is feeling the need to subscribe to current trends. Not only are some of the trends costly, especially with a one-income, growing family, they are a huge distraction. Honestly, it was one of the things that I missed the least from our previous life. I have always found that the latest trends are not only about the kids, but also a study in watching other parents try to leap frog each other with their kids ‘stuff’.

At this point in our childrearing, the trend was Beanie Babies. Does anyone remember those? These little animal-bean-bag-things were EVERYWHERE at the homeschool group. They were being traded. They had actual ‘release dates’ and everything!

It was like Amy and her obsession with limes!

Truly, the whole thing completely baffled me. Not only did we not have the expendable income for these things, but I never understood the value of spending money (if we had it) on something that served absolutely no purpose. Maybe we were curmudgeons…but we would rather pool our money and take the kids somewhere to create a memory.

I’ll always remember the Heelys fad. They were the sneakers with wheels on them that were the absolute RAGE in and around 2005ish. I remember because Keegan was about 10 years old or so and we were at a hockey tournament. (hockey tournaments…those are a post all by themselves)

We were all arriving at the hotel and the boys were pretty wound up. As usual, I prepped Keegan as to what I expected of his behavior. He already knew the mantra; speak clearly, no running in the hotel, look adults in the eye when you speak to them. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

I first noticed the problem when I was at the desk, checking into our room. The boys were REALLY loud and my red flags were starting to show. Keegan hung out with me, but I knew he was watching them.

Then I realized; every single kid on the team had the same style shoes. The dreaded Heelys. They were all zipping around the lobby, barely in control of themselves. I saw one boy run into an older gentleman that was not part of our team. His parents were on the other side of the lobby, not paying attention. Keegan’s ten-year-old brain was battling his will to be a good boy. He also wanted a pair of Heelys. “I’m sorry, Keegan. They’re way out of our price range.”

“That’s OK, Mom, I get it.”

And he did, as much as a 10-year-old can. It was a long weekend.

We look back on those decisions now and know they were the right ones for our family. Keegan wanted those shoes, but he knew he didn’t NEED them. Bridget and Kelly probably would’ve liked a Beanie Baby to take with them to the homeschool group. We were trying to send our kids a message. Fads are exactly that. Just fads, no substance. We were holding out for the substance.

Give your kids time and substance. It’ll change their world for the better.

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