When our summer break hits, my mind always turns to "big" ideas that have been waiting (im)patiently in the back of my brain. These are often things I notice about our children that need some, shall we say, course correction. I like to use our extra free time to gain some ground in an area in which they are lacking, or let us all explore something new, or a new way of doing something routine.
Anyway, a recurring "idea" that keeps bugging me is what I see as the kids' lack of independence. I was driving back home from a trip to the post office in our nearby small town right about the time the school buses were making their rounds. I noticed a small girl with a big backpack making her way to somewhere...it didn't look like she was headed home. The thought hit me hard again: when do my kids ever walk alone in town? Oh, yes, NEVER. You put five kids born close together + homeschooling + living on a seriously-busy road + the potential-child-harm-gestapo-government, you get...well, my children. : )
Of course I'm not saying they never do things on their own. They do plenty of activities around here that require responsibility and have consequences. It's the little things that you would never think of: how do you replicate choosing and paying for your own food in a lunch line? Send them alone into McDonald's? Someone would call the police on you. How do you replicate walking to a friend's house to ask if they could play? Adopt-a-neighborhood? Kind of freaky. And how about those hours I would spend biking around the country roads by myself trying to get lost? Do that now on this road, and you might as well start making up missing-child posters.
It's very hard to discern what part of me is just over-protecting and what part is not. I see a real need to get them used to making bigger decisions without us around, but I don't want to be irresponsible about it. Ideas, please?!