I stand at the counter in the kitchen, cutting up peppers and onions to sauté and add to the black and pinto beans on the stove. As I work, I’m listening to my two kids and Sash play “Dungeons and Dragons Online.” They have a PC and two laptops going, so they can each play a character and join together as an adventuring group.
They bounce ideas back and forth, each person adding their suggestions and describing what they’re noticing, in real time. There’s a lot of teasing and joking, of course, and the occasional disagreement, but ultimately each of them takes into account the other players’ ideas and the strengths and weaknesses of their characters. As a team, they work to solve the quests presented at each phase of the game. I let the conversation wash over me, my thoughts drifting back to the many other times I’ve stood in this kitchen and listened to my kids play and learn.
A lot of cooperative computer-game-playing takes place, but also board and card games, craft projects, math worksheets, imagination games, sports strategy sessions, and discussions about books, movies, history, politics, etiquette, and a multitude of other topics. Sometimes I join in, and other times I just observe, enjoying the way their minds work and the “aha!” moments when they catch on to a new way of perceiving or doing things. I’m here as a facilitator, to answer their questions or point them to resources when they ask for them.
I feel truly blessed to be spending time with my kids every day. I get to share their childhood, their education, and their unfolding as fascinating, funny, intelligent beings. Homeschooling is a choice which does involve some sacrifice: we could certainly make more money, and have more adults-only time, if we did things conventionally. But for this family, it works. I can see the results every day, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.