How many parents do you hear saying this: “I love all the choices my adult children make, they are leading exactly the life I hoped for them.”

Zero, right?

So I’m starting to think that homeschooling is just parents accepting this much sooner.

I love museums. I could be in art museums for the rest of my life, and I’d be fine. I love eating in art museums. I love shopping in the gift shop. I buy memberships just so I can spend a day in the member’s lounge. My kids’ idea of going to a museum is The Pacific Science Center’s Led Zeppelin laser light show. It’s like the new millennium version of Woodstock. Indoors (for comfort), high tech, and I think we were the only people not using some sort of hipster 0ff-label pharmaceutical.

I hated it so much that I sat on a bench outside the museum until it was over.

I bet you’re not surprised. Because the reality of life is that kids don’t want to lead the life their parents blazed before them. It would be boring, for one thing, because kids have already seen how their parents life turns out. But also, choosing our own path is really the only guarantee that we will make decisions about our life. And live with the consequences.

If your kids choose to go into the same profession you chose, this doesn’t mean that they choose your life. It just means there’s a little longer delay until you realize your kids don’t want the life you chose for yourself.

Homeschooling is saying to your kids that even though you can control what they choose when they are younger, you are open-minded enough to know it’s unrealistic to control children. You don’t know the best way for your kids to spend their time because you don’t know what life they will choose.

If you have very strong opinions about what’s important, do that for your life. Not to your kids.

Try this thought experiment:

What if your kid doesn’t like to read? Can you let that go? Many successful, happy people, don’t like to read.

What if your kid can’t stand to be alone? There are healthy people who can’t stand to be alone. It’s how they’re born.

If you imagine enough kinds of parental disappointment, sooner or later you’ll realize that the unconditional love of a parent is most visible when a parent is disappointed. Similarly, homeschooling really starts happening when kids are free to choose paths their parents can’t imagine.