Between homework, after school activities and events, work, cooking, and everything else that goes along with public school, I had little time for adult interaction when my kids were there.
But once I started homeschooling, I found more time for everything, including developing friendships with other homeschooling parents. And those friendships have provided more than just fun, conversation, and people who can relate to what our lives are like.
You see, on a recent Mom’s Night Out with those ladies, I was educated myself.
I have one child who has always refused cheese. He’ll eat (in his words) raw cheddar (unmelted and alone), parmasan on his spaghetti, but that’s it. No other cheese at all. But he drank milk and ate ice cream, all without incident, it seemed. So the idea that he was lactose intolerant didn’t really occur to me. Until that night when I was going out with my friends, when it just kind of popped into my mind: Could he be?
The ladies I was going out with run the gamut when it comes to food: some have allergies, some have kids with allergies, some eat “normal” food, some eat special diets, some are vegetarian, some vegan, some hunt. So I was talking to people with a very broad experience when I asked if it was possible.
“Does he have gas?” one asked me when I brought it up.
This child had horrific gas. I’m talking, roll down ALL the windows in the car and the stink still lingers. And it was constant, like there was some kind of fart machine inside his body. They told me that his bad gas could be his reaction to the lactose, and that he could be intolerant.
More research told me that his complaints at bedtime of a stomach ache -complaints that came with no fever, never led to throwing up or any indication of illness, complaints that I’d come to conclude were his version of “I need to use the bathroom” or “I need a drink of water” – were also related, as reactions to lactose occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion, and his bedtime often ended up being about 2 hours after he’d had his milk with dinner.
So we tried an experiment. I bought him some almond milk, to replace the
regular milk he’d been drinking. The difference was immediate. No more bedtime stomach aches, no more gas that could almost require a gas mask. Easter was a couple of days later. I’d bought the candy for the baskets before all this, and I didn’t even think about the milk chocolate in there as I made them up. But sure enough, when he had his chocolate, he complained of a stomach ache, and had some bad gas again – thought not quite as bad as before.
He’s asked to try Lactaid now, though he does like the almond milk. But the point of all this is that if we didn’t homeschool, this wouldn’t have happened. I never would have thought to discuss this with anyone, never would have brought up my child’s odd eating habit or discussed his gas with anyone. I never would have met the awesome ladies who helped me figure out that my child is lactose intolerant.
But I also wouldn’t have been able to adapt his diet so easily. I wouldn’t have been able to send a Lactaid pill with him to school in case he had dairy at lunch, because the school would have pitched a fit about him taking “medication”.
This is the best part of homeschooling. It provides friendships, for both children and adults. It provides education and information, to both children and adults. It provides more time for family, more time for everything.
And in our case, it even provided a health benefit. You can’t beat that.