I’ve stood here before…..when my older son was approaching his senior year of high school. It was a good feeling to know he was beginning to shine on his own and would soon step out the door into the bigger world after homeschooling. I could see it slipping through my fingers, each day and minute I had left with him. It still felt as if I had a long road to go with his two younger brothers. Now we approach another senior year.
This time, with my middle son, viewing his senior year seems so much more *something*. Mr. A has been homeschooled from 1st grade and it feels a little different than it did with my oldest son. It is a time that seemed so distant when we started, like I had all the time in the world to get to know this guy and to pass on my love for learning. We have a different relationship because of homeschooling.
I am going to savor every minute of this year together. I am anxious to see how his trumpet auditions go for the local small symphony. I am looking forward to watching him get his driver’s license and perhaps even his pilot’s license this year. We are deep into re-landscaping our front yard together, he provides the brawn and I provide the brain. Oh and lots of interesting school too…. but homeschooling is so much more than books and pencils.
No, it is not always the way I expect.
No, it is not always joyful and happy.
But, isn’t that real life….no matter if we homeschool our children or not?
We are imperfect people who are expected to only do the best we can do with what we have. Imperfection is inherited and although we overlook our own imperfections, we tend to demand more perfection from our little children than they can sometimes muster up. I think many times we are afraid to let our children see our imperfections and homeschooling only gives them more opportunity to see those imperfections on a daily basis. I try not to hide when I am having a bad day so my children can see how I confess my imperfections, leave them behind, and try to do better. As they grow, I hope they can do the same.
Things don’t always go as planned with life, health, curriculum choices, finances, or relationships. So what? There is a Bible scripture that tells us that we are made stronger by our trials and tests. Homeschooling has tested my attitudes about raising children and keeping spiritual priorities. I would rather grit it out at home with my kids than to send them off everyday to struggle with trials and issues at a public school. I am confident that at some point they will go out on their own but only when we all feel they are ready emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is a different age of readiness for every child.
There is much to be written about how the joy in homeschooling is found in the little things. No field trip, textbook, or project really truly makes us happy. It is more about the way we grow to know more about ourselves and each other through those activities that makes homeschooling such a wonderful way of life.
So if you are like me and facing a new school year with a little trepidation, take heart and remind yourself of all the reasons you want to make it work in your family. Once again I am grabbing hold of the opportunity with both hands, bolstered by the power of prayer and eager anticipation. If you lack excitement, it is okay to fake it a little until the excitement comes. Many times I start off with a lack of enthusiasm but as the weeks go by I find that I really am enjoying the experience. There is always something new to learn, something to find a passion about, and new people to meet. The trick is to get yourself there and if you give up at the beginning and don’t look for the opportunities, you will soon be one bored homeschooling mom.
Kiss the top of your child’s heads each day and tell them you are glad they are with you. Mention their names in prayer at the start of the day. Keep your eyes up and your head held high, looking for the joy because it is there. I have never kept a gratitude journal, but looking back on my homeschooling adventure, I wish now that I had so I could page back to read what my thoughts were thirteen years ago. My heart has been filled with gratitude and I can imagine giving it a voice on paper would be even more powerful.
Our last day of summer break has arrived. One last day to be free of a degree of responsibility for books and plans. Monday will be a new chapter in the book.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom