Tag Archives: graduation

Homeschooling Forever?

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Has our homeschooling journey been that long?  No, not really, but it sure has seemed that way some days.  Way back in 1997 when our daughter was a baby, we decided to homeschool our oldest.  We really didn’t know much about the process aside from what I’d read in a handful of library books.  There were two homeschooling families at our church and I picked their brains for what worked for them.  It still was a walk in the dark and every step was preceded by much prayer, thought and hard work.

We have had many days it truly felt like we were stumbling around in the dark, stubbing our toes on the furniture.  Other days were filled with euphoric moments of triumph when new concepts were mastered!  I think most homeschoolers would agree that their experiences has been a combined mixture of both.

Where are we now?

Our older son was in fifth grade when we began this journey and he graduated in 2006.  Ten years ago?  How can that be?  Time truly flies, folks!

Our daughter wanted to do school like her big brother so she began kindergarten at age four. She’s always been very curious and precocious and we felt she was ready.  She graduated in May 2015.

Our younger son is currently finishing up 10th grade and will begin 11th grade in the fall.  He’s almost 6′ tall and we have a lot of fun learning together.  We use the Abeka video program, which I absolutely love!  All of the video teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which make it worth every penny.  We use a separate curriculum for math, though.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s needs depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

I always say, “One of these days I’m going to graduate!”  🙂  The truth is, I’ve been in nearly every grade four times (once myself way back when and then once for each of the 3 kids).

We’ve had many bumps in the road along the way.  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years, which always throws a wrench into schooling preparation and plans.  Also, I just had surgery.  It’s times like these I’m very thankful for the Abeka video program and the fact that my son is older and can work independently for the most part.  We do work pretty closely with math, however.

Life is always full of interruptions and that is why we have always appreciated the immense flexibility of homeschooling.  For instance, we are not bound by school schedules that prevent us from taking a family vacation if desired.  There are so many opportunities my children would never have had if it weren’t for a home based education.

Has it been easy?  A resounding NO!  But then, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Has it been fun?  Yes.  We’ve had many laughs … mixed with tears sometimes.  Mixed with worry that our children aren’t learning enough…or fast enough…or on par with their public school peers… It’s times like these, our kids do something really amazing or we have lengthy conversations that allay all my fears that they will, in fact, turn out just fine.

Has it been worth it?  Every minute.  Every ounce of energy.  Only eternity will tell, but I know that in my heart of hearts, I’ve given it my all.

{Side note:  My 18 year old daughter & I had a conversation about the stresses of raising kids, family size, etc.  I shared how important extended family can be, especially relieving strain when the children are small.  Our conversation went on and she said, “Mom, I have many fond memories of you doing crafts with us and always making things fun.  You’ve done a great job.”}

Well, I guess I should frame this, not that she hasn’t said similar things before, because she has.  She’s always so sweet and affirming.  But, because sometimes those “Mommy fears” rear their ugly head and needle away at any confidence I may have had.

Moms have such a full and far reaching job on their hands, raising a family, taking care of the house, their husband, and whatever involvement they may have in church or the community!  Goodness, we need to give ourselves a break!

You’re doing GREAT, Moms!!

Frame this!  “You’re doing GREAT!”  You really are.

If your hearts’ desire is to be the best Mom possible, I’m confident that you are, in fact, doing just that.  We need to give ourselves grace.  And don’t worry so much!  We worry because we love deeply but really we should transfer that worry into a prayer and leave it there.  I’m preaching to the choir now.

It’s hard to imagine life beyond homeschooling but in May 2018, our youngest will graduate.  And then a new chapter of my life will begin.  But this one has been an exceptional run and one that has been rich, meaningful and a real time of planting seeds into our children.  For that, I am ever grateful.

And to those who are just starting out on this homeschooling journey or are midway through – Hang in there!  Enjoy every step of the way.  Do those crazy art projects and science experiments.  Go on those educational field trips and family vacations.  Find beauty and learning opportunities everywhere!  Enjoy your kids, moms.  Those formative years only last so long and then they’ll be taller than you (like all my kids are now!).

I saw this quote many years ago:

“A parent’s true role is to work themselves out of a job.”

Our job is to raise the next generation to be moral, independent, critical thinkers.  If we have done that, our work is done.

Of course, as a Christian Mom, I have prayed for my children since they were in my womb and I will always intercede for them until I draw my last breath.  I love them so.  So, even when our children are out on their own making their way in this world, our role as intercessors never ends.

Do you homeschool?  How would you sum up your journey so far?  Have any of yours graduated?

 

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Encouragement for the Homeschooling Heart

At some point or another, most homeschooling parents wonder whether their children are receiving a well rounded education.  Are they reading enough? Are they learning sufficient algebra or geometry?  Will they pass the ACT or SAT tests?  What about college? … And, lions and tigers and bears!  Oh, my!

We have been homeschooling for 17 years now with many ups and downs in the process.  One thing I have learned is that education is like building blocks.  Once the foundation is laid, everything else just builds upon it.  I have been guilty of spazzing out because my child wasn’t catching onto math concepts or reading as well as I thought they should in a certain prescribed year.  But, I’ve come to understand that much of the elementary learning process is redundant.  (This works to the advantage of my spazzing out issue.)  This means that if a child doesn’t grasp a concept this school year, chances are, they will next year or even the following.  Time and patience play a key role in education, don’t they?  Each child matures and develops at different rates, after all.

We homeschooled our older son, who will turn 26 this summer, from 5th-12th grades.  I can recall so many times I was uncertain I was doing enough as his teacher.  He began concurrent enrollment at the community college when he was in 10th grade and did very well.  By the time he graduated from high school, he was just three classes shy of his Associate’s Degree.  We were so very proud of him!  I’ll never forget his homeschool graduation night and thinking, ‘I guess I can do this thing’!  (I think part of me graduated that May night back in 2006.)  Why did I waste so much time wallowing in insecurity?  I suppose it was because he was our first homeschool “experiment”.

Here we are, eight years later, and the homeschool machine rolls on.  Our daughter will graduate from high school next May, and our younger son will enter high school this fall.

Our older son is excelling in a career he says he would do even if he worked for free, and we are infinitely proud of him.  Our daughter began her first job at the library last fall, and they all love her there.  She began as a volunteer and is now in a paid position.  It’s only a matter of time before our youngest gets a part time job and spreads his wings a bit.  He is, however, very happy about volunteering as a door greeter at church with his Dad for now.  😉

If your child is struggling in a particular area, seek out supplemental videos at the library or perhaps a tutor.  Other homeschool parents or even friends could be a great resource.  Everyone is gifted in different areas.  We’re not all good at grammar or math.  Seek out those with strengths where you are weak.

Annual assessment tests can be helpful.  Some families like them.  Some do not find them necessary.  I’ve found that with the one on one interaction we enjoy, we pretty much know where our children are excelling and where their weaknesses lie.  But, it’s a matter of preference and your state law.

Some years are filled with challenging distractions that require greater fortitude to overcome.  Maybe the birth of a baby.  Maybe illnesses.  Family situations.  Moves.  These are all part of the homeschool journey.  Cycles of life.  That’s what makes it a journey, rather than a destination.  Those are times we offer ourselves a little more grace while our hands remain on the homeschool plow.  We still have much to accomplish, but it may take longer than anticipated.  We may need to reach out to others to assist during special hardships.  Try not to resist the blessings others can offer when help is needed.

If you’re at a difficult juncture in your homeschooling journey, it’s time to take a deep breath, reassess, prioritize, dismiss the distractions, and resume making progress.  You can do this!  One step at a time.  Think positive, uplifting thoughts.  Devise a plan moving forward.  No need to beat yourself up over past failures.  Just move on, knowing that with the Lord’s help, you will reach the finish line.  And, what an accomplishment that will be!

Here’s to your homeschooling success!  🙂

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