Reflecting on our Homeschool Journey

mother and daughter reading togetherThis season of homeschooling highschool has been a joy in many ways yet somewhat bitter sweet at times. The sweet part is realized when each ordinary day reveals a mostly happy crew simply living, learning,  and enjoying normal family life together.  Sharing many meals, reading special books, laughing at an old episode of  The Andy Griffith Show  or enjoying a day at the pool is ordinary but rich. Homeschooling life is good.  Homeschooling highschool allows our family to  work on  and enjoy relationships simply because there is more time….more minutes, hours, and days together…sort of like being on vacation.  I’m amazed to see my boys  grow and change into nice young men who are  truly a delight for my husband and I to spend time with. They make us laugh nearly every day and now that they are older there seems to be a richer fellowship. My husband enjoys teaching them life-skills and  they are truly a help to him. It seems there is always an ongoing project so that there are ample opportunities to teach important skills.  These days my boys know their way around a kitchen so much so that I’ve nearly worked myself out of a job.   A benefit of homeschooling is that you eat three meals a day together…seven days a week. Cooking and  sharing oodles of meals together and with other homeschool families is something to be treasured because this will one day end.  All of this time during highschool allows my husband and I to see our young men making mostly good choices; being quite  independent and self- governed throughout the day.  I rejoice in this!

mom reading to boyHowever these highschool years are somewhat concerning because there is the realization that  time is running out and many important goals have not been accomplished.  Learning never ends and Christ will continue to  teach us forever but my time to choose curriculum, read-aloud books, lessons, and plan activities is quickly coming to an end. I do not have 10 more years to work on writing projects or to read all of the Lamplighter Books on my list. There are important world view lessons, apologetics, economics, and more that have not been adequately addressed.  Although we will tackle a government unit senior year, I hoped we would have more time to delve into a Constitutional study.  Sadly, there are simply not enough days to fulfill all of the goals that I thought were important.

When I realize that our homeschooling years are nearly over….I can work myself into a panic over this thought.  The years are slipping through my fingers and there is still so much learning and understanding to be done. Homeschooling highschool is sometimes bitter-sweet because it is a time of reflecting and evaluating. You often second guess yourself and question the methods you’ve used.  Perhaps an un-schooling approach would have allowed for a “love of learning.” Perhaps a classical approach would have produced enthusiastic readers. Maybe I allowed family life to get in the way of our studies….relatives visiting, illnesses, and hospitality preparation often  took the place of studying. Maybe my priorities need some tweaking? Maybe they do not.  Who knows…only God knows.

Victorian Parents Educating ChildrenAnyway my point is that although the rewards of homeschooling are great, they are not necessarily what the homeschooling “professionals” say that they are.  You may sit and read books to your children every day for years and years and they may never develop a passion for reading. Reading books provides an opportunity to train, disciple, and discuss…but it may not produce a bookworm.   Years of copywork like Charlotte Mason suggests may produce somewhat better penmanship and provide lovely books of verses and poems to treasure for years,  but there is no guarantee your child will become  a good writer simply from copying segments of superior writing.  Faithfully following a certain curriculum will not necessarily produce the results promised. It is a comfort to know that sometimes a child will  have “caught” something that was never taught.   For example, my oldest son is a terrific speller in spite of the fact that we dropped our spelling curriculum early on. This must have been a gift from God because I certainly did not teach much spelling.

Homeschooling highschool has been the right choice for our family and   has been gratifying and wonderful beyond words. Homeschooling highschool has been  important because it has allowed more  opportunities to pass on values and worldview lessons to our children . Although our highschool age children are nearly adults they still need direction and supervision because there is the inherent  immaturity that goes hand in hand with youth and lack of experience.

Indeed, homeschooling  is a lifestyle that offers so many rewards and is a wise choice for most families. Although this is difficult to do,   I would encourage new homeschool moms  to trust their own instincts though more than  some homeschooling pioneer or author.  I would tell them to prayerfully consider that perhaps the Lord has has very particular or even more worthy lessons for your family than the homeschool speaker has on his list for you. Maybe God has a different plan for your children. Trusting in God is hard sometimes however the words of a  wise homeschool mom still ring in my ear. “Jesus is the teacher in our family,” she told me, “He is in charge of our learning after all.” My children belong to Him and I trust that He has created them with certain bents, strengths and even weaknesses which will be used for His glory.

The rewards of homeschooling are not seen immediately because they are eternal. Mentoring your child is actually multi-generational if you consider that this child will one-day have his own children.  I’ve heard others remark that they saw much of the fruit of their homeschooling years when their children had their own homes and families.  Truly, the successes of homeschooling cannot always be measured while still in the trenches, and besides, there is no test to measure a family learning together… orchestrated by divine providence.   So although this season is somewhat tinged with questions and doubts, it is still wonderful….I would not trade these years of homeschooling highschool for the world.

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