I wrote this in 2007, the year our youngest son graduated from high school after years of homeschooling. He went off to college and is married now. If there’s anything I could say to homeschooling parents, I’d just want you to know that it’s worth it.
You can do this and it’s worth it!
I took our son, David, for his final home school evaluation. Twelve years of hard work and endurance coming to a close.
I never meant to home school from beginning to end, it rather evolved from year to year. I went into it reluctantly at first, feeling inadequate and overwhelmed, believing I did not have what it takes to teach my children all the things they need to know.
But along the way we learned so much together, not just about math, science, history and grammar but about relationships, cooperation, flexibility, diligence, sacrifice, character and many other important life lessons. I learned a lot about myself. It has been an amazing journey.
A seventy year old acquaintance once told me she was too old to learn anything new and didn’t want to be bothered with it anymore. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” she said.
I disagree. As long as there is breath in us there will always be another discovery around the next corner, something new to try, uncover, understand and add to our brain cells and resume.
Learning is an everyday, entire life experience and isn’t confined to an age, a room, a book or answers spit back out onto a test page. Learning is not limited to eight hours days, five days a week, one hundred and eighty days a year.
In homeschooling we discovered the joy of spending time together figuring out answers to things we did not know, taking advantage of the tangents and tributaries of topics and subjects we found interesting and turning the events of every day living into teaching opportunities.
It is now my firm belief; children do not need teachers or adults in their lives who know everything. Children need to observe adults still loving the challenge of taking on something new and digging for answers to the next question.
Children need to know how to find answers for themselves so a love for life long learning is maintained.
There were schooling and child raising days that seemed long and hard but now that it is done, the speed of the passing years has left me surprised and emotionally unprepared for how happily fulfilled yet sad I feel all at the same time.
The flash cards, math games and bug boxes have been given away, the book shelves loaded with text books, notebooks and reading books are empty, the containers of categorized sea shells are no more. College looms in the very near future where our son will test his learning skills in a whole new environment.
Raising children is a lot like reading a good long novel, you can’t wait to get to the end to see how it turns out, until you read the last page, flip the back cover shut and feel a wave of disappointment because the story, so intriguing and full of twists and turns, is over.
There may be a bit of sadness that this story is over but there is no regret for how it ends. I will look back on these years for the rest of my days with satisfaction and joy. I gave it my best and, in spite of me and maybe even because of me, our son turned out alright.
Now that we have closed the book on this stage of life, I wonder what new challenge and discovery waits just ahead, certainly something new to marvel at or to uncover. I hope to prove that a willing old dog can continue to learn new tricks and getting older doesn’t have to be boring.
In the meantime, I will be thankful every moment after David has left home for all the good years we had learning together. No matter where he goes or what he ends up doing, nothing can change the bond that those years formed between us.
And when I think about that, I understand what the phrase ‘no regret’ really means!