Where do I begin?
Let’s begin at the beginning.
1986…married…with a baby coming. I had no idea about the journey I was about to embark on. I felt excited and scared. But the incredible joy at seeing that tiny face for the first time was indescribable!
Fast forward two-and-a-half years and another incredible blessing was on the way.
This time I knew a little more of what to expect, but my heart was so wrapped up in the love for my firstborn. Is it possible to love another child as deeply as you love your first?? YES! Overwhelming YES!
I don’t know how it is – the love for your child is a mystery. But God plants that seed of love so deep in your heart…it is there to stay, only to grow deeper and deeper. Trials do not diminish it. Separation does not diminish it. Age does not diminish it. It only grows!
So there you have it – two completely different personalities joined our family and all the fun, fear, heartache, and blessing of being a parent began!
Okay, let’s speed things up a bit. Somebody needed to educate these little blessings. My sweet Samantha had been in three different schools by the time she was halfway through first grade. The first change was because of a move, the second was by choice to move her to a private school, and then we were moving again.
And so began our journey of homeschooling.
We had only intended to finish up her first grade year and then, once we were settled, we would put her in a good school. I was not comfortable homeschooling. My sister and sister-and-law were homeschooling their kids and they were encouraging me, but they were infinitely more diligent, organized, and educated. Our new town provided us with a circle of friends and church family who were supportive and then, something just clicked. I never talked down public or private education, but I never knew when our homeschooling journey might end. Besides, God did not give me all the world’s children, so who was I to judge how God would lead others to educate their children? Anyway, as it turned out, our journey lasted fifteen years.
My kids are so very different! Their learning styles are so very different. Samantha was very studious. A.J. could always think of something better to do. Both were very smart, but in their different ways. (I think all kids are smart in their different ways, don’t you?) When it came to teaching and curriculum, what worked for one did not necessarily work for the other. But book learning and curriculum were not the number one goal for our home school. Our number one goal was to follow the Lord’s direction and to do what was best for our family and kids. I know my kids could have learned a lot more from a better teacher or from some other form of education, but I also know that our little home school was the result of constant prayer and seeking the Lord’s direction. My kids most definitely did not have the best teacher, but no other teacher could have loved them more or cared more about their future than their parents.
The wonderful freedom that homeschooling provided was what kept us going! And I believe it aided in teaching my children about caring for the needs of others. It was homeschooling that allowed me to pack up my kids and tend to my mother during her surgery and recovery. And it was homeschooling that gave me the freedom to go help my sister when she was put on bed rest during her pregnancies.
Good weather days were another fun memory of homeschool! Instead of bad weather days that would cancel other schools, (we could always do school work in spite of the weather) we would declare the day too beautiful to be wasted inside on book work and we would go to the park or embark on some other outdoor activity.
Oh, this is getting long! I can’t help it…I could go on forever. I miss my kids and having them around all the time. Of course, homeschooling was not all fun. Things were not always pleasant. There were times that I would have loved to turn their education over to someone else. There were days when I envied those moms who had some time to themselves when the kids were in school or the mothers who had jobs and brought home that extra paycheck and received affirmation in the workplace. But I am so thankful that the Lord kept us plugging along. Nothing can replace those memories. I can never regret any time spent with my kids…even when I handled it wrong…which I’m sure happened often. But even then, every mistake is a step toward learning.
Homeschooling…would I do it all again? In a heartbeat! Would I do it differently? I have no idea. Most likely, I suppose. I’m a bit different myself now.
Allen and I have been empty-nesters for eight years now and my homeschooling days are long over. There is a hole in my life that I don’t think will ever be filled in…only covered up. It still hurts at times, but the hurt is tempered by the knowledge that those two wonderfully different, loving, kind, messy, sweet kids turned out okay, in spite of being homeschooled by me.
What do you already miss about the stage that you have left behind?
Photo credits: here