Slow down and enjoy your children and homeschooling!

Leah and her stuffed wolf from the zoo

It’s back to school time for most public and private school children, and many homeschoolers as well.

Last year we took off some extra days for holidays and other events, so Leah’s homeschooling went through some of this summer. Right now she is still on “summer break.”

We will start her homeschooling about the second week of September – her senior year this September 2011. Senior. I can hardly believe it. Where did all those years go?

Blink of an eye doesn’t even describe it. When I now walk through Walmart, CVS, and other stores that sell those brightly colored school supplies, I feel sadness. Leah is our youngest child, and we have always homeschooled her. I can’t imagine NOT homeschooling!

We began homeschooling our oldest daughter Heather when she was in 10th grade and she graduated from our homeschool in 2000, then went on to Youth With A  Mission (YWAM), graduating from missionary training after going on two international missions trips.  She then met and married her husband Kyle and had two beautiful little girls (Annabelle and Violet), and is now a full-time teacher at a preschool.

Our middle daughter Eden is also grown and on her own, and she has an adorable little boy, Jacob. Heather and Eden  have “flown the nest,”  and it won’t be long until Leah does, too.  The thought that, after this year, I will never again buy school supplies makes my heart ache.

Yes, it’s our goal as parents to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and ready them for adulthood, so they will be able to leave. We don’t want 30 and 40 year old children living at home, still depending on dad and mom!  Of course, Leah is only 16 years old, so it’s not like she’s moving out of our house tomorrow.

But the years have been too short and she will leave soon enough…then no more Bible reading, copywork, reading Anne of Green Gables and Tom Sawyer. No more messy finger painting or learning ABC’s by drawing the letters in rice or flour since Leah was a hands-on learner (those were the days of fun!).

No more field trips to the zoo, the art museum, or – the worse in our kids’ minds, history museums, where we would often hear them whine, ‘This is boring!” and “Can we go get something to eat? I’m hungry and thirsty!”

Did I ever stop long enough to just praise God for this privilege of home education and to enjoy our children’s presence? Or was I too busy “doing school at home,” telling them to “finish your math problems,” and on some days assigning them to read out of dull textbooks when I was tired or stressed out and should have been implementing instead Charlotte Mason‘s life-producing style of learning?

In the office closet, I have plastic tubs of sample book after sample book of their school work through the years. Is this all I have left now  of their homeschooling – albums with copywork, math sheets, painted horses and flowers?

Didn’t I realize one day I would not be able to do this ever again, that it would come to an end one day? Did I truly appreciate being able to homeschool?

Homeschooling hasn’t been perfect. It’s had many challenges. There were days I would feel exhausted, frustrated, inadequate, and just wanted to quit and send our kids to Christian school. But there were also other days – those making a memory days.

Days where we would admire together a rainbow in the sky, a red male cardinal in the tree outside our kitchen window, a bunny rabbit hopping on the lawn, the first sign of a spring flower or the first winter snowflake.

Days when we would make home-made hot chocolate or chocolate chip cookies, and curl up on the couch to watch a funny movie or read a good book aloud. The time when we went on a nature walk at Powell Garden and came home with a  praying mantis for the kids to keep as their new pet.

The time when Leah began reading smoothly after I had been working with her on phonics from Teach Your Children to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

The days when we would decide to just take off in the car, go shopping, and stop for lunch and an ice cream cone just because we could. We felt sorry for the kids at school who couldn’t do this!

Days when we would discover a nugget of gold in God’s word, and the kids would ask me, their “teacher,” questions – learning about their God and their Maker in a way they probably never would have been able to, had they not been homeschooled.

Days when we would read a good book together and laugh at the characters together, or hear the beauty of Mozart on a CD. The time Heather and I read Elisabeth Elliott’s book Through Gates Of Splendor about her husband Jim’s and his friends being speared to death when they were trying to minister Christ’s love to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, and us both bawling hard…and yet through that book, God spoke to Heather’s heart to be a missionary.

The years have been lightning fast and I can’t get them back ever again to do anything different, to appreciate our kids being kids and just enjoying their beautiful faces, their smiles, their play….even if that play meant mud on the carpet or fingerprints on the wall.

Today as I reflect back over the years, despite the challenges and frustrating moments, I am so thankful for being able to homeschool. This year, as we set out to complete Leah’s final senior year, I pray that I will remember the years are so fast and to just slow down and enjoy being and learning with her.

To smile and laugh together, to bake delicious goodies, to admire the beauty of a sunset and the moon and stars that display God’s glory, to go to the zoo and enjoy God’s magnificent creations, to enjoy science experiments and nature walks, to read and learn from good living books.

My prayer: “Lord God, remind me on those days this year when I am “too busy” working on the computer for my home business to really pay close attention to what my child is saying or even to her school lessons, when I would be quick to sigh and feel frustrated over something trivial, when I would think this day will never be over….because it will all too soon and I’ll never have these wonderful days again. “

This too shall pass. Remember your children  – and homeschooling – are precious gifts from God. Thank and praise Him today.

***Did you enjoy this post? You can read more about our homeschool experience in my free ebook, The Call Of Wisdom: Teaching Our Children At Home. Just sign up for my ezine with your name and email address at the top of the page on the right hand side to immediately download it.

You will also receive occasional, short ezines from me with encouraging homeschool tips, articles, audios and more! (Be sure to add my email address to your contacts list, so it won’t go into your spam folder.)

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