Things from the past, new & old!
What a trip this homeschooling journey of ours has been! Having just graduated our last student, I have had a slightly melancholy feeling hovering about me. Thus, I will write.
My husband and I embarked upon this journey many years ago, 23 years ago, to be exact. Everything was new and exciting….A, B, C, 1, 2, 3….oh, the joys of hearing our first child say her ABCs! We turned a guest bedroom into a schoolroom, complete with Sesame Street wall border on her level. We turned EVERYTHING into a learning experience, and I mean just about everything. It was so much FUN!
Three years later, three sons, ages 9, 10, and 12 were added to our home, and things changed! This Mama had to get her ducks in a row. It was down to serious teaching now. A year later, a baby was born to us, and more changes. Another year, another son, this one 10 years of age. More changes!
Grandparents joined in the teaching, and the students learned things that they would not have, had we not been homeschooling. We grew gardens, raised kittens, puppies, rabbits (one pet rabbit hopped gleefully through the house, all the while leaving his ‘gifts’ behind!), chickens, geese, ducks, fish, cows, goats,……whew! what a lot of work!
We experimented with lots of things, one of which was “what if there was no electricity?” so we lived for a week without electricity…kerosene lamps, camp stove, and it was fun, too! One year we started canning our food, and did not grow enough of our own, so we bought from the farmer’s market. That summer we canned 1200 quarts! That’s a lot of canning, let me tell you.
We had our own music academy, complete with piano, violin, cello, trumpet, saxophone, and clarinet, ….and voice, of course! At a certain time each morning, everyone went to their respective places to have their daily practice. Ear plugs, anyone?
Home educating allowed us to travel on vacation and work trips with Dad, all the while learning. We would bounce down the highway in our RV, with Dad at the wheel, singing at the top of our lungs, “Sacramento, California, Sacramento, California, Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, Austin, Texas, Uh-huh!” What a way to learn the states and their capitals…it was one of those songs that’s like “the song that never ends”. We, rather they, hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail..(I tried, but, alas, went to a hotel instead, with the baby and left Dad with the troupe).
Years have passed, kids have grown up, lives have changed direction. My eyes are tearing up as I write this. I would take nothing for these years of having our children at home with us, teaching them. Yes, it was hard at times. Yes, it was challenging. Yes, there were fusses. Yes, the students wanted to quit some times. Yes, I wanted to quit many a time. And yes, it was very rewarding…to this mother.
What a great feeling to hear the words “they homeschool”. Homeschooling was looked down upon for many years, and still is in some circles. But, by far, home educated children do well in life. One reason, I believe, is that if you teach a child how to learn, that is key. If they know how to learn, this can be applied throughout their life. Another reason home educated children do well is that they learn how to act in groups with varying ages, and also interact with adults.
This journey has been a challenge, to say the least….and yes, I would do it all again! So here’s to you, parent, if you are considering home education for your family! Bite the bullet! Accept the challenge! You will have heads full of memories and hearts full of love.