Nearly ten years ago, my husband and I came to the conclusion that we needed to home educate our children. It was not a snap decision. In fact, I had been considering it for a year before my husband decided to join me at a seminar for inquisitive parents. We attended our first homeschool convention, and we embarked on our first official year of home education in August 2007.
At the same time, my first book, The Last Time We Were Children, was released by Tate Publishing. (Tate is now defunct, and I have released them [and myself] of any obligation to them.) As my book nears its own tenth anniversary, I consider what I have learned during this time.
- I’m still a home educator. At first, we committed to one year of home education. That first year was such a benefit for our children’s educations and for our family’s bonds that we continued. But, that didn’t mean there weren’t moments when I wondered what on earth I was going to do about teaching algebra (because I was more concerned about teaching geometry), maintaining discipline, navigating co-ops, writing IEPs, and organizing transcripts. It all became part of my learning curve. I’ve done it, I’m doing it, and I will continue to do it until my youngest graduates in 2020.
- I’m still a mother. There is always laundry, meal planning, and cleaning. My kids still need me to be their main source of encouragement. They need to know I’m on their side. They need to know they can ask for a hug even if I’m on my way to the bathroom. They need to know they can still come in and read with me at night. They need to know they can call me even if I’ve already gone to bed.
- I’m still a writer. When I published my first book, I thought I would be decades away from writing another. Instead I’ve self-published three more. I’ve been writing this blog. Friends and family have asked for editing on their projects. I’ve taught writing and reading courses because of our decision to home educate.
Education comes from living our lives together. We may have to pull out skills we never desired to use again–like algebra–but we can use our gifts and talents to benefit others–like writing. Yet, the greatest education is the one shared between parents and children. Those captured teaching moments on the way to a sporting event or just before bed are my favorite learning curves–the ones that take me in a direction I never imagined I would travel with my boys. Those are the moments I cherish.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.