Saturday, May 18, 2019

a decade of homeschooling

i used my laminator today.

as i fed the flimsy plastic through the machine, it occured to me that i've been homeschooling my kids for 10 years. ten years. my eyes got watery (they do that a lot lately) and i suddenly felt very present. i became hyper aware of the moment: my daughter upstairs in her bedroom listening to music (The Killers) and texting with her BFF. my son building a fort in the living room for an epic Nerf war. the smell of baked oatmeal cookies still in the air from hours earlier. the sunlight casting a yellow glow in the front room. the clock's ticking second hand sounded louder, but i swear for a few moments time was standing still.

ten years of homeschooling. and here we are in the summer of 2019.

haile (14) graduated from 9th grade. (hold on, am i talking about someone else's life right now???!) her first year of high school was fast and furious. in addition to her heavy workload, including a second foreign language (Spanish), a fine arts course, Biology lab, and honors classes, she was also on the varsity cheerleading squad this year. she went to her first homecoming dance, first Sadies Hawkins dance...a lot of firsts. there were some late nights and stressful deadlines, but i was - and continue to be- constantly blown away by her time management skills, work ethic, and determination. and somehow she also managed to spend quality time with her friends, and volunteer at church. she finished her freshman year in the top percentile of her class, and has a solid group of sweet friends, but most importantly, she is undeniably becoming a servant-leader and wise thinker who will shape culture for the glory of God. i am so proud of her.

josh (10) graduated from 6th grade. he managed a really heavy academic workload, and played on the middle school basketball team. he has become quite the history buff! and he really enjoyed geography, music, art, and literature classes. this year definitely had some challenges for him, unfortunately. he had to deal with some not-so-kind encounters with other kids, and some stress/anxiety during testing. there were days i was [this close] to unenrolling him from the school and going back to full time homeschool with him. there were tears, fights, tutoring, late nights, and lots and lots (and lots) of prayers. he persevered (we persevered!) and learned a lot through it all. every hard thing was a chance to build his character and motivate him to work harder. meanwhile, he served on the dance team at church and was enrolled in leadership and discipleship training classes. the best thing to happen this year for josh was for him to learn how to get through difficult situations in a God-honoring way. he truly had to learn to ask himself what would Jesus do? when faced with trials. in his own words, from a message he delivered at church recently, "I have to have a can-do attitude and not rely on my own strengths but God’s alone." i am very proud of him.

over the years, people have always asked us if we would homeschool our kids all the way through high school. it's hard to believe we are in that season now. i had no idea what each year would bring; no expectations for our schooling, no plan other than to evaluate what's working each year and pray for wisdom. God is faithful. looking back, i can say with confidence that God's goodness and grace has been with us all along.

as we look ahead to our 11th year of homeschooling, with a high school sophomore and a middle schooler, i am beaming with pride and my heart is bursting with gratitude. it hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. homeschooling my kids has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.
proverbs 22:6

lead me by your truth and teach me, 
for you are the God who saves me. 
all day long I put my hope in you.
psalm 25:5

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