Anyone who knows me knows I homeschooled my children for 16 years and, during that time, served as newsletter editor with our homeschool group in North Carolina. Later, after moving back home to Virginia, I served in leadership for eleven years with PEACH — Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes — as president, newsletter editor, teen coordinator, field trip coordinator, secretary, and anything else that was needed, working together with a group of dedicated moms.
Even though my days of teaching at home are over — my oldest graduated from James Madison University in 2007 and my youngest graduated from Mary Baldwin College as part of the Class of 2012 — I never lost contact with the homeschool community. I keep up with issues that concern them, government regulations that may affect them, and read articles from moms who are just beginning or in the middle of their homeschool journeys.
Today I read an article that oh-so-hit-the-nail-on-the-head. It was passed along by a homeschool mom friend who used to be in PEACH but moved a few years ago to Georgia and is still teaching at home. The article had been written by a Texas homeschool mom who had just begun the homeschool journey with her four children.
Out of all the questions of why and how that came from people throughout the years — why do you homeschool? how can you stand to spend all that time with your children? how can you afford it? where do you find the patience? — this mom answered in one of the best ways I’ve heard.
After writing of the days when it’s difficult that made her ready to throw in the towel and call it quits, she explained why she doesn’t quit:
Homeschooling “works” for our family because we make it work. It is a priority. A calling. Even a conviction. Because of our commitment to homeschool, there are many other things we aren’t involved in, don’t spend our money on, don’t invest our time into. Not because some of these “other things” are bad, but because they would rob us of these precious years to nurture and train our children.
Then this wonderfully honest, young, homeschool mom summed it up in one of the best ways I’ve ever seen homeschooling explained. In one short paragraph, she gave the reason we do it:
I can only homeschool my children once in my lifetime and theirs. Now is that time. It is up to me, and to my husband, to make these days count. For eternity. This is why I choose to get up every morning, sit down at our dining room table, and teach my children in the best way I know how.
And that, in a nutshell, is it. We only have one chance — take it or forever give it up. When people say, “Enjoy your kids while they’re young because those years will quickly pass,” they aren’t kidding.
The Texas homeschool mom was far more eloquent than I could ever be — my blunt assessment over those times of exasperation during my years of educating at home was, “Some days I wanted to pull my hair out!”
Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Do I miss it? You bet I do.
Do I now enjoy my time to myself and exploring what I want to do? Far more than anyone — other than a fellow homeschool mom — would probably understand because after spending 24/7 with my kids for all those years, it’s wonderful to follow my interests.
Am I grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children? I thank God and my husband for making it possible because I had an opportunity that others may want and cannot enjoy.
I’m still learning from the homeschool moms coming along behind me … and I am happy to offer what knowledge and experience my homeschool journey can provide to them. Meanwhile, we must protect our freedoms to educate at home so others can enjoy the exhilaration — and frustrations — of growing and teaching their own.
Picked up and linked at Everything Homeschool
Lynn Mitchell educated her children at home for 16 years and was part of leadership in North Carolina’s Iredell County Home Educators (ICHE) and Virginia’s Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). Her son graduated from Harrisonburg’s James Madison University (JMU) in 2007 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. Her daughter graduated from Staunton’s Mary Baldwin College in 2012 with a BS in Sustainable Business and a minor in Marketing. Lynn and her husband live in Augusta County located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The story of how she began her homeschool journey can be found here (see Back in the homeschool classroom: Blazing new trails).
Other titles in the “Back in the homeschool classroom” series by Lynn R. Mitchell:
– Concerns Addressed as Optimism Grows (January 2017)
– Halloween (October 2016)
– Summer Prep for the New Year (July 2016)
– When Will It Snow? (December 2015)
– Thomas Jefferson’s Quote (October 2015)
– Reading out loud to our children (July 2015)
– Did Terry McAuliffe understand the ‘Tebow Bill’ he vetoed? (April 2015)
– ‘Tebow Bill’ Fails to Garner Support to Override Governor’s Veto (April 2015)
– The Virginian-Pilot is wrong about homeschool sports ‘entitlement’ (February 2015)
– ‘Snowflake’ Bentley … Studying the Beauty of Winter (February 2015)
– ’50 reasons homeschooled kids love being homeschooled’ (November 2014)
– Rob Bell’s Tebow Bill (September 2014)
– Summer Vacation Is Almost Over (August 2014)
– Grown son’s first home (April 2014)
– Support group vs Co-op (February 2014)
– Where it all began … blazing new trails (January 2013)
– Grown son’s first home (July 2013)
– Staying in touch with homeschool friends (July 2013)
– New Year’s Eve (December 2012)
– More sleep = homeschoolers happier, healthier than public school students? (April 2013)
– Using Shenandoah National Park as your classroom (March 2013)
– Rainy days (May 2013)
– A chance encounter (June 2013)
– Autumn (October 2012)
– The rain rain rain came down down down (April 2012)
– Why we teach our own (April 2012)
– Casey (April 2012)
– The wedding … letting go (September 2012)
– The pain of grief (August 2012)
– When faced with a challenge … no whining (April 2012)
– The simple wisdom of Winnie the Pooh (August 2012)
– First day of school (September 2012)
– The rise of homeschooling (February 2012)
– Hot summer days (July 2011)
– Constitutional lessons and the Judicial branch of government (March 2012)
– Mary Baldwin commencement 2012 … SWAC Daughter graduates with honors (May 2012)