When a Homeschool Child GraduatesApril Elstrom
:: encouragement for a mom’s heart in all stages of life ::
I’m planning my third graduation reception. The diploma, cap and gown are in my bedroom, her senior pictures are waiting to be signed, and her graduation invitations are in a delivery truck on their way to me as I type. It wasn’t that long ago when she was my wiggly kindergarten student who was struggling to learn to read.
I just want to encourage you that this homeschool journey is hard. There are days that both you and your students are in tears. But if you persevere, the day that you’re ordering a diploma and planning a graduation ceremony will sneak up on you. Don’t give up!
Early reading lessons turn into spelling, grammar, and essay writing lessons. The struggling, late reader can become the voracious reader, with her nose always in a book. Those days of sitting side-by-side working through every single math problem together lead to an independent learner tackling algebra and geometry mostly on their own.
Those wiggly, impatient, distractible first graders will become young men and women. Those middle school kids with their preference for scatological humor will become young adults you enjoy spending time with. They’ll impress you with their talents, charm you with their personalities, and fascinate you with their humor and storytelling.
That struggle with place value and fractions will end. They will get it eventually. They will move on to independent reading and lessons. Someday they will be able to manage their lessons on their own. They’ll figure out how to balance school, chores, hobbies, and maybe even a job. They’ll drive themselves to the movies with a friend and talk about cross-country trips that give you gray hairs and make you glad for cell phones.
Soon you’re signing up your student for the ACT or SAT test, talking career paths and college choices. College visits loom on the horizon and sometimes he receives more mail than you do from colleges wanting him to apply.
You’ll still want to pull your hair out sometimes – because how many bowls of cereal do they really need in one day, and why can’t they realize they need clean clothes at least the day before an event – but you’ll also realize that they’re only going to be at home for a little while longer. Those little birds actually do grow up and leave the nest.
It is worth every single late night, every frustrating moment, and all that time spent explaining fractions. And, yes, it does feel like you just blinked. Enjoy the journey, and remember, every journey does have an end.
So today, as you’re bogged down in grading math lessons and slogging through spelling lists, take a moment to enjoy your child. Cherish their childish handwriting. Laugh at their knock-knock jokes that interrupt the math lessons. Snuggle a little closer as you read history books aloud to them. Because this moment, this age, this stage won’t last forever. Homeschooling doesn’t last forever, even if it feels like you won’t survive the school year, let alone thirteen of them.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up!”