For many of us, the end of May means the end of our school year. For some, it also means the end of our homeschooling journey with the graduation of one or more of our children. While this is an exciting time as plans are made for the next step in our child's life, it can also be a bittersweet time. For me, this meant there was no more digging through catalogs and websites looking for curriculum and resources to use in our classroom, no more lesson plans to build, and no more dedicated time to making sure the core subjects were mastered. My job was done, and I was officially a retired homeschool mom.
Just like any retiree, at first it was nice to have so much free time on my hands to do all the things that I had put on hold while we were homeschooling. But after a while, in the days and months after my last child graduated, I had periods of melancholy, missing what had been a significant part of my everyday routine. I mean, for twelve years I felt like homeschooling was not just what we did; it was who we were. And while we are still a very close-knit family and spend many hours together, I really missed the everyday interactions, the learning process that we were on, and the personal growth we experienced together. I probably learned just about as much as my children did during those days, and not just academically.
Even though I worked while homeschooling my children and continue today, I still found that there was a significant amount of time left for reflection on what I could have done better, how I could have spent more time on this or that, and many other self-doubt contemplations. Fast forward 6 years, and I look at my three adult children and I realize they turned out pretty darn good. They have become independent and successful in the life paths that they have chosen, and I am extremely proud of the amazing individuals they have become. Perhaps what I considered to be shortcomings was just another facet of the homeschooling process that led to their independence and success.
Today, as I watch as they raise their own children, I catch glimpses of things that we did together through our homeschooling years, and it makes me smile. Homeschooling may not always be picture perfect and more times than not it is an ongoing practice in perseverance, but at the end of the journey, instead of reflecting on the "coulda, shouldas" maybe take this time to remember all the amazing things that did happen along the way.
This chapter may be closing, but it is not the end of the book. Homeschooling is more than just getting your child to graduation. It is a lifetime journey and there are many more wonderful opportunities awaiting on the next page.