The beginning of another year. Year 23 for us. Five of those years I was teaching five grade levels at the same time. If we continue to homeschool until the youngest one graduates and you count each grade level taught as one year when I am finished I will have taught 26 school years but 87 grades.
Is it any wonder why we say homeschooling becomes a lifestyle all it’s own? It becomes the lens through which you see everything else. For 22 years, the heartbeat of our family has been learning. We have learned things I didn’t plan and would never have imagined.
So today, as we begin another year, I am teaching 9th and 11th grades. Of course, if you want to be honest, I’m not really teaching anything. I am simply watching my last two high school students learn on their own. We’ll do a few things together, but mostly they are on their own. Sometimes they don’t seem to be doing what I would like them to if I had my way, but in the long run, they are learning. I only have to look at my older boys to be convinced that homeschooling has been a success for us.
Sometimes I get those questions from people who don’t understand how it all works. Questions like “what do you do about the gaps in their learning? How can you be sure that you’ve taught them everything they need to know?” I had to come to terms with that a long time ago. I realized when my oldest son was ready to graduate that I hadn’t taught him everything I wanted him to know. I was in a panic.
I spent some time thinking about this and finally came to a conclusion. I asked myself what my primary goal had been when we began this homeschool adventure. I decided what I wanted was to raise intelligent, responsible, godly young men who would take care of their families and honor God. If I look at the five sons I’ve graduated, I believe I’ve done that.
I haven’t taught them everything they need to know. But who ever knows everything they need to? What I have done is teach them how to learn, and where to find the information they need when they need it. What I’ve done is raise a houseful of boys who are much smarter than their teacher! I ask their advice on many occasions.
No, they aren’t all college graduates. They were not pressured to go to college unless they felt the need to. So far, only one has taken that path. Each of them is finding their niche and finding satisfaction in their chosen field. And if they decide they want to do something different, they aren’t afraid to jump in and try something new.
So today we begin the next phase of our journey. Only two left in school now. It will be much quieter than it used to be on the first day of school. We don’t buy new school supplies and set out our book bags for the beginning of a new year like students in government schools do. We don’t really do much at all to get ready for school except maybe go to bed a little earlier and get up a little earlier. Today won’t be that much different than yesterday because homeschooling is our way of life. It’s what we do every day in one way or another.