I think parents in general and homeschoolers specifically have a tendency to become too focused on the here and now. We tend to worry about when our children will learn to read, whether they’ve finished enough textbooks, and how we’ll get them through high school. But although I covered homeschooling highschoolers in an earlier post, I don’t think even that is where we should be focusing our attention. What will their lives look like when they are adults? What will our relationships be with them then? While they will always be our children, our relationships with them can and should change as they become adults.
As a result, I’m not one that cries at graduations or weddings. I see those as further celebrations of the job that we have done (as imperfect as it may be). Maybe it’s easier for me to think that way, since as of last summer, all of my children are adults. But let me encourage you by telling you, it’s all worth it! All the struggles, all the concerns, all the difficulties along the way to seeing them growing up – someday our jobs raising them really are completed.
I’ve been celebrating the completion of almost 35 years of homeschooling since my youngest graduated last May. I had threatened to dance across the stage at that graduation, but since I was also the key note speaker, I only danced internally.
In July the youngest turned 18, marking the passage of all my children to adulthood. (Even if Alabama thinks that age is 19, we’ll go with 18. I don’t want to wait another year to consider that job done, especially when the “child” in question has already graduated and left home!)
Those were celebrations, to be sure. But I think the final celebration of my work as a “Mom of 12” came when my children honored me with a video for my 60th birthday this past week. I laughed and cried (tears of joy) all the way through the 30-minute video where my children and “bonus children” (my son-in-law and daughters-in-law) shared various memories from the last many, many years.
And while no one will ever doubt that I’ve made as many mistakes as any other parent, I can know that I did my best as I raised my children, and that through it they all not only survived but also thrived.
As I watched the video (multiple times, in fact), I have to say that these are the types of things that bring joy to the heart of a homeschool mom, when she hears the thanks for:
- Always believing in them when they struggled with learning something
- Always being there for them (even when we were geographically apart)
- Being willing to say, “Yes, and…” in support of their ideas whenever I could.
- To think outside the box
- To never give up
- To be willing to try new things/to be adventurous
- To be thoughtful
- To be questioning
- To do their best (but not stress about the scores/results/etc.)
Instilling in them
- A love of Learning
- A love of Games
- A love of Travel
- A love of History
So, when the homeschooling or parenting path is difficult, and you just want to throw in the towel, remember, they do grow up. (I’ve always heard “They grow up too fast” – but I don’t think I would go that far!) And someday, you too will be developing new relationships with your adult children and just looking back at these days as memories.
In the meantime, enjoy the present, don’t stress about the past, and look forward to that day in the future when you too will be retired from this current job that sometimes seems like it will go on forever.
Happy learning and living!