In the Dreariness of Winter We Wonder: Is there Life after Homeschool?

Jan 1, 2005

            A friend used to say that the hardest thing about homeschooling was January and February. Isn’t that the truth? 

January is the doldrums of the homeschool year. The enthusiasm and newness of the fall is a distant memory and the monotony of math and grammar becomes mind numbing. February is homeschool panic month. A short stretch of warm days draws our mind to spring and suddenly we realize that the year is almost gone and we’re not half-way through either the math or the grammar! Between wondering if we’ll ever be done and worrying that we don’t have enough time to do it all, it is a wonder the average homeschool mother doesn’t just run as far as VISA will take her!

A homeschooling career has similar seasons. The junior high and elementary years can be like January—is there no end in sight? When will I ever again set the dinner table without having to move three piles of texts and a science project? Then high school comes along and, like February, the end is altogether too close for comfort. They can’t possibly be ready to go to college! That light at the end of the tunnel looks a lot like a speeding train some days!

This year, I am caught between two seasons. I have one child who is still mastering phonics. This is my third time around for “long /a/” and “soft /c/”—yes, it is definitely January. On the other hand, my high school junior is pushing to actually finish Spanish and take the SAT. The end is in sight and there is more than I care to admit left to do. I could fall into utter despair if I didn’t have a third perspective. 

Our oldest son has passed out of the homeschool tunnel, and it wasn’t a train wreck after all! Looking in that rear view mirror, I wonder what all my panic was about and why I ever begrudged those days snuggled on the couch reading More Days Go By. When they are six feet tall and living independently, they don’t even call home on a regular basis! 

Watching my oldest successfully settle into college life, I am satisfied that homeschooling, with all its tedium and angst, is definitely worth it. Despite my worries and inadequacies, my son is learning to study, making good personal decisions and earning good grades. The text material we covered matters less than I imagined it would. What sticks are the memories we made fighting Bunker Hill in the sandbox, skipping ‘school’ for a great field trip or picnic and having the time to talk and pray over the adolescent crisis-of-the-day. With a solid, basic academic background, a positive self-image and a strong moral foundation, our children will adjust better and go farther than we ever imagined.

On those dreary days of the homeschool winter we must remember—this too shall pass. When this season is over, we can enjoy reading that novel that’s been waiting for twelve years—guilt free.

For both mothers and children, there is a life after homeschool.

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