As I prepare to graduate our third child from our homeschool in May, I am keeping in the forefront of my mind the advice I heard from more than one seasoned homeschool mom over the last sixteen years. Stay the course.

This Christmas break was a very busy one for our family, as our one and only daughter married her sweetheart two days before Christmas. We had a wonderful time making special things for her ceremony. Of course, getting the house ready for wedding guests, as well as having our daughter and her attendants get ready at home, was busy but rewarding. In the end, everything was perfect for their special day. It was such a blessing for all.

We paused the next few days remembering the birth of our Savior, something we never want to take for granted. Family went home. The house returned to the new normal. I had plenty to keep me busy preparing for a change of rooms for our oldest son, who was taking his sister’s room, and refreshing the other boy’s room. We took a day off to celebrate the start of a new year with many friends. Then the painting was finished, furniture moved, everything was in its place—a place for everything.

Today, as I rest and begin to prepare to start back to school on Monday, I am reminded that sometimes starting the second semester can be daunting. Stay the course, I remind myself. This is what we have been called to do. It is a joy to spend our days together and learn together. The children will not be here for much longer. Soak it all in. Enjoy each day.

My kids made me a special book for Christmas with pictures of everyone and a letter from each of the four of them. In her letter, my daughter, always perceptive, mentioned not being sad about all the lasts, but looking forward to all the firsts. There have been many lasts lately. I was trying to take them all in, not just run past them, but note them, enjoy them. Quietly, I told her I am not sad; I just did not want these events to pass me by unnoticed, unremembered, unappreciated.

We will work to finish this school year strong, enjoy the completion of the school year of child number three, and prepare for the last three years of our last child.

Donna Mariucci is a follower of Jesus Christ and wife of twenty-three years to Rob. They have four wonderful children. All of their children have been homeschooled from the beginning; two are homeschool graduates and in college, and two are still in their home high school. Donna enjoys serving in ministry along-side her husband, spending time with family and friends, studying God’s Word, and reading an occasional Christian fiction novel. She has contributed to the homeschool community in many ways over the years, through co-ops, homeschool groups, working at a homeschool bookstore, and being on the board of a local teen group.