Sunday, February 14, 2010

They Will Indeed Soar!

I have had many conversations over the years with others who have not been champions of homeschooling, to say the least! When we started, family members were skeptical of our ability to keep up and really give our children a proper (whatever that is) education. Their skepticism did nothing to assuage my own doubts about the process as I reluctantly started down this path.

There were many days in the early years of our homeschooling when I doubted we were doing the right thing; there were many days throughout our homeschooling years when I wondered if they would be able to make it in the “real world” (whatever that is). When the house was a disaster and they were bickering and I wasn’t at my best, I longed for solitude, for quiet, for a clean house!

Today I have that wish. The house is silent. I have hours of solitude. For the most part all the toys that gave way to books, CDs, calculators, video game cartridges, backpacks, and coats helter-skelter as they were shed, etc. are all gone – put away or with my children miles away.

For you see, they did grow up into independent young adults steeped in their roots so they can now soar.

With one living in New York (though right now visiting Cincinnati), one living in the D.C. area, and one having just embarked on a 3 month journey to his beloved Japan, the house is empty – the quiet echoes.

I know it is cliché to say they grow up so fast so cherish your time with them now. I often had trouble believing that in the midst of teething, fretting about whether they would learn to read or do math, the difficult early teen years, their feelings of isolation, and my own doubts.

But grow up they did. And, while I miss their constant chatter, their antics, even their arguments, I am so proud of the young adults they have become.

When I first started reading about homeschooling I read the books by the Colfaxes and others. Their successes seemed far removed from our own lives. When main lessons didn’t go as planned, when they refused to do my circle, when they tired of the times tables, when they were slower than their peers to care about driving, I wondered and worried.

But our successes came. Unschooling works.

Our oldest is finishing her fifth year at Eurythmy Spring Valley and will embark on a new adventure of teaching eurythmy in a Waldorf school come fall. After living on her own for five years in New York, she will now be moving to a new part of the country, on her own. Our middle is now living in D.C. finishing her year with the Truman-Albright Fellows program as she continues her tireless work to combat human trafficking. Poised to begin either grad school or law school in the fall, she has already been accepted into several of the top law schools/grad schools in the country including Harvard Law. And, our youngest is completing a gap year between high school and college of his own fashioning culminating in his trip to live, work, and play in Japan for 3 months before he heads to college in the fall.

Your days will sometimes be chaotic; your way of homeschooling will not match anyone else’s no matter what dogma you decide to follow; your days will not look like what you envision and hope for in your minds’ eye. But it will be okay – if you respect your children’s individual needs and development, trust yourself and the process, and above all say yes every day to this adventure you have decided to undertake.