lettersThis past week students everywhere went back to school. New milestones were reached as some started their first day of kindergarten while others started high school. Our family reached our own milestone this past week.  We have begun our final year of homeschooling!  We started eighteen years ago with our daughter and now we are finishing with our son. He has begun his senior year.

It is not easy to describe what homeschooling has meant to me all these years. I believe it is one of the best decisions my husband and I have ever made. It was right for our family and has brought many blessings.

I thank God that he has allowed our school to exist for eighteen years. In the early years of homeschooling, people would often ask me, “Are you going to homeschool through high school?” I would always answer that question cautiously. I wanted to raise my hands and say, “Of course! I love homeschooling. I want to see it to the end!” But I would contain myself out of reverence for the sovereignty of God and say that though we want to homeschool through twelfth grade, we are taking it one year at a time. We do not know what the Lord has planned for us.

And boy, we didn’t. We had no idea that when our daughter started her freshman year and our son started sixth grade that I would have to teach school from the couch because of my health situation. But God is good. He allowed us to continue. In spite of some unique challenges, we found ways to get things done and continue homeschooling. I am deeply grateful that we have made it this far.

For this final year of homeschooling, I hope to finish strong. I am praying for the strength to do so. All my efforts rely on the grace of God. As always, I need his help. It is my prayer that this last year is a banner year. I want to do my best for our son.

It would be wonderful if we were able to start on time each morning, limit distractions, and cover all that needs to be covered. Really wonderful. Life has a way of cutting into those things as many homeschoolers know.   I would love to keep up with our Bible reading plan and see that research paper get done on time. Can you image? Done on time! We’ll see. I will do my best to help us stay on track while cherishing every moment, and cherish them I will. There will be lots of “lasts” this year just like our last Back to School. Just yesterday we took our last back to school pictures. We have taken them every year as I know many other families have. Those pictures are treasured.

During this last year I want to do my best to equip our son for his fast approaching launch into the world whether it be by imparting school knowledge or life knowledge. My husband has shared plenty of the latter over the years. I know he will continue sharing it this year too. But more than anything, I want to work with my husband to shine the light of the gospel into every day and see our son grow closer to the Lord.

The beginning of every year was been filled with the same types of wants and goals. Truthfully, I didn’t always reach them. In eighteen years of homeschooling I have learned that things don’t always go the way you planned. But I have also learned that for the most part, that’s OK. We work hard and fall short sometimes. That’s homeschooling. That’s life. What is important is that we realize that we don’t have to stay in a low place. We can get back on track. We can reenergize, recommit, and refocus. We can still finish strong.  I have tried to instill this in our children over the years. I hope and pray it is something they take with them into their futures.

I have absolutely loved homeschooling all these years. I know I will miss it a lot. Thinking about it too much makes me sad, BUT I know it must come to an end. I really am OK with our last Back to School.  The memories I have are precious. I love our children deeply and cherish every moment I have been blessed to share with them. Every grade and every age has been a delight. Maybe that’s why I’m Ok. There is so much stored up in my heart from our years together. It is sustaining and allows me to move forward with gratitude for what has gone before. This year of lasts is just one more step forward in life just as we have taken so many before. I take comfort in the expectation of enjoying their next phases of life too. I pray for their futures and look forward to what will come.

To all the families who have gone back to school, whether you homeschool or not, I wish you a fantastic year!