When our family started homeschooling in 2013, our oldest daughter was 11-years-old and in the 6th grade. At that point, my commitment was that we would take it year by year, kid by kid; homeschooling as long as it was the best choice for our family. I concentrated on teaching 6th grade well, but it was hard not to stress about the future. Would I be enough as her Middle School teacher? How would I EVER be enough as her highschool teacher? Or pull off a graduation ceremony for my homeschool graduate?!?
As is true in parenting, those years went quickly and we found ourselves graduating that tiny 11-year-old this past May. The days were long, but the years were truly short. I stood at her graduation ceremony, and read the letter I’m about to share with you. And by “read” I really mean “choked out in between sobs”. Because I am so stinking proud of my first homeschool graduate. And because I am sad that our days learning around the dining room table together have come to an end. She will do big things, of that I am sure. I feel so blessed to get to have been a part in shaping her into the amazing young woman she has become. And I can’t wait to see what her future holds.
(on your Homeschool graduation day),
Becoming your mother was the beginning of my life’s greatest adventure. I was 21-years-old when the Midwife handed you to me. And I had no idea how I was going to be “enough” for you. In some ways it feels like we grew up together; each of us learning and growing as the days passed.
I took on the responsibility of teaching you at home at the start of your 6th grade year. It was with a mix of excitement and overwhelming fear. There was so much I wanted to teach you. So much I wanted us to learn together. But, just as I had felt on the day you were born, part of me had no idea how I would ever be “enough” as your teacher. What about when it was time to teach you algebra?!? Chemistry?!? Would your peers judge you as weird for our choice of schooling? Would there be gaps in your education because I failed to learn everything there was to know about scope and sequence?!?
As it turns out, when the Lord called us into this homeschooling lifestyle, He was only asking me to be faithful in doing the work. To trust the results to Him and HE would make it “enough”. He was asking me to bring the water in the pail. And He would do the miracle of turning it into the best wine. I also learned pretty quickly that things like higher level math and science would figure themselves out in time. I realized that I wanted us to focus on things with eternal value over all else; things that would last longer than you and me.
reasons we choose to homeschool
- We homeschooled to point you to Jesus and build a moral foundation in your life. I wanted to focus on providential history. This is the belief that God has had a hand in everything from the beginning. And that His work did not stop at the final book of the Bible. I wanted us to study every subject to see how all the pieces of history and knowledge come together to answer this one question: What has God been up to and why? As we studied the lives of individuals in history in light of His eternal plan, I wanted us to begin to believe that we, too, each have a purpose greater than living for ourselves.
Sweet Daughter, you have learned those lessons well. Your relationship with the Lord blows me away and your willingness to follow where He leads is truly admirable. You have such a heart for the lost and vulnerable people of the world. The people society has forgotten, living in situations that break the very heart of God. You have made your faith your own and found your mission. And He is going to use your precious life in an incredible way.
- We homeschooled to solidify family relationships. God has knitted our family together in such a creative and special way. I have been so blessed over the past 7 years to see the value of having all 8 of you home together; learning in the same spaces, practicing patience and grace, and building friendships that will last a lifetime. And I am so glad that our youngest 7 children have you to imitate and learn from. You advocate for, take care of, and love them extravagantly.
- We homeschooled to expose you to truth, goodness, and beauty. I wanted to be intentional in cultivating virtue and aligning your affections with things eternal. There were so many curriculum choices, books to choose from, and paths we could have taken. Daddy and I wanted the learning we chose to give you a purpose and teach you to spread your wings. And built an armor that will give you protection as you seek to be a changer in this broken world. And you, my dear, WILL be a world changer.
The building of a cathedral
You were not a perfect student. And you certainly did not have a perfect teacher. But, looking back, I can see the small moments of our days for what they were…the makings of a cathedral of timeless beauty. The planting of seeds that will bear the most glorious fruit in their season.
So, though faithfulness over success was ALWAYS the goal, I think we can stand here today and call the past 7 years successful. We drew closer to the Lord, each other as a family, and learned so much truth, goodness, and beauty. Your life is squarely in the center of the hand of a God who can be trusted. And you have a giant crowd of cheerleaders in your corner. Your heart is stocked with beauty, you are strong for the battle, and you know you are not alone. You are ready for whatever comes next, my precious daughter.
Always in Your Corner,
Read this sweet Homeschool Graduation Letter on the HSLDA site as well!