Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Quiet Conclusion

The day that has be steadily counting down on my blog for years has finally arrived. Today, I mailed my last report and last check to our home school umbrella school.

Sixteen years and DONE.
I went to the nearest Publix during my lunch hour and bought myself a lemon tart to celebrate. It was delicious, but the moment was bittersweet!

I want to show you something. Here's a photo of what we looked like the year I began home schooling (1998). I sat and fussed with the scanner and never got it to work, so I did my best by holding it up to the camera on my computer.

Trying to get closer so you can see the 90's perm.

Wait. Is this working?

The main thing is the hair. Do you see the hair? I had just begun experimenting with color rinses, but it's mostly my own hair color. And my hair color NOW?

This is all me!
So I ask you - for whom has home schooling been the most difficult? The kids? Let's see . . .

Or parents?

It's the hardest thing I've ever decided to do.

It's also the best thing I've ever decided to do.

Well, ONE of the best things. 

A lifetime of memories to store in my heart, and hopefully in their hearts, too. I'm so thankful I didn't miss any of it. But, then again, there's this one:

When she was much younger, I would have to tell her that she couldn't do all of the things that her brother and sister could do. I would gently remind her that when THEY were six, eight, etc, I wouldn't let THEM do the things they could now do at eleven, sixteen, and so on. It's so difficult to be the youngest, especially when siblings are four and seven years older!

But when Glenna turned thirteen, I asked her to do something that I never dreamed of asking her siblings to do when they were thirteen; I asked Glenna to be at home without me.

The hardest thing I had ever done was leave that girl at home. I had been home with my children for 21 years up to that point, but with two kids in college, school money had to come from somewhere. We were unable to save for college during the 21 years on a single, blue-collar income. I started part-time at the Park and then started working at the dentist office, also part-time. I would get off at 1:00 and try to help with her school as much as I could. Her freshman year was a total bomb. 

I knew I needed help and enrolled her in a college prep school specifically designed for home school, where she took classes one day per week and did her home work at home the other four days. It was a good, but difficult time. She thrived academically but struggled with so many other areas, and I was a basket case with all the many responsibilities of work, home, and school. By the grace of God and help of loving mentors, my Glenna triumphed over depression and loneliness. Bless her, bless her, bless her.

And bless this guy and his faithful service every Monday night, speaking the truth of God's love into her life for four years. Monday nights would end with Glenna sharing lessons of God's steadfast passion for His children. She would share every word until she saw her exhausted Mom fading into sleep, then she would kiss me and tuck me in for the night. Roles reversed.

Now my girl is fiercely independent - so much so that I have to remind her that she still has parents to make major decisions on her behalf, and we would be happy to help take care of things! Paul spoke well when he said, "Youngest borns have zero expectations of others." She has had to grow up too quickly! I know God is sovereign over this. I know God's plan was to grow her and help her and He has! It's just not without pain in my heart. My beautiful Baby Girl, I love you so . . . 

With each of my children, when they graduated high school and I was no longer solely responsible for their educations, we were able to restore our relationships that had been strained by this accountability. Josh reminded me of the time I told him how thankful I was for my relationship with my son post-home school, and again with my Kelly. He told me at Glenna's graduation that I now had that to look forward to with her as well. With Glenna, however, she had to shoulder her school burden more than I did and was accountable to other teachers, so the strain wasn't as great as with the others (but there was strain! Don't get me wrong!). Still, I'm so looking forward to having the stress of school lifted completely as it is with Ty and Kelly! I love being with my kids more than anyone else in the world. I'm happy just to sit in a corner and bask in their friendships and laughter . . . what joy they bring to my heart!

So today I mark a milestone with thankfulness. I am so thankful I home schooled and wouldn't trade a single day of it. We are blessed to live where we have the freedom to choose this option and become better because of it. 

We are blessed.


Thrive Youth said...

I'm so proud of you JoAnna! You did it and now you get another child for a friend instead of a student. I'm glad I stuck around to make it through all those Welsh kids High School years. You kids are very special to me and I'll always cherish the memories I had with them!
I'm officially released now, right? Well, it was worth sticking around for!!! :)
Love you guys!

jessie said...

This is so sweet! Thankful for you, Mamacita! You have done a great job!


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