January 6, 2013

Homeschool Autumn Years

Image courtesy of lds.org

Recently, I lost a year. It is gone forever, and I will never get it back.

At the recent October General Conference, thousands of moms in the Church had the same thing happen to them!

While I've made this sound scarier than it is, that "lost year" has made a HUGE difference in our home and with our family. More than ever before, I can see that our family culture needs to resemble a minature Missionary Training Center. October's announcement made it clear that it's the time for families to raise the bar!

Examination Time

I have a seventeen-year-old son that is working harder than ever on his mission preparations. He recently got his first job to help with mission expenses, and has backed off of his academics somewhat in preparation for teaching the Gospel. I have found myself making a list of the things he has mastered and where he still needs work. This list is not dominated by academic subjects, interestingly enough. There are some of those, but there's also life skills, like sewing on buttons, ironing shirts, managing money, and grocery shopping.

Luckily, there are many things that I can remove from his "list." Cooking? Check. Scripture study and Gospel knowledge? Check, check. Cleaning? Check. (Mostly...) Of course there's room for improvement in these areas, and we're working on them more than ever.

Public speaking? Check. Friendliness? Check. Testimony? Check.

At the same time, my beautiful eldest daughter-- the one with Asperger's, the one who dug her heels in to EVER leave home for college-- just turned nineteen and has decided that she wants to serve a mission. That decision has sent her mama reeling with excitement and a tiny bit of panic. I never thought she'd be considering a mission for quite some time yet, and here she is, deciding to go.

And so, another list has been made and items are being checked off, one by one.

Lessons Learned

These checklists I'm making actually belong to ME. And yes, I'm probably slow in making these lists that should have been made years ago, though I have kept a mental checklist over the years. I just never thought the time would pass so quickly...!

So, mothers of young ones: Make your lists NOW! I know that some days it seems that your little ones will be underfoot forever, but I have learned that time is rather "tricksy."

Perhaps, if we see our little ones today as they will be in the far-away "someday," we will not be fooled into thinking we have longer than we actually do.

Autumn-time approaches-- are we prepared for the time when our children will no longer live at home? I have learned that YEARS could be lost, instead of just one.

I want to do better enjoying the journey with the ones still at home. I want to savor every minute, every week, every month, every year. I want to spend my time... wisely.

Rachel is the happy mother of twelve children between the ages of 19 and almost 3 months old. Now in her fourteenth year of homeschooling, she continues to be an enthusiastic advocate for Thomas Jefferson Education principles and has spoken at several homeschool and TJEd conferences. She enjoys Shakespeare and has recently completed an entire Shakespeare curriculum for homeschoolers and homeschool groups, now available at www.yeshakespeare.com. She blogs at Thoughts From The Hearth and at Old Fashioned Motherhood .

4 comments - Add a comment below -:

Chasity said...

Great post! I was one of the Mom's that lost a year too! :)

momof7 said...

Rachel, how are you going to do the equivalent of graudation with yoru kiddos. Our 3rd son just left in November for his mission. He worked very hard to finish requirments under a charter school and we are still waiting to see if he gets that equivalent. Now our 4th son, who just turned 16, is wanting to be ready to go at 18 insead of 19. So we are just curious how to show the equivalent of graduation. Thanks!

Mama Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama Rachel said...

Hi Shelly,

I just plan on giving my homeschool graduates a diploma signed by their head teacher (me) and their school principal (Dad). Colleges accept these kinds of diplomas, so I'm pretty sure my bishop will, too. :-)

I also have their transcripts I can show, if he wants to see that, too.

I am grateful for a kind bishop and ward who accept and embrace our homeschooling efforts.