Friday, May 18, 2012

Dear First-Year Homeschooling Mom (Yes, You -- the One Who Isn't Sure She Can Do This),

I'm writing this to you from my vantage point of twelve years of homeschooling (26, really, if you count the individual years of schooling each child and -- believe me -- my daughters are individuals) and I want to chat with you about a few things because I know they're on your mind.

The main thing is that there will be countless times when you don't think you can do this.

You'll worry -- sometimes a little, sometimes a lot -- that you don't (and will never) have enough intelligence, versatility, knowledge, energy, humor, strength, endurance, foresight, insight, patience, time for napping, time for yourself, time to go to the bathroom, time to prepare lessons, time to think about why you started doing this in the first place.

There will be years when you wonder, "What was I thinking?!"

There will be days when you cry.

There will be moments when it occurs to you, "My parents were right -- I was crazy to take this on. Not for the reasons they thought -- which included their concern that I was becoming a certifiable fanatic -- but because I  don't know what I'm doing."

There will be wakefulness at 3 a.m. You will think, "Have I ruined my children?"

Then one day, you'll realize that your oldest child is old enough to graduate. You will suddenly grasp a few truths.

You'll realize that you employed a little -- at least enough -- intelligence, versatility, knowledge, energy, humor, strength, endurance, foresight, insight, patience, time for napping, time for yourself, time to go to the bathroom, and time to prepare lessons, for her to reach this milestone.

You will have time to think about why you started doing this in the first place.

You will be grateful.

You will feel -- oh, how shall I put this? Amazed.

You'll say to yourself, "Now I know what I was thinking."

You'll cry, but they'll be tears of relief and happiness and pride in this beautiful, 18-year-old creature who stands before you. You'll think, "Yeah, Mom and Dad were on to something -- this was crazy. But it was right, it was good."

You'll wake up at 3 a.m. and wonder if you've planned enough food for the party.

And your parents will come to town to help celebrate this, the first graduation from your homeschool, and you will take them to lunch. They will tell you that they think you've done a fantastic job of raising and educating your daughters.

You'll almost cry again, but the waitress will interrupt you and ask if everything is okay.

Everything is.

Everything is okay.



Anonymous said...

Congratulations on successfully getting to this point and Thank you for the words of commiseration and encouragement. This has been one of those weeks that I have been asking myself, WHAT WAS I THINKING?! (And we are at the end of our third homeschooling year.) I hope one day I'll hear those words from my parents.

Sara said...

Congratulations, Karen! I wish I could experience that feeling, but since ours all get farmed out for high school, I guess I never will. Parents always get congratulated when their kids graduate, but the kids do most of the work; we just nag. ;-) But you, you've really done it, so you deserve many kudos!

Kelly said...

This is a good reminder to us moms still in the deep trenches of our homeschool years, too. My oldest is 14 now! Highschool already?! What?! I'm surprised we've made it this far. Then stair-step kids down to 2 1/2 years old. Thank you for this post, Karen. Congratulations to your graduate!

P.S. I found another Youtube vid for the "Epic Tea Time" and updated my fb thread. :) You can't keep a good thing hidden.

Kimberlee said...

Congratulations Karen! What a milestone! And congratulations Anne; surely we knew you'd receive a fabulous education with your mom at the helm. (and just wait til she graduates college - then you'll really cry!)

Jennifer said...

Sniff, sniff. Congratulations, Karen! I'm so happy for you all!

turtlemama said...

This is lovely, on so many levels. I only hope and pray that I can write something similar in a few years! High School here we come...

Jamie said...


Margaret in Minnesota said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful, especially the very-Karen ending.

Have a great weekend! Don't sweat the small stuff, okay?

(Don't sweat, period.)

(unsightly stains & all)

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez said...

I love this post, Karen! :) Very timely! :D We just started "school" formally on Monday. :D

I am SO inspired, too, by the fact that you're a published author! It is one of my dreams to have my own book(s)! :D God-willing, that will happen soon, in His time! :) I'm subscribing to your posts from now on! :)

God bless always! Love from the Philippines!

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks so much, to all of you! To those of you just starting out, keep hanging in there, and to you seasoned moms who are still encouraging me re. the years to come, thank you!

Jen P. said...

Congratulations to you! Also, this is just what I needed to read. I'm only in Pre-K stage with my first of 3 children. Thank you!