A Homeschool Grandma
Written by Mrs. Colleen Moeller
Note from the Hostess: Warning! Do not attempt to read this article without a box of tissues.
I miss homeschooling...
Nearly two years ago, we had the exquisite joy of graduating our "baby." Joy, yes, but what a bittersweet pang in our hearts to watch our youngest arrow fly.
It was an odd sensation, also feeling, in that final graduation ceremony, a loss of my identity and my peer group in one swoop. I WAS a homeschool mom.
I am now the woman you see in WalMart with the ridiculous look on her face. You'll find me standing over your cart, smiling like an idiot at your beautiful baby in the infant seat, or grinning at your happy toddler as he or she calls, "Look, Mommy!" as they ride past you on their tricycle at the park.
Recently, I was standing in a check-out line in a department store totally enraptured by the adorable antics of the cutest little red-headed boy as he "ooh-ed" and "ah-ed" over the little stuffed snowmen he was gently touching with one chubby finger as his beautiful mama and grandma waited in the next line. A clerk had just opened a new register, and she was attempting to get my attention (in vain) to let me know she could help me with my purchases. Our compassionate daughter, who is quite aware of my recent malady, gently tugged my sleeve and said, "Mom..." I looked up and got the message--so did my red face--I'm hopeless! I smiled sheepishly at the mature clerk and told her I'm suffering from "the Grandma bug." She returned my smile and said knowingly, "Oh,...I understand."
Some friends in our family bible study group recently had a baby girl. You guessed it--I'm totally gone! Thankfully, her dear mother says I'm "cute", and lets me enjoy her three children to my heart's content.
In the fall, I walk silently, slowly, down the "back-to-school" aisle and sniff packages of new crayons. It really is a heavenly scent, don't you think?
In my more sensible moments, I have taken account of the blessing that home education was to our family. I've found myself a bit misty-eyed as I dust the bookshelves. Just a glance at the Saxon shelf will cause a catch in my heart. But, I am grateful, so very grateful.
It is such a delight to me to read in magazines and newsletters about the lives of home-school families. I love the busy nature of your days, the sweet human moments of childhood, and the valiant womanhood of each home-school mom.
As I read about your early mornings of nursing, hugs from chubby cherubs, spilled cereal and milk, read-aloud times, Tupperware lid math and peanut butter sandwiches, I am filled with prayers of thanksgiving for you. How my heart rejoices with your daily victories.
Our experience was very brief compared to some of my courageous sisters who have homeschooled for twenty years and who may ultimately homeschool for forty years before the last arrow is flown from their quiver. I salute each of you, my beloved co-laborers. You are truly champions for Christ. God bless you.
Our youngest child was in second grade when we began homeschooling. He was such a delightful little guy with a big smile and wonderful hugs. He was so fun to teach and he absorbed knowledge like a sponge. I remember him working so hard on fractions. Then, in what seemed like two weeks later, he breezed through Saxon Physics. That seems so long ago...
That baby is now living in Texas--working as a graphics and web designer for Vision Forum. There are empty places at our dinner table, and we stay close through email, the telephone and occasional visits.
Our daily routine has become a ballet of six adult lives, intertwined yet separate, unique yet the same. The days are filled with partings and greetings. Often, these days, I find myself home alone. Silence is SO loud!
Those adult lives are also filled with purpose, perspective and promise. We love watching our treasured, faithful arrows seek and follow God's course for their lives.
It is a joy to observe the marks of character maturing from humble beginnings: the mark of compassion born out of a sister's chronic illness, the mark of patience born out of learning from a mom who was learning too, the mark of kindness born out of a picture colored and mailed to an elderly great-grandmother (it's still on her refrigerator door--ten years later), the mark of confidence born out of a pie baked to perfection by a trembling chef, the mark of creativity born out of the gift of careful economy because mom was not out there working at a job, the mark of love born out of God's very gracious gift to a quite imperfect family.
I think the most valuable lesson I learned as a homeschool mom was the one thing that could not be scheduled into a lesson plan. Life happens--and that's the best lesson of all.
Home education is filled with preparing young minds with knowledge and character, young lives with dedication and ability, young futures with hope and possibility.
But, most importantly, it is filled with the daily lessons of living together. If the books get set aside for a season because there is a new baby or serious illness in the family, or a crisis arises, education goes on. Our little ones watch every thing we do. Our lives are often reflected back to us in their eyes. It is a humbling, and powerful thing, to be molded into the image of Christ before our children.
May we always be mindful of how very fleeting these precious MOMENTS are with our children while they are young. May we spend less time worrying about the little annoyances of life and concentrate our efforts on the living of these brief heartbeats of time where we have the gift of being the instruments of God's hand; shepherding these young ones for a little while.
One thing I never realized in the middle of the diapers, spills, burps, giggles, books, math problems, research papers and polynomials, was that they would go past me so swiftly. If I had only known, I would have paid more attention!
If I had it to do over again, I would have dusted less, and sat on the floor and played with Legos more.
Regrets? I have a few, but I place them humbly and brokenly at my Father's feet and pray that He will restore that which the locusts have eaten. I rest in His sovereign grace and mercy. And, in the dear hope that my children will remember their mom and teacher with mercy too.
Joys? I have many. "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord."
Hopes? Oh, boy! Do I? I'm still hanging out at curriculum halls. There are too many holes in this family's homeschool library for the next generation that need to be filled--one can never have too many worthy books, can they? Besides, this "grandma-wanna-be" is looking forward to snuggling up with a tiny trusting face to read-aloud Mother Carey's Chickens--again! You should see me in the children's book or toy departments in stores...it really is a sight!
Press on, dear mothers. Your beautiful, full days are precious in the sight of God. He will sustain you and guide you. May He bless you with eyes to truly watch them grow, ears to truly hear their laughter, hands to truly hold and serve, strong backs to truly carry the gift of today (remember, His burden is light), and strong hearts to one day let them go.
The rocker where I nursed our little ones stands idle in the corner of our bedroom, a baby quilt draped over its back. There is a tiny, petrified trickle of spittle on one leg--it just won't come off.
I look forward with great anticipation to the next generation, 'cause you see, someday, I am going to be a home-school grandma! Until then, I'll see you in the "back-to-school" aisle!
This article was updated on November 4, 2003
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