It seems as if every year of homeschooling has presented us with new challenges. And that’s as it should be, as each year the children learn and grow and change. But this has been my most challenging year yet. This year, I have a fourth-grader, a seventh-grader, a ninth-grader, and my first senior. And while academically my senior doesn’t have much left to complete, there’s still so much to do before I can say with definite certainty that he’s on his way to college.
I know he’ll get there. But like many homeschooling families, we are on a very tight budget with just enough extra to maybe pay for some of those textbooks. So he’s got to go on scholarships and federal grants. We really don’t want him to take out a loan.
And after an extremely busy fall of searching and applying for scholarships, it looks like most of it will be paid for. But we still have to fill out more paperwork, and my son still has a few more essays to write. And during these busy (and sometimes frustrating) days, I’ve found myself thinking back to when everyone was small – and remembering how much fun the lessons were, when we all sat around the kitchen table making crafts, playing games, and reading books together. And I catch myself wishing it could still be that way – especially for my youngest.
Lately, school days mean the older three work in their rooms on their assignments individually, coming to me only when they have questions. They mean “meetings” with my senior to discuss his latest to-do list. And they mean my youngest and I sit at the kitchen table, making our way through workbooks instead of fun, hands-on activities.
But that’s okay. It may not be my ideal homeschooling day, but it’s where we are now. It’s what we need to do to make it through this senior year successfully. Next year will be different; I’ll have more time, and (bitter-sweetly) I’ll have one less student to keep up with. A new year with a new dynamic and new challenges. But isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?