I’m sure you can guess what the subject of this blog post is!
Yes. It’s our son Jackson’s graduation.
14 years ago, we started our family journey of home education. Early on, we did many of the activities that many of you probably did or do; nature center activities, library events, swim lessons, Kindermusik. Plus lots of art and reading at home. (And Veggie Tales.) While we hadn’t originally planned to homeschool, we sensed that that was God’s good plan for our kiddo. And, it was a good plan!
We began our journey in preschool with Five in a Row. When Jackson was in kindergarten, we used a variety of curricula and added piano lessons (in a wonderful group teaching program for young children).
And, we were off!
We used a lot of literature-based curricula, like Sonlight, which utilizes readers and historical fiction alongside history textbooks. We found that online or computer-based curricula was great for Jackson’s learning style, especially in math. We did a lot of experiments in science courses which ran from plants and photosynthesis, to electricity and magnetism, to weather, to chemistry.
We had amazing opportunities for group learning, in American art lessons, field trips, and a nature/hiking club. We joined a homeschool coop and support group, which (over the course of 8 years) gave Jackson tons of opportunities for great friendship, acting, fellowship, and service.
We also faced some speed bumps over the years. I had some serious surgeries in 2012, and again in 2017. Our family definitely went thru times of suffering and challenge. But during those difficult times, we also saw God’s provision and the support of our friends. I joined The Old Schoolhouse’s Review Crew, which allowed us to use and review curricula at no financial cost to ourselves. Jackson had some amazing educational activities because of the Crew, and both he and I made some lasting friendships.
And suddenly, it was 2019-2020, Jackson’s senior year. And it was a VERY full year, as I’m sure every student, teacher, parent, and homeschooler across the globe can say. COVID-19 of course changed much about our son’s senior year. His coop classes suddenly switched to online, in early March. Since we were already homeschooling, Jackson’s coursework wasn’t really affected; we simply continued what we were doing. Social activities dried up…yet Jackson was able to connect with friends via the internet. But graduation was up in the air. Because our state basically went on lockdown, our coop’s graduation ceremony was cancelled.
However, our coop’s graduation committee rallied and they planned and held an exceptional graduation ceremony in early summer. It was so meaningful. We’ll never forget it!
Crossing the Finish Line
And with graduation, the journey our family has been on together for 14 years has come to a close. And in what a crazy way, in the year of “the corona.” If y’all are anything like me, your expectations of what the year would look like were blown out of the water. While we really never know what’s coming in a particular year, none of us could have predicted this one.
And yet, we persevere and press on. Jackson will be attending college as a freshman this month. My career as a homeschool mom and teacher has officially concluded. And in the blink of an eye, at that! For so many years we have been working toward the goals of finishing each year well and toward eventual high school graduation. Some of our homeschool years went so beautifully, and others just…did not. But I can tell you that I don’t regret one single one of those years. Homeschooling my son has been one of the great joys of my life. Humbling? Yes. Challenging? You bet. But rich in time, in love, and treasured memories? All of the above. God has been good and has sustained us through many a trial and many a happy moment.
And we and our son are off to walk out the next step in our journey!