Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Homeschooling and the College Years

Yesterday our Engineer drove our Scientist and me over to his new school.  We walked across campus and purchased all the books he would need for next semester.  As we carried the bags of books back to the van, I felt so thankful I have been such a huge part of each boy's education.

My August Quest was met yesterday, feeling thankful for the educational opportunities we have been able to provide for our two sons.  We lived in several different places while they were growing up, and moving in and out of different school systems can be difficult for kids.

Thankfully for us, it really was a positive experience....with each move we found what worked best for our family.

I am thankful for the public school years.  Our Scientist attended public school for kindergarten, first, half of second, and third grades.  Our Engineer enjoyed part of kindergarten in public school.  The public school experience provided us with some very special teachers and wonderful memories.

As I have mentioned before, homeschooling was not something we ever planned to do, but I am so very very thankful that we listened to God's prompting.

Over the years others have questioned us about it, given us advice about it, and shared plenty of their opinions about it. Negative comments never swayed us.  From the very beginning, we knew God was in this with us.  As a matter of fact...I'm pretty sure it was His idea in the first place!

Besides...the experiences we had far outweighed anything any person could have said to ruin it for us. You see, yesterday as we walked back to the van with the two big bags of college textbooks, I thought about the joy I experienced in teaching our Engineer to read.  It was me.  I did that.  I was the one.  I got to be there when his eyes danced with excitement as he read his first word...first sentence...first book. It is a very precious memory for me.

Although he passed me up in math a long time ago (don't worry...Hubby has been in charge of math these past two years), I was the one who first introduced him to math.  I was there in the beginning guiding him...encouraging him...and teaching him.  I can't even tell you how thankful I am for that.

Our Scientist was homeschooled for half of second grade, and then from fourth grade through seventh grade.  Our Engineer was taught at home from kindergarten through half of fourth grade, and then again ninth and tenth grade.  Hubby and I were their main teachers, but we sent them to enrichment classes and we hired a tutor for Spanish.  I am so thankful for those who came alongside us and helped us educate our children.

The homeschooling years hold many of my favorite memories.  I attribute that experience to our close family relationship...and especially our boys' close bond.  They are best friends and that just delights me.  The years they spent all day schooling together and the evenings and weekends playing together, closed their four year gap and developed a sweet relationship between them.

One of our moves lead us to two wonderful private Christian schools and another new educational experience for our family.  Our Scientist spent his junior high and high school years there.  Our Engineer did some elementary and junior high years in the enriching and uplifting classrooms of these two schools.  I am so thankful for that as well.

These two schools provided our boys with a great education, but also their experiences had a huge impact on their lives and the young men they are growing up to be.  We are so grateful for God's perfect timing to have brought us to those schools in that time of their lives.

When our Scientist stood before his classmates and the hundreds of guests attending their high school graduation a couple years ago, he thanked Hubby and I for the choices we made in his education.  Tears brimmed in my eyes as he stood there in cap and gown addressing the crowd.

We are not perfect parents and we have not been perfect educators either.  We have made mistakes....and there may be a few more yet to make, but we have tried to do our best for these two boys.  We love them dearly and I am truly thankful for the amazing adventure all four of us have had in seeing them through these educational years.

This morning when I woke up, I was still thinking about my thanksgiving from yesterday.  Along the same lines, today I am thankful that both of our boys enjoy learning.  They soak up new ideas, new concepts, and new understandings with excitement.  Learning makes them joyful.

In recent days our Scientist has commented that while he has really enjoyed being home this summer, he is also looking forward to getting back to school.  He has chosen to change his major and this will make a big change in the classes he will be taking.  He is excited to take these new classes and go in a new direction toward his future.

It is fun for me to see the sparkle in his eyes as he talks about it.  I am excited too.  I look forward to phone calls and FaceTime as he shares his new adventures with us.  I am thankful he is so excited and willing to learn.

Our Engineer took his first college class during the summer semester.  He loved it.  Each class day, he was up early.  He read and studied his material, did his homework, and worked hard to earn an A.  On his last day of class I asked him if he was glad it was over.  His reply surprised me.  He told me he was kind of sad.  He had enjoyed that class so much, he was sad that the experience was over.

In just a couple weeks, both boys will start the fall semester on the very same day at two different colleges.  I am glad they have this opportunity for higher education.  Today, as I think about all of this...I am just so thankful that our Scientist and our Engineer love to learn.  I am prayerful they will take the knowledge they gain in these college years and apply it in a way that will be most pleasing to God.

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