After homeschooling from birth to high school graduation my son, Ian, has now also graduated from college.
Graduating in December feels odd in every way. There is no graduation ceremony in December. There is no college diploma until it arrives in the mail. Add to that the busy holidays. It’s just strange.
I arranged for a yard sign to be set up that day so it would be there when Ian pulled into the driveway after that final class. It helped mark the finish line. It was a tangible COMPLETE!
Somehow, on the last day of his undergrad classes, I was finally ready to pull out all the boxes of workbooks, reports, textbooks and art which I have been holding on to since our very first days of being homeschoolers.
I knew it would be difficult. I knew what feelings and memories opening those boxes would bring up. I was ready. With college done, only graduate school ahead, it was time.
We dragged the boxes up from the basement. They sat for a day or so until I felt ready to open one. Almost immediately I was crying. Our favorite curriculum, which we used until the publisher had no more for us to buy, was right there, one of the first items I touched. So bittersweet. I could feel the feels like it was yesterday, all the joy of those workbooks, the memories of our heads literally smushed together as we worked through the puzzles together. My heart was so full. How could I throw that into the trash can? It wasn’t just a bunch of bound pages, it was our relationship, our educational choices, our life and values that was bound in the workbook.
The storage boxes themselves were the symbol of what led to that day, the final day of the final undergrad classes. 21 years of Ian’s life since birth all leading to this moment.
Read more about the homeschool boxes here: Sorting Through 12 Years of Curriculum.
The Wrap Up
Would I have changed anything? No, not really. Life and learning always has some “holes” and I’m not going to worry about this hole or that hole because if I had focused on those things there would have been others that were pushed aside. We only have so much time and energy.
Our homeschooling and family life focus was always learning how to learn, critical thinking, a love of learning, problem solving, understanding a topic instead of being able to rattle off facts, experiences over objects, learning to mastery and joy.
What I will always remember is Ian sitting in my lap as we “did school” at 6am, then growing a bit older and sitting next to me his thigh pressed against mine as we looked at lessons together, then an even older Ian across the table or working as I moved around the house, which transformed into the years where I had very little to do with his education other than support (homeschool classes, community college classes, a bit of online learning).
Sometimes I was Ian’s teacher, sometimes Ian taught me, and most often we were learning together. I will never look back on my life and think “I wish I spent more time with Ian” because I am so grateful that I DID spend my time with him. We laughed, we cried, we played and we learned. Enjoying the journey. Sounds like a pretty great way to be a family and definitely homeschooling has been the best part of my life. No regrets.
What’s next for Ian? He’s planning on law school. He has started prepping for the LSAT. Law has long been his goal but he is open to life taking him in a different direction if that happens.
What’s next for me? Life is good! Ian’s finished homeschooling 3 ½ years ago, so I had hung up my homeschool-mom hat a while ago! Yet, homeschooling is where my heart is so I have no plans on walking away from supporting the community any time soon.
It’s been a magical ride and I look forward to everything still to come!
Written by Melissa Robb