Yes, it’s the end. “The end” can conjure up all kinds of thoughts, both positive and negative, happy and sad, and for me, in this particular circumstance it elicits all of the above. I’m at the end of my homeschooling career.
My youngest daughter, my baby, graduated. She’s all done. We held a Graduation Open House for her to celebrate her accomplishments. At one point our house was so crowded you could hardly walk from the kitchen to the living room. It was something to see so many who came to wish her well, pat her on the back, and express love and good wishes for her future endeavors, and to tell her they’d be praying for her.
School is over, all done. Yes! Finally, after all those years of homeschooling I am going to retire, kick back, relax. No more summers configuring and mulling over next year’s plans. No more gathering school books and ordering from Amazon. No more books to try to pre-read, or at least familiarize myself with. No more listening to narrations or reading written narrations and discussing books together. No more poetry or Shakespeare plays to read together. No more pieces of art to admire together. No more selections of classical music to listen to together. No more nature study to explore together. Oh, wait! Wait…..Just a minute!
Homeschooling has been the adventure of a lifetime! What an incredible experience. What a privilege. How enriched our lives have been. How much I have been impacted over the years. What an education I’ve received following this method!
I was not educated like my daughters were educated. The schools I attended weren’t run on the premise that Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life. When I attended school, I was not exposed to the great thinkers and writers or studied history chronologically or appreciated classical music, great works of art, poetry, Shakespeare, and nature study like they did. But how wonderful it was for me to learn along side them, to have a chance to taste of the rich and generous banquet that is a Charlotte Mason education.
From Volume 3, School Education, Charlotte Mason says, “The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
Thanks to Charlotte Mason my daughter cares. The room where her feet are set is large indeed. She’s had a rich and varied banquet set before her during her years of schooling. Through the rich, living books she’s read over these years she’s touched on so many different subjects, met so many people of history, traveled to far away places, and learned to think deeply and consider.
I surely didn’t follow CM perfectly and could have done much better in so many areas. But overall, it was good. This has indeed been an adventure.
So where to from here? I won’t be planning and preparing for another school year ahead, but I don’t want my own learning to stop. There are many books I never read, books I only skimmed that my daughters read entirely, and I’m hoping to catch up with them. I am putting together a list of what I’d like to read. I want to get more serious with my nature study, add consistently to my nature journal, maybe even begin my own timeline book and commonplace book. So, in a sense, now that I’m not homeschooling anyone it’s time to focus on homeschooling myself and attempt to fill some of the educational holes that I still have. After all you’re never too old to learn.
In addition to my own self education I’ll also be assisting my oldest daughter pull together the upcoming year’s plans for her 3 school aged children who will be doing 3 different AO years. And I am looking forward to being a part of their nature study which was one of the areas that I often found difficult to manage on a consistent basis when I was homeschooling my own. Now I get the chance to re-do nature study, as it were, with my grandchildren.
So while I am retiring I expect I’ll be busier than ever, but a different kind of busy than the homeschooling busy. I am looking forward to what’s ahead.