My daughters are still in high school, so why I am thinking about life after homeschooling now? Actually I have been thinking about what my life will be like after homeschooling since before we even started. When we finish in a few years, what will be my priorities and how will I spend my free time? My priorities should be the same: God first, then husband, family, home and ministry before other hobbies and pursuits. It’s the free time that’s going to take some planning and discernment, but I’m looking forward to writing, volunteering, and hanging out with my husband.
Each season of homeschooling brings a new perspective about what my life should look like in the future. Here are some things I learned at three stages: the early years, the intense years, and the final years.
The Early Years: When we began our homeschooling journey, we wrote our family’s Philosophy of Education, then set short- and long-term academic goals. Short-term goals in the early years were exciting capstones, such as learning to read, understanding how to add and subtract, and using science to explore God’s creation, as well as developing good habits like Bible and worship time, good hygiene and household chores. Setting long-term goals gave us perspective in the midst of the daily grind, to remind us to look up from the laundry or workbook in order to deal with heart issues and build relationships with our children. This stage was great for building my knowledge of Bible stories and provided many opportunities to go to God in prayer for wisdom and strength. I’m so thankful for all the older women who advised me to prioritize the relationship with my husband during this stage full of needy children and unglamorous chores.
The Intense Years: I thought I was a well-rounded, educated person before homeschooling, but I confess that I learned a lot during the upper elementary and junior high years from the subjects we studied together at this stage. Studying history was fascinating and meaningful using the Bible as the time line. Learning Spanish seemed more practical than the French I don’t remember from my youth. I polished my writing and editing skills with my daughters’ curriculum before challenging myself to write a novel. As my children developed personal responsibility and diligence in their schoolwork, I renewed my efforts to maintain our home, finding time to volunteer with my family and pursue other interests. It was like my own period of enlightenment. When my husband asked at the dinner table, “So what did you do for school today?” I had exciting tales to share right along with our daughters.
The Final Years: There is nothing sadder than watching an overwhelmed mother, sobbing hysterically as her child leaves home, looking up blankly at her husband because he is now a stranger. But if I treasure my husband all along, we will look forward to our life alone together. Meanwhile, I hope my relationship with my daughters has transformed from bossy academic instructor to beloved spiritual mentor as we guide them to set their own priorities and goals for life. When I look back at the goals we set for them when they were little, I can’t help but praise God for His goodness to our family over the years!
I guess the primary piece of advice that I received from wise counselors that I would want to pass on to future generations of homeschooling moms is: prioritize your relationship with God and with your husband. Add your advice for prioritizing God and your husband in the comment section below.