Academics were always a priority in my husband’s family. His father, mother, uncle, and aunt attended an Ivy League university. Both families continued the tradition when all of their children attended this same Ivy League school too — a total of 11 people. In fact, I understand there are as many Michaels who graduated from this school (Brown University) as there are Kennedys who graduated from Harvard. The Michaels are just not as well-known ... for which I have always been thankful.

Naturally, when our children came along, my husband insisted on enrolling our children in the best private school in the city. Our first two children graduated from this private high school and have gone on to find college and post-graduate success in their fields.

My third child, however, transferred to a Christian high school. I discovered that I liked the environment at this school a lot, so I opted to place my youngest child there. In other words ... I have never homeschooled a child before.

But it is a new world now. My grandson is 4 years old. He’s bright, happy, and eager to learn. He is also the child of a single mother (my daughter) who cannot afford private schools but still desires to give her son the best educational experience possible. Together, we have decided to begin homeschooling him. I will play a significant role in his education since she must work full-time, but my work, freelance writing, can be done from home.

I find myself as eager to learn about homeschooling as any new mother just starting out on this adventure could possibly be. I find myself reading about the topic and inquiring of friends who have successfully homeschooled. One of my closest friends homeschooled her three sons. The first two have now finished college and are finding their place in the working world.

In my city, seventh-graders who score in the 95th percentile or higher on a standardized test are allowed to take the SAT as part of an academic talent search by Duke University. My children participated in this search, but at that time I rationalized that their private school education was the reason for their academic success. However, my friend’s sons participated too — proof that homeschoolers can receive an equally strong education. That is what I am counting on as I embark on this late life adventure.

I rejoice as my grandchild learns his colors, shapes, and numbers. I am eager to learn how to be a better teacher and just as eager for my grandchild to be an academic success!

Born in Africa, the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a freelance writer living in Louisville, Kentucky. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including anthologies, magazines, homeschool curricula, and devotional magazines. Married for 32 years, Harriet and her husband have four children and one grandchild. Visit her blog at www.whathehasdoneformysoul.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2011, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

Publication date: June 8, 2012