People are always asking if we realize that we will be doing this for a very long time to come. They seem to think that I, especially, suffer from some rare type of disease! After all, why do I want to spend so much time with my kids? Don’t they drive me crazy?

Well, sure, sometimes. However, usually I am too busy being amused, entertained, and thrilled as I watch them grow through their various stages. Learning to walk, learning to read, learning to multiply, learning to play music, learning to analyze literature, learning to drive, learning to defend their beliefs. I never feel as if I am doing homeschooling with my kids. It is simply who we ARE.

Our oldest child is actually graduating from college this year, hard as that is to believe, with Honors degrees in History and Music (and a minor in Russian). She is currently exploring her options and is praying for the Lord’s direction on where to go from here.

Our next high school graduate is taking a gap year at the moment, spending time writing a book, leading his Civil Air Patrol squadron, advising and teaching Bible studies on our local college campus, and working to save money. He will head to college himself in the fall to major in Physics and International Relations, and he also plans to be involved with the AFROTC.

As I mentioned, two of our teens are in the midst of hshs at this time. The older one is the creative type--she enjoys music, writing, and art. Other than a few outside classes to help her develop her talents in these areas, she spends all her time learning at home. This daughter is a big help with the drama classes I teach to local homeschoolers. She is a great backstage manager, and she has written some wonderful scripts for our groups to perform--one set in the Civil War, and the most recent one focusing on the Holocaust.

My younger high school daughter is an avid baker and crafter; she enjoys cake decorating, painting, needlework, and ballet. She loves to read, especially books that explain and bring to life different periods in world history, and she recently played Anne Frank in our Holocaust production. This daughter is also the organized one in our big family--which has been both a challenge for her and a blessing for me!

Isn’t it amazing how God has created each of our young people so differently?!

Homeschooling through high school has given my teens freedom--the freedom to choose what subjects they will study; the freedom to determine what specific curriculum they will use; the freedom to decide what goals they will pursue. My kids have followed their individual interests to study things as varied as advanced calculus to calligraphy to atomic theory to poetry to diatonic harmony to Churchill to the terrible ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Burma/Myanmar area.

However, as hshs students, my older children have had another important advantage: the wonderful gift of time. Time to think and pray, time to sleep and dream big, time to study their passions and explore new ideas, time to play with their baby sister, time to teach their little brother to fence, time to paint, time to practice instruments, time to read, time to write, time to learn how to run a house, time to change diapers. Our teens have had time to take part in Bible study groups, time to do long-term volunteer work at a local nursing home, and time to teach music, art, and science to young homeschool kids in the area. They have had time to work, time to play, time to talk, time to love, time to grow in maturity and wisdom with God and man.

Last week, an 18-year-old boy in our community died unexpectedly. Ryan was a former drama student of mine. He was a smart, talented kid many might have said belonged in a real school, but instead he graduated from homeschool recently and was taking classes at our local college. Ryan was a Christian, so his family has a peace and hope that nonbelievers can never know. Still, the pain of his loss is great. Yet, as homeschoolers, his parents and his older brother can look back and remember so very much. Ryan did not spend his high school years riding the school bus, leaving early in the morning and arriving home late in the afternoon. Instead, he spent his last years on earth with his family--sharing adventures with them, learning life lessons, and enjoying their unconditional love and support.