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No One Ever Told Me Homeschooling Would Be Like This

  • Lea Ann Garfias Homeschool Educating Family Magazine
  • 2014 10 Sep
No One Ever Told Me Homeschooling Would Be Like This

No one ever told me homeschooling would be like this.

And even if they would have, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I was a homeschool student before it was cool. I had the desk in the basement, the fake school name, the duck-and-cover drills when the doorbell rang.

I also had the voracious reading during breakfast, lunch, and every car trip; the ceremonious throwing of the completed calculus book down the stairs my junior year; the straight As and stellar college entrance exams; the music awards and scholarships. All the trappings of the Well-Homeschooled Student.

When I graduated from our homeschool, I blessed my parents and long-suffering friends with an hour-long music recital followed by another hour-long program of speeches exalting not only homeschooling itself but my parents in particular. I gave my own detailed testimonial and presented my parents with a plaque in recognition of their achievements in raising me.

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I never did see that plaque again.

Now it is my turn. All these years slaving away at the teacher’s manual, poring over the math lessons, correcting and recorrecting the writing assignments, enduring science experiments inside the house…I am eligible for my own plaque in two short years.

My son dared request that when he graduates, he enjoy pizza and cake and video games privately with his friends. No mention of my plaque.

I want a plaque! I deserve a catered party, fancy speeches, and a plaque!

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I also deserve for my children to honor me by earning exceptional grades, trophies in sports and fine arts, and commendations from the church and community. Right?

Instead, I am getting stinky soccer uniforms, protests against performances, questionable test results, and mediocre grades.

This turn of events is unsettling to say the least. For someone trained that anything below 92% was completely unacceptable, the fact that some students, related to me by birth, may at times score an F on an assignment is unfathomable.

And even more shocking is the celebration of a B as though it were a perfect score. I clapped and cheered and hugged along with the rest of them, but inwardly I wondered what was going on.

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I don’t understand these changes. But I think it may have something to do with why I’m not getting my plaque.

Homeschooling the high school years is, indeed, harder than I thought—I have a lot more to learn. And I’m becoming more ashamed of my own attitude than I am of my child’s grades.

It is easy to say, “The spiritual lessons are more important than the academic ones” until one enters low-grade territory. I am the one who failed the test.

I did not earn an A in Spiritual Motherhood, but apparently my teen was consistently earning high marks in more lasting categories:

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Honesty regarding failure and sin.

Concern for others who are in pain.

Service when a need is presented.

Loyalty toward thoughtless friends.

Restraint from the untimely or unseemly.

Humility before what is holy.

Desire toward forgiveness.

So now I am taking remedial lessons in homeschooling. It is high time I put the grades and certificates aside and concentrate on lasting achievements. Instead of rewards…relationships. Instead of plaques…people. Instead of grades…God.

Lea Ann Garfias is Executive Director for Home Educating Association. A homeschool graduate and home educating mother of four, Lea Ann explains biblical worldview for the common mommy in local and national homeschool publications and on her website You'll find her practicing her violin and piano, reading thick books, and drinking strong coffee in Dallas, Texas.

Publication date: September 10, 2014