Today marked the beginning of the 18th year of homeschooling for our family and I was as excited this morning to begin our new year as I was when Nadja began kindergarten 18 years ago. Homeschooling has never been dull or tedious for me, but believe me, we have had bad homeschool years in the past and I'm sure we'll have bad homeschool years in the future. For the most part, teaching our children at home; using our own syllabus and our own values has been truly a blessing.
One of the huge personal benefits of teaching my children at home has been an enormous sense of accomplishment. I have taught 6 children how to read, write, spell, add, subtract, multiply and divide. I think that is pretty awesome. Beyond those basics, I believe Chris and I have passed on a life long pursuit of learning to our children.
This December Nadja will earn her degree in biology and is looking to pursuing her masters in some area of science. This past summer, she worked as a paid intern for a pesticide/mosquito abatement lab and she really, really loved it. She learned so many new things and she would come home each weekend excited to tell us everything she had seen, done, and learned.
John Paul applied to and was accepted to the local college and is working hard toward his goals. He has learned and grown and has so much more to learn and grow toward. It's an exciting adventure being on his own and making his way in the world. He has so much more to look forward to.
Olivia has been in the convent for 8 months now and is doing extremely well in her academics and growing in her spiritual life as she pursues further formation with the Sister Servants. Every phone call we can hear the joy and excitement in her voice as she speaks of her life with the sisters.
I really could not ask for more and I am so proud of each of my adult children. They have so much life to look forward to and I know they were given the very best we could possibly give by homeschooling each of them for the many years we did.
Another wonderful benefit of homeschooling has been how much I have learned alongside my children. I've learned to diagram sentences. I've learned all about animal taxonomy and human anatomy and all sorts of other scientific information. I've learned some Latin. I've read and re-read every era of history and each time I teach an era, I learn more. I've learned tons about photography and have really grown as a photographer. I've read more books than I ever read when I was a student. I've learned I'm a visual and kinetic learner and I've discovered the learning styles of each of my children. I've become more organized, more patient, and more persevering than I ever was before homeschooling.
This year we are beginning a new co-op venture with another homeschool family from our parish. We are tackling high school chemistry, junior high and high school literature, elementary art, photography, science in the natural world, and a bit of PE. As I was writing lesson plans for the two literature classes I'll be teaching, I realized 90% of the books, short stories, and poems I had chosen I had never read myself. I'll be reading right alongside my students and that prospect excites me to the core. It's going to be a great homeschool year!