First Day of College — End of homeschooling?

Today we take our son to college.  He is mostly packed.  We’ve shed some tears.  And last night we piled into our king sized bed and started sharing memories, so many of them happened because we chose to homeschool.  If feels like the end of homeschooling.

This past weekend we all travelled to a family wedding about four hours away.  Family from several states arrived, many that had not seen our kids for a couple years.  Together at the reception, my aunt and cousin (Jill) started asking me about homeschooling.  Jill’s two kids are right around the same age as my Emily. “Would I do it all over again?”.  “Would you homeschool them?”.   We spoke on philosophies, objectives, and data.

Not a moment to even consider any other education options, I have wondered this many times already, so I responded with a solid, “YES.”  I have no hesitation that we did the right course with our kids.  Right for where we live.  For our family. For our options in our schools here.  Right for what we wanted out of education.  And we are staying the course with Emily who is an 8th grader and taking a few high school leveled courses this year.

But it ends.  Maybe it begins.  Or maybe it just changes.   Homeschooling two kids becomes one.   Today we drive to the dorms and help Andrew unpack his belongings and join all the other parents to send our children into the next stage of learning.  Because of the options through homeschooling, Andrew will start college with 99 college credits already earned.  (Andrew is attending a highly rigorous college and only the 64 upper 300 level credits will transfer.  He plans to double major, rather than graduate early.)  He travelled twice as an exchange student, because he was not restricted by attendance at the public high school.  And through being “home” during his first high school/college experiences Andrew has already observed some really poor alcohol and party choices of college students and processed the academic results with some late night conversations at home.

The most beautiful moments of the last 24 hours have happened sitting in the middle of our bed, Andrew wants the next academic adventure, but he doesn’t want to give up “this”;  the nightly conversations where we gather together.  He will miss having people that will talk about anything and that really care about his day.  Most of our friends have kids bolting out the door to race into adulthood and slamming the door behind them.  We have a son that is ready to experience the next stages of school, really appreciates the opportunities that came through homeschooling, and wants to be around to help us guide his little sister through her high school journey.  He’s lived and travelled independently the past two summers, and still loves home.

We wanted to build relationships during our homeschooling.  Life-long learning was our motto, but also to have the time to really connect with others.   We chose many years ago to shift from hyped up homeschooling to a minimalist approach, so we could accomplish both these goals.  From that, we developed more savings through carefully chosen purchases that opened up opportunities to travel, or to have the time to hike and attend concerts.  More time together, more time to relate, and build those long lasting relationships.  Instead of turning away in high school, we rode the rollercoaster together and Andrew kept us involved in his choices.  Now, Andrew’s primary schooling won’t happen at home, but home is where he knows he can always share what he is learning.

Wish us luck in our day.  It will be wonderful and very hard.

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