The clock is ticking down quickly. Homeschooling in this household will end in just a matter of weeks as our youngest child graduates from high school.
How do 17 years go by so quickly? I began homeschooling the year my oldest child was starting 3rd grade and my second child beginning 1st. I didn't decide to homeschool because we hated the public school system; and, no, we're not weird cultists trying to keep our children isolated from the world.
But, after being a volunteer at my children's school and seeing all that the teachers were up against, I realized I could do a better job educating my children at home. There are no perfect education solutions, but homeschooling was the right answer for our family.
Looking back, I'm amazed at how much homeschooling has changed in the last two decades. When I began researching way back when, it seemed that a lot of homeschooling families lived off the land, were entrepreneurs and their kids went on to Harvard. An exaggeration, but that's how it looked from my perspective.
In reality, the homeschooling population is very diverse, from one-child families to very, very large families; from people holding strong religious convictions to those holding none at all; every ethic group imaginable; all income levels; and city, suburban and rural dwellers. Everyone is represented among homeschoolers.
Curriculum availability? Where do you even start? The selection is so vast that at least one vendor of homeschooling curriculum and supplies that I'm familiar with has an annual catalog that is as thick as a mid-sized city's telephone book.
When I was looking for material to use when my eldest child was ready to start high school, I had to look long and hard. Curriculum was available, but the selection wasn't extensive. By the time my fourth child was ready for high school, the selection was so wide that it was mind-boggling.
So in retrospect, would I homeschool again? Absolutely. Would I do it the same way? Absolutely not. I have the advantage of hind-sight now. I saw what worked and what didn't for my children. I also got to know my children very well because of all the time we spent together and have a much better understanding of each child's learning style.
I wish I knew then what I know now, but the years spent learning and growing together day by day have been some of the best of my life. We are blessed that we could spend them together.