I feel like our journey, as women, is full of change. We are married (okay, I’m old-fashioned, that’s not a requirement) and then become parents. Our roles as mothers constantly change. The requirements of an infant, 2-year-old, kindergartner, pre-teen, and teenagers are all different. We go from being a custodian, to a hero, to an ATM machine that has little to contribute to their lives!
My journey has been a little bit different, in that I have homeschooled my children for the last 8 years. Homeschooling was never my intention. In fact, I thought that all homeschoolers were religious zealots with at least a dozen children. However my son had some medical challenges and, when he was in 5th grade, I decided that homeschooling was the right decision. At the time my daughter was in 2nd grade. Very quickly, we became a homeschooling family and heavily involved in the homeschooling community.
Fast forward 8 years to June 2012, and my son has graduated from high school. He won a top scholarship at a New York state university, and we believe he is the first homeschooler to win that award. He will be spending the summer volunteering at a camp in upstate New York, and then be off to college several hundred miles away.
Yesterday I filed my last homeschooling reports for my son. I am done! My role as parent/educator is over. It finally hit me that I am no longer responsible for his education. I was euphoric!
I am quickly realizing the amount of stress I felt as a homeschooling parent. But it was not without rewards. I got to spend a lot of time with my kids. As my son heads for college, I feel like I truly know him and am ready to let him go. My daughter and son, being in a “classroom” with 2 students, have spent a lot of time together and are extremely close. We have had the freedom to travel as a family. And the kids have had time to explore their own interests.
It is especially tough for homeschooling moms when their kids graduate, because being parent/teachers is all-consuming. Their friends and interests are generally entirely homeschool-related. It seems easier to have a few more kids and stay in homeschool mode than to move on with our lives.
That’s why I was so excited to discover quilting. It is MY hobby. It makes ME feel good. It has enabled ME to make friends who were interested in my life and not just the accomplishments of my children. Quilting has given ME a way to move on with my life.
Today begins a new chapter in my life. My daughter, who just completed 9th grade, is still being homeschooled. Her next few years will pass quickly and then I’ll be at another transition point — empty nester. Although I’m sure this will break my heart, it will also give me an additional bedroom to store my stash of fabric! Like clouds, every transition has a silver lining!