As I write this, it’s the week after Thanksgiving. I feel full, not because I ate too much, but be- cause of the feeling deep inside
my soul. I feel warm, satisfied, blessed, and
. . . full.
I admit I’ve been feeling it a lot lately and
it surprises me, because I guess it is one of
those deep feelings that I never anticipated
when I was in the thick of things, like par-
For the last twenty-something years, life
and homeschooling have kept us busy with
transitions, changing needs, and constant
exhaustion. We love our children, but all
their needs combined feel overwhelming
at times. Are they learning enough and are
we doing enough to prepare them? What if
we allow too many bad influences and not
enough good ones? Maybe we aren’t being
intentional enough—loving them unconditionally—or even smiling at them.
There have been little reprieves along the
way, like when they got old enough for us to
leave them for an hour, then three, and then
years later on a rare overnight. That perk
was offset by the fact that now their “issues”
were bigger and the battles more involved.
It’s not just about math facts and phonics
anymore. Now it’s about computer usage,
the opposite sex, and the battle of the wills.
There are days that I would be mad at them,
my wife would be mad at me . . . and I was
OK with that! I felt like I was the one who
did everything and my wife felt the same.
And yet it was easier sometimes to do it
ourselves than to go to all the effort to ask
one of them to help.
Such was life in the trenches for the last
20 years. And then something happened to
change everything. It was my oldest son’s
graduation from college. Not one to make
a big deal about ‘educational’ milestones
(there are a lot more important things to
celebrate like birthdays and first snows), we
decided to gather at one of our favorite restaurants, Haciendas, to celebrate.
Everyone was there including my future
daughter-in-law, Rissa. They gave us our
usual table, the large one in the back, away
from everyone else. The chips and salsa
were flowing and everyone was laughing,
talking, and dipping.
I was at the very end of the table because
I have a loud voice and can be heard by everyone. Sitting at the end can tend to feel
like the seat of least importance. I remember coloring on the kids menus with my
youngest sons, Cal ( 8 at the time) and Jed
( 6). They were too young to enter the big
kids’ conversations so I talked and colored
I guess at one point I looked up from the
quiet end of the table and watched my older
kids laughing and talking, almost oblivious
to the fact that I was even there, and then
a feeling of warmth and deep satisfaction
began to work its way up my body until it
rested in my heart.
It was that feeling of fullness, it was a
glimpse of the reward of homeschooling.
My children were friends, they loved being
with us, and they were going to continue to
be a family even after I’m gone. They were
going to be okay.
Last week I felt it again, more than once.
My children function as a family without
me. They laugh, tease, care for, and love each
other. That’s the reason we homeschooled. I
didn’t know it at the beginning of the jour-
ney, but I’m so thankful for it now.
That’s why I’m writing you today, mom
and dad, because maybe you’re in the midst
of the hard times and have forgotten the big
picture, like this mom who emailed me just
a couple of days ago commenting on our
smiley family picture at a Christmas tree
farm. She was worried for her husband.
“I noticed your family photo smiling merrily at the Christmas tree farm. I had to
think why couldn’t that have worked out for
us? My husband does his very best to be “the
That Day is Coming!
It was that feeling of fullness, it was a glimpse of the reward of homeschooling.