Teaching your eagle to soar

Leah Jones

I’ve been crying a lot lately.

On Friday, August 17, at 6:30 p.m. CDT, we are having a ceremony/party for our daughter Leah. She is graduating from “high school” homeschool.  I have homeschooled her since she was 3 years old, so this is a big, and emotionally difficult, transition for me. For years, my identity has been “homeschooling mom.”

My heart feels like it’s being ripped out when I walk past the aisles of school supplies in Walmart or see homeschool curriculum online. Barring a miracle, I won’t ever have another baby or be able to homeschool another child.  Buying new school supplies  and new school clothes was always one of the funnest parts of homeschooling.

I’m going through a grieving process.

Having to let go of Leah so she can “soar” into adulthood, like a young eaglet.  Having to let go of homeschooling, which I love.

So I’ve cried a lot lately.

I haven’t always loved homeschooling

I confess, there have been days (weeks, months, even a couple of years!) where I haven’t always loved homeschooling. On some days I’ve wondered, “Am I CRAZY to do this?” It is challenging. Especially math!

Sometimes I would have preferred to send my kids off all day to school, while I went out to eat Mexican or shopped for new clothes whenever I felt like it. Let someone else teach them about verbs or fractions, while I pampered myself with a manicure!  (I’ve actually only had one manicure in my entire life.)

Yet God told me to homeschool. And for the most part, it’s been an incredible privilege and joy:

  • Spending time every day with my kids. What greater gift is there in life?
  • Reading and studying the Bible and talking about Jesus freely each day
  • Watching a beautiful red cardinal in the tree outside the kitchen or den windows
  • Taking the day off to go to the Kansas City Nelson-Atkins Art Museum or the KC Contemporary Art Museum
  • Having picnics for lunch at the park
  • Walking on nature trails and drawing in nature notebooks
  • Jumping in the car in the middle of the week to go to the Kansas City zoo, when all the other poor kids were in school!
  • Picking your own pumpkin with kids from the homeschool co-op at Johnson’s Pumpkin Farm
  • Drinking fresh cider and eating cider doughnuts on a cool fall day at Dunn’s Cider Mill
  • Eating lunch at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, where you order lunch by phone and are served your food by an overhead train
  • Seeing the treasures of the Steamboat Arabia, which rapidly sunk from a walnut tree trunk snag.
  • Flying to Florida to help our friends Pat and Kim with their kids, when they adopted their Chinese baby Hadassah, and getting to go to the beach in December
  • Encouraging our kids to use the great spiritual gifts God has deposited inside of them for His glory, as well as using their inate, God-given talents and skills
  • Other fun times.

I’ve ordered the graduation cake and Leah’s new cap, gown, and tassel from HSLDA. I’m preparing my speech (Ray and I both will speak at the ceremony). I created the event on Facebook to invite our family and our friends to celebrate with us.

It’s like grasping water

I’m trying to hold onto these last days of homeschooling before her ceremony, but it’s like trying to grasp water.

My heart is aching. Where did the years go?

You can’t hit rewind

I can’t hit rewind. There is no replay. This is it; it isn’t a dress rehearsal.

The years are gone. I’ve missed portions of her childhood when I’ve been too busy, too stressed out, too selfish.

WHY didn’t I realize how fast she would grow up?  Why didn’t I recognize that one day our homeschool would end, and take more care to cherish the days homeschooling?

There are things I wish I could’ve done differently. Like put the books away more and go on more fun field trips. Less work, more play.

My sister Maria and our daughter Heather encouraged me that just because she is graduating, that doesn’t mean she will stop learning – or that we can’t do anything fun anymore.

We can still take fun field trips and fun road trips together. We can still spend time together. It’s not like she’s moving out of the house tomorrow. And even when she does fly the nest, she’ll sometimes fly home for a visit, like Heather and Eden do. 🙂

I have some painful regrets. I wish I’d savored spending time with her and homeschooling more. But I am extremely thankful to God for the opportunity to have homeschooled Leah.

God has great plans for her life – Jeremiah 29:11. Ray and I are eager to see those plans unfold.

I still have a little time left to teach her some things. She’s the “baby” eaglet, the youngest child, the only one still at home, but if I try to shelter her too much and keep her in the comfort of the nest, it will cripple her for life.

I need to teach her to fly alone, on her own wings.

When she does, I will look on with great joy – but not let her see the tears on my face as she flies away into the open, blue sky.

Fly, Leah, fly. You were born to soar.

Image Resource: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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