real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

“When threatened with a hairbrush by a vicious woman, remain calm and speak in cold level tones.”

or so says Nancy Drew in The Sign of the Twisted Candles. With advice like that I could easily send Nancy off to college with nary a worry.

Child #4 leaves soon for school, 18 driving hours away from home, responsible to cook for himself, excited as all get out that this day has finally arrived. I spent yesterday shopping with him for new shoes, clothes, “lifetime warranty socks” from the Clarks store. What a great idea, though I don’t think their socklife policy applies when said sock is wrapped around the drum of the washing machine, smirking to himself as he joins the other singletons in the laundry abyss.

Once again my life will change in a major way. I am always really sad the first few weeks that the older child is gone, missing the adult conversations we share over coffee or tea, longing to hear their “particular noise,” the sounds only that person in the family makes. When Mollie used to head back to school in the fall, we would all miss the several hours of piano practice, Bach, Mozart, Gershwin, their notes that wandered through the hallway and down the stairs, a live concert for free. My mom would always say “Mollie is gone now. It is though a light has gone out of the house.” She probably won’t feel the same way about the White Stripes, Ryan Adams, and the Gorillas when they are safely tucked inside the i-pod and out the door.

Child #5 already has dibs on the cool attic room where all the brothers before him have lived. He already knows where he is going to put his flag collection and where the speakers will go for the best surround sound. I love that room too. It is so cozy under the four gables and sky lights let in the morning and evening sun, rainy days drawing you back under the covers as the drops pound the roof. Oh what I could do with that space! Built in drawers for craft supplies, a large quilting frame, nooks and crannies full of scrap paper, collages in the making. By the time it is available to me, my knees will not take me up the two flights of stairs.

We never begin school before Labor Day. Somehow everyone feels like they are getting a real vacation when they see the yellow school buses rushing past our house for a good week and a half before we move back into our own routine. Is there anything more decadent than knowing that you can drink hot chocolate whenever you want and mom’s hugs are always available? Or that it isn’t weird to be 17 and still like to hug your mom? These are the things our superintendent of schools knows nothing about!

This year we will be studying geography and are continuing through American History after World War 2. The boys hope to finally pour over the stacks of genealogy work my father-in-law compiled before he died. We will read and research and Grandma will join us for the travelogues when they arrive from Netflix. I can see a great year on the horizon.



  keebler wrote @

Ah, so much of the same feelings here. I took my second to college on Sunday to start the Corps training at Texas A&M, the day after his Eagle Scout and graduation ceremony. It was sad in a way because after many years of amused frustration, he has become very enjoyable. Now he is on to more while his sister revels in getting her own room, temporary as it may be.

Today, I take my first son to A&M. His stuff doesn’t all fit in his car. Tomorrow, my husband and I go back to visit second son to see what he has become after one week of training.

Next week, I will start to think about school for the remaining members. Maybe then I can concentrate.

You struck a chord with this long time homeschool mama.

  thatmom wrote @

You know, I find it really sad that just when they are getting to be such delightful and enjoyable human beings, they are whisked off to become grown-ups. Why is that? My husband always says that God, in His infinite wisdom, gives babies to young and foolish couples. And I always respond that yes, and they just when you really like them, He sends them away to start the process all over again! So I guess that means that I can take comfort that they, too, will grieve when their children leave home!

  joannabug wrote @

Just a sidenote–Netflix makes me want to homeschool. My husband and I have found so many amazing documentaries on there, and whenever I watch one, I want to share it with our kids (when they get past the crawling stage, haha). Ken Burns’ The War is an amazing one on WWII, told from the perspective of veteran’s and ordinary people who narrate their experience of the war years.

  suzanne wrote @

This is comforting, we have started school, but feel privelaged to linger over coffee and hang out with the people of our on choosing when we go to activites…I think, isn’t God good, really, really good….no money, small house, lots of kids, great books and just enough food everyday…I love my life and reading about yours inspires me to move through this season with young teens- toddlers. Thanks for the encouragement. we are doing american history, too. I think we Will had family history now.
Thanks, just thank you again.
Just Another Momys

  Kim wrote @

Hey Karen, I am moping about these days, too, after taking Sean and Kristin to SC over the weekend. Getting used to a “new normal” but having a heavy heart and missing them so much. I’m trying to focus on the ‘good’ things….less laundry, groceries, gas….and I am glad to be able to focus on our four boys left at home and enjoy them!

David and Chelsey were here last week and that was really weird! To have our daughter “visiting us”…….We had a great time together, though….and they are so sweet together and really seem to be enjoying married life.

Time is like a runaway train( I think that was from a Ben Folds song that I heard in the van on our trip)….just keeps on going. Blessings to you today! I love to read your blog. Have fun in SC!

  thatmom wrote @

Joannabug, I love Netflix! We have watched nearly all the Ken Burns documentaries and they are our favorites. The WW2 one was awesome and it is on my to-own list. Have you seen The West?

  thatmom wrote @

Suzanne, I love the way you describe your life. We are rich indeed, are we not?

  thatmom wrote @

Kim, I was thinking about you all as you were traveling. Glad to know you have been there and are home safely.

It is really weird the first time they come home married isn’t it? I have been thinking about them, too, and how busy they will be when school starts. I know you will miss them but you are absolutely right that now is the time to invest in the younger guys. That is really my mantra right now and Will and Joe are relishing it!

  KellyH wrote @

Hi Karen! We too are adjusting soon. Martha is off to Olivet tomorrow morning. She is just hanging around waiting to pack the car. Jacob is driving, so he can get some practice in. The little ones are following her everywhere. I told her that her going away is much different to them, as she has been a major player in their lives, and now she will be gone. I think she’ll miss us, in a few days :).


  thatmom wrote @

Oh, Kelly, your little ones are really going to miss Martha! I remember how much Joe cried when Mollie first went to school. That year we did all sorts of fun Five in a Row projects and sent them to her to hang in her dorm room. I’ll never forgot the water color of the Eiffel Tower he did when we read Madeline and he insisted on covering it with glitter because he knew Mollie would love it. And she did!

Knowing Martha, she is going to have a wonderful time. How is Jeff holding up?

  RichardD wrote @

Your comment about the noise that only that person in the family makes took me back to the day my 11-year-old son returned to our home after an 18-month stay at a residential treatment center. My wife and I sat outside the door to his room, listening to his breathing, and cried. It was so good to hear that sound again that we had not heard since he was 9 years old. It’s tough to be separated from the ones you love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: