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The Fabric of Life-- our homeschooling journey and beyond....
Sally Fehrs is a longtime homeschooling mother from Pennsylvania, who's found a moment to reflect on the meaning of this journey when one of her children meets a new milestone in life. She has had two daughters graduate through PHAA (Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency) and one son still in high school at home.
Certain moments in our life journey are cause for reflection more than others.... the birth of a baby, death of a beloved family member, or a move to a new location or home suggest a few. These occasions provide us an opportunity to take stock of where we have been and possibly where we are headed. Recently in the life of our family we have experienced such a season of pausing and remembering.
For our family, it came in the form of our daughter graduating from college in mid December and then getting married the first weekend in January of this year...two wonderful events marking the ending of one phase of life and the embracing of an entirely new journey with the other. There is a sense of the surreal when confronted with change of this magnitude because you know that you are experiencing life at the crossroads. Taking the time to step back and reflect a bit before going on again with “business as usual” can be a good and comforting decision.
Remember the moment in “Fiddler on the Roof” when the father sings a song of reflection about the growing up of his daughters? He asked, “Is this the child I carried?” and “I don’t remember growing older, when did they?” You can hear the violins in the background and feel the catch in your throat just recalling the scene. I believe that this emotional encounter has been playing on repeat within my own mind these past couple weeks following wedding celebrations, packing of our daughter’s books and treasures from her room, and sending the bridal couple off as they begin their own life adventure.
One thought that has brought so much comfort as a mother and former teacher to our daughter is that I have no regrets of time lost or not spent investing in her life. While home schooling is not an option that every family can embrace, I feel blessed that we have been able to pursue this educational model in our own home. There has been a foundational quality to this commitment to teach our children that brings great satisfaction on so many levels. I just did not realize that the benefits would continue after the courses were completed, evaluations submitted, and our student went on her way to new avenues of learning.
The dialogue has continued for many years comparing quality of time spent with your child versus quantity of time. This is a difficult balance to achieve in a society where both parents may have to work for financial reasons or there is one parent in the primary role of both caring for and providing for their child. Again, I am very thankful for the opportunities that I have had to engage in the teaching process with my children and still combine work related activities that I needed to pursue. So what does this have to do with looking back and “healing” reflection? Only to say that as we come to the place when we do release our children to establish their own homes or seek their own place in the world, there is a sense of peace. We have had the opportunity to engage in a process which encompassed both quality and quantity.
This process is what I would call a time of weaving or intertwining our lives with the lives of our children. I believe that the “fabric” created through the years of this type of interaction knit us together in ways that it is even difficult to express in words. There is a type of pattern that emerges that produces a recognition of your child’s character and spirit that even goes beyond knowing what they are good at doing, their learning style, or their giftedness in certain areas. It happens on the heart level...and not immediately recognizable at first glance. How many years do we experience the sense of what am I really accomplishing or imparting to my child and student only to see over the long run the “investment” pay dividends of remarkable proportions! There are no words to describe how well we get to know them and their knowledge of us in return.
Embracing times of fellowship within our homes is I believe a key component of finding contentment, and heaven knows that we could use liberal doses of that in these trying times. Learning together, engaging in a business or recreational pursuit as a family, or just having quiet moments of being together reading a book or listening to music can be opportunities for threads of connections to be spun and woven into place. Sometimes these moments naturally happen and sometimes they are the commitment to say “no” to something else that would pull at the strands. With so much vying for the attention of our children in this technical age, the decisions to draw apart as a family need to be conscious decisions, even if we are home schooling them. By my own words, I feel convicted as I reflect on times when we have been more successful than others in achieving this balance, especially when they reach teen years and it becomes important for them to establish connections outside of the home.
We have only to remind ourselves that seemingly overnight our children are growing and “blossoming even as we gaze.” What a blessing to be weaving life fabric with them to both their benefit and our comfort...especially when they begin to take paths of their own. We can have the assurance that we are well connected and known to each other. There are never regrets in that life journey, no matter where the path leads.
Comment by Amy Fehrs, 2/22/2010:
Beautifully said Sally. You are leaving a legacy with your devotion.
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