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Journey from Homeschool to College Graduation

The journey from homeschool to college graduation has been a true test of faith. Beginning the homeschooling journey twenty years ago when it wasn’t very popular made most of our extended family members quite skeptical, but now they’re super excited because they’ve been able to follow our journey. Read HERE about how I made the choice to homeschool.

I’ve updated this article since I first wrote it. My oldest is now finishing up his 2nd year in Dental School and is still loving every minute of it.

From Homeschooling to College Graduate and Marshal of Graduating Class.

From Homeschooling to College Graduate and Marshal of Graduating Class.

My oldest son graduated as Marshal of his college class (an honor for highest grade point average and service to the institution), majoring in biology and chemistry, and has just received word that he is to be considered to receive a merit scholarship throughout Dental School at the University of Alabama Birmingham. He’ll be interviewing for that the 1st day of school! Fingers crossed, rather I’ll be praying! (He got the scholarship and is finishing his 2nd year).

Look at the men in the picture: like grandfather, like father, like son! As we wait Forrest’s graduation — FUN TIMES!

Look at the men in the picture: like grandfather, like father, like son! As we wait Forrest’s graduation — FUN TIMES!

Homeschooling is quite a scary business, especially when you have more than a few children. I have taken the kids’ education very seriously; while I don’t necessarily believe that homeschooling is for every family, I definitely felt the calling to homeschool my own kids. Do I feel qualified? Not really. Do I feel that I did all that was needed for an outstanding education? Not really. Was I confident that he would be successful?

Well, that depends on the definition of success. I felt confident that God had led us to homeschool and that He would see to it that His plan for Forrest would be accomplished, whatever that plan may be.

When Forrest entered his first semester in college, I’ll admit that I was on pins and needles not knowing what to expect. His first test in Calculus proved to be a disappointment for him and caused an upheaval of doubt and discouragement in my mind. I had never pressured the kids in academics and didn’t want to start now. Knowing that he could drop the class and retake it another semester , I encouraged him toward that end. He was appalled and insisted he would, and could, succeed in this class. He ended pulling out an A in that class and every subsequent class after that in his entire college career, except one B in Literature. (As a side note, when he had taken every math available, his words to Scott and me were “I’m so sad… there are no more math classes that I can take…” Who says that? Who could even think that?)

I will say that I take no credit for his college success. I was having babies, taking care of household situations, and helping my husband with his business as well as educating all of my school age kids to the best of my ability. There was only one of me for all these tasks and more. Throughout his education, I made sure to provide him with amazing books, curriculum, and resources, BUT he had to take the initiative to learn what was in those books. Amazingly, I have found that all my kids seek to learn when left with interesting resources and good conversations that promote thinking. 

*** Update: My second oldest, Hampton, just graduated Summa Cum Laude and Marshal of his class and majored in Economics and Biology. At this time (we are 2 days after graduation) he is studying to take the MCAT for entrance into medical school. We will see. We know that wherever he ends up, it will be an adventure.

I’ve learned a few things through the past 20 years about homeschooling and am trying to put them into practice with my other “students.”

Top 10 things I’ve learned from 20 years of Homeschooling:

  1. Being a mom comes before being an educator. No one can take your place in the “mom” category. That’s hard for you driven types that want to see your children succeed. Character in your children is far more important than “book” education. If you drive the character into the children, the education will certainly follow. Relax and be a mom.
  2. Teach your children to serve the family and others. Moms, you can best do this by serving your husband with a happy heart. 
  3. One new fact or idea every night spoken at the dinner table adds up to 365 facts a year. If you young moms can remember this one, it will carry you through a lot of days that you feel like you didn’t get anything done.
  4. If your child is just not getting a concept, put it away for a few weeks. It’s amazing how fast they can learn when they are ready to learn.
  5. Assign real work (age appropriate) to your kids. I’ve seen my kids gain confidence from ordinary tasks that contribute to the family’s well-being. I’m talking about daily chores, but also writing a blog post or researching and writing on a topic that relates to a problem and solution such as an autoimmune illness that affects one of your kids or what to do for a leaky basement. This is REAL education.
  6. Give your kids something to love, think about, and do. This is especially true for boys. I found that kids ages 12 – 15 (14 being the hardest) have a hard time transitioning from being a kid to an adult. I’ve really had to pray that God would give them a passion for something. God has been faithful in this.
  7. Keep up with Math, Reading, and Writing. Never let these slip; it’s very hard to catch up.
  8. Provide the best resources you can afford (books, tools, etc.) Not quantity, but quality. Sonlight Curriculum is a great resource.
  9. If you start getting discouraged on a particular day, put it up. Education should be a fun challenge, not something to dread. Learning should take place everyday and should be fun. Obviously it is hard work, but learning should always be a good thing.
  10. Remember that Life is Education. Learning should never stop just because the books are put away. Talk, talk, talk. Talk about Galileo when sitting on the porch looking at stars. Talk about how the different armies march while taking your afternoon walk. Talk about how that song on  the radio is a retelling of a Shakespeare sonnet.

So many of you have so much wisdom to give. Please don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comments; I’ve got a long way to go before my homeschooling journey ends. My youngest is only 6 and I can honestly say that I look forward to learning alongside her in the years to come!

 

 

9 responses to “Journey from Homeschool to College Graduation”

  1. Robert says:

    As one of his instructors at AUM, I can honestly say that Forrest was of the highest caliber, not only as a student but as a person. He has a passion for excellence that I haven’t seen in another student, and yet as humble a person as I’ve met. Having gotten to know him and his family on a more personal level, I’ve learned that he continues that focus and passion for not only his academic pursuits, but for his personal pursuits as well. I firmly believe that this is a reflection of his family and his upbringing. I can honestly say I’ve learned as much from him, if not more, than he learned from me. While I’m no longer at AUM, and I regret that I missed his graduation, I’m grateful that he’ll be heading up to my neck of the woods soon. Congratulations and best wishes Forrest!

    • stacy says:

      What kind words, Robert. Getting to know you and your family has been a true honor and blessing. Both you and your wife are true educators, thinkers, and are certainly treasures beyond compare. You are not only a wonderful professor, you are a friend and mentor to your students. I certainly can see why you were the favorite on campus. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you are now a professor at UAB providing Forrest with a familiar face, friend, and fellow scholar of all things green (plants)! Thanks for being you!!

  2. meganhwilson says:

    What an encouraging post. I love your heart toward your family. I am so thankful that I stumbled along this blog a while back as a google search for dove recipes led me here. I have 6 children ranging in ages from 5-13, and I am learning that depth in more important than breadth, and that every moment can be a teachable moment no matter if we are folding laundry, cooking dinner, or diagramming sentences. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • stacy says:

      Megan, I am so happy you found the blog today. I’ve been wanting to write more about homeschooling and family in general, but haven’t found the time. I mostly want to encourage moms to walk in joy. Whatever you can do to keep stress at a minimum, do that until the kids are bigger. You are in a wonderful phase. Since I’ve written this post, my oldest has graduated college and in his 2nd year in dental school. My next oldest is a Senior in college and then it goes down to my 8 year old. It’s a wonderful blessing. Let’s keep in touch.

  3. alina says:

    Wow.. I am blown away.. I simply cannot understand how you can homeschool, take care of the house, garden, animals, write books, model, be a lawyer, a wife, a mom (in whatever order) and God knows what other things, all in only 24 hours a day! And you manage to look fabulous too.. it’s just too perfect. . I wonder what does a regular day look like in your life?
    I have 5 kids from 2 to 11 years old and I only homeschool 3 of them so far. Some days look impossible. .

    • stacy says:

      Alina, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I do not do all of the above everyday. I haven’t practiced law in a very long time, though I do write contracts for myself and my family at times. I am always a wife and mother and some days (quite often) that is all that I have time to do. I don’t write everyday except social media posts, but am realizing I can’t even do that consistently, so am getting help with that. When my children were 11 and under, I was not even thinking of writing books, being on social media, and really didn’t even have my own email address. I was in the trenches of raising a family. When my oldest turned 15, I had my 7th child and soon after that I was able to begin sharing my journey. Ironically, I began sharing recipe and tips for cooking wild game, which early in my marriage had been a thorn in my side (Scott’s love for hunting). I felt that I could help other wives come alongside their husband’s and join them in what they enjoy. Apparently, there was a need for this at the time and a publishing company asked me to write another book and film a CD. It has spiraled from there.

      As far as my days, they are absolutely on full speed. No two days look alike. Prayer each morning helps me to prioritize the day. BTW, when my kid’s ages were your children’s age, I couldn’t pray until they went down for naps around 1:30. School must get done and a little fun with the kids, and then I start on the list of household tasks which have mostly been taken over by the older kids. You are in the throws of having to do everything. Your kids are just now getting to where they produce like you do. If you train them now, they will not hate work and will take up where you leave off on chores, and you become like a team. They will help you in your endeavors. I could never do anything without them! Your children will be the same way.

      I still feel like some days look impossible. Often when I feel like that, I am doing more than what God tells me to do. Other times, I am called to do more than I think I can do. Knowing which one it is will clear the matter up then I can make adjustments. I get tired, but I know I am in the right place. Being a mom makes us faithful in the small unseen things which builds character! Keep up the great work. You are changing the world through those tired days and nights. No one sees it, but you know it!! No one other than you can do your job. That’s the truth. Being a wife and mother have to be 1st and may have to be all you do until your kids are older. God will show you. You’ve got this!

    • Priscilla says:

      Thank you for such an encouraging post! I just found your website and Facebook page! I am a mom of three (6,4,and 2) and I love gardening, cooking, family and I’m even starting my homeschooling journey this year with my first child! Thank you for the motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward with what I know I was meant to do!

  4. Priscilla D says:

    Thank you for such an encouraging post! I just found your website and Facebook page! I am a mom of three (6,4,and 2) and I love gardening, cooking, family and I’m even starting my homeschooling journey this year with my first child! Thank you for the motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward with what I know I was meant to do!

    • stacy says:

      I am so glad you are convinced that is what you are to do! It is great to meat you. Please keep in touch with me. I’m here for you. The journey is a long one, but being on this side of it seems quite short! Enjoy every minute of it.

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