I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Dear Homeschool Mom, Enjoy Every Minute

Dear Homeschool Mom, Enjoy Every Minute

Written by Jessica.

I was in the third trimester of my first pregnancy at the end of a school year and had put in my resignation from teaching a couple months prior. Since my position now needed to be filled, that news was shared with all the students and families in our school. The school had excellent parental involvement, and since I had taught there for many years I had gotten to know the families well and had even taught siblings from the same families. During those last several weeks of the school year, I was inundated with congratulations, well wishes, and advice not only from my colleagues, but also from parents of current and former students.

The sentiment that I heard the most often was, hands down, this one: “Enjoy every minute! The time goes by so quickly!” It was something that I had heard from my own family and friends, but because I heard it said so many times over as I left my teaching career, the message was magnified for me.

I taught fourth grade, so most of my students were around nine years old – halfway through their childhoods. At the time I didn’t think about or feel the weight of that. They were just “big kids” to me. They certainly didn’t seem like anyone’s babies. I truly never thought much about how they were all growing up or about time passing.

Savoring my big belly and filled with the anticipation of becoming a mom for the first time, I was very much in my own world. The mothers of all my students seemed far removed. Being a mom of such big kids seemed light years away from what I was experiencing, and I couldn’t visualize myself at their ages, doing what they were doing. When mothers would lean in and quietly and happily share their stories about childbirth or about when their children were babies, I appreciated their wisdom and their insights, but I didn’t fully get it.

I couldn’t picture that less than a decade later I would have a family spaced much like theirs were and that all my children would be that “big,” too.

I didn’t understand that two years, or five, or six, or nine could go by like a blink.

I didn’t know that in years to come, when I’d hear of someone’s first pregnancy, the first thing I’d think would be: “Enjoy every minute! The time goes by so quickly!” Most of all, I didn’t realize that that sentiment would be true not just in the baby years, but in all the years of parenthood.

Prior to becoming a mother, I thought I knew a lot about kids. I was the oldest of my siblings. As the fourth oldest of eleven grandchildren on one side and the third oldest of thirty-seven grandchildren on the other side, I grew up around kids. I babysat and was a nanny in high school and college, and then I taught elementary school. I thought I knew it all.

Dear Homeschool Mom, Enjoy Every Minute

Parenthood changes everything

Lazing through the last weeks of my first pregnancy and even the first glorious months of being a new mom, it felt like there was an abundance of time. I luxuriated in it all. But soon I realized that though the days were long, the months went by fast. Every milestone, every too-small outfit that I lovingly packed away was a reminder. Then, before long I had two babes under two, and things started to go even faster. I felt that there was not enough of me to go around or enough time in the days. And by the time I had three babes, three-and-a-half years and under, that passing of time was underscored further. With each child spaced out less than two years apart, I had a constant, visual reminder of them growing up. It seemed like just a few days ago that my oldest was the same age as my toddler or the baby. And it seemed like just yesterday that my toddler was the same age as the baby. As soon as one child passed a milestone or outgrew something, the next one in line seemed to pick up where the other had just left off. The days were long, but now the years were passing quickly.

My husband and I consider ourselves sentimental parents and try to live fully in the moment. We take a bazillion pictures and videos. I keep journals for all of my children. I’ve stayed at home since before our first was born, and we’ve been homeschooling since the beginning. These days, even my husband gets to work from home. But despite all of that, we both agree: time passes too quickly, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

Dear Homeschool Mom, Enjoy Every Minute

Homeschooling and the gift of time

When I left teaching to become a full-time mom, my husband and I knew we wanted to homeschool. We made a number of deliberate choices to make that possible, and we knew we’d have to sacrifice long-term. We had a lot of reasons why we thought we’d homeschool: from the many things that I saw in the classroom as a teacher, to desiring to create a different kind of educational experience, to our Christian faith, to what we saw going on in society around us. But as we’ve been on this homeschooling journey for many years now and have lived its rhythms, we’ve grown increasingly aware and appreciative of another huge reason to homeschool: the gift of time.

In a list of pros and cons comparing homeschooling to traditional education, there are many things that balance each other out. One way really isn’t superior to the other, they’re just different. But there is one thing that homeschooling offers to families that traditional school can never hold a candle to: time.

Homeschooling offers families more time to be together, and it puts that time first and foremost rather than relegating it to the fringe hours of the evenings or weekends. It emphasizes the importance of the parent-child bond and gives more time for that important relationship to grow. It gives time for siblings to grow up as friends who spend most of their time together rather than apart. It creates time to make memories that simply wouldn’t happen with families separated into their different places of home or work and school. It allows more time to impart a family’s values, lessons, and faith. And it allows childhood to slow down, if just a bit. It gives families a means to enjoy and savor years that truly do go by too quickly, years that are so vitally important in children’s development into the adults they will one day be. I suspect that years from now when our family looks back on these days at the end of our homeschooling journey, the thing that I will be most grateful for is this gift of time.

Dear Homeschool Mom, Enjoy Every Minute

Cherishing the now

It’s summertime and, like most homeschooling parents, I have so much that I need to get done. Planning and prepping for the next school year. Helping the kids to become independent in this or that area. Deep cleaning. Reorganizing. Taking some time to rest and regroup. Working on all those projects and to-dos. But I’m also going to be intentional, fully present, and focused everyday on loving the little people who are right in front of me.

You see, I know that it really wasn’t that long ago that we spent our days playing with play-dough and painting with watercolors and having pretend picnics and reading the same favorite books over and over again. It wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t go through one day without playing fire-fighter rescues, or doing check-ups on all of the favorite stuffed animals, or setting up train tracks, or having tea parties, or building huge forts. It wasn’t all that long ago that they wouldn’t leave the house without their favorite toys, or that I could still hold them and sing to them until they were drowsy at night, or that they were whooping and hollering playing piggy-back chase with daddy in the evenings.

And so, it won’t always be that she wants me to look at all of her drawings, or excitedly tells every detail of the books she’s reading, or stands at the counter helping. And it won’t always be that he wants me to admire his castle and knights set-ups, or tells in a thousand words a minute all that he’s thinking and wondering, or wants to play tag in the backyard. And it won’t always be that he asks to play that card game with me five dozen times a day, or makes huge toy set-ups in the living room, or wants to be pushed on the swing.

There won’t always be toys all over the floors and stairs…giggles and squabbles from the living room…feet jumping on the furniture and running circles around the dining table…crayons and paper strewn everywhere…a soaked bathroom floor after every bath…all manner of flowers and rocks and shells and grit inside the house. There won’t always be such early mornings, all the noise, so many messes, too much laundry, and not enough time in the days. There won’t always be such hard work and such joy as this.

So, homeschool momma, cherish it.

Enjoy every minute.

Because the time goes by so quickly.

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  1. Mine are now ages 2-17--the first is preparing to leave the nest, and I'm boggled by how fast the time has gone by.

    You're absolutely right.

    1. Yes, it truly does go by quickly - too quickly for this momma!

  2. Thank you! I need reminders to slow down and just E. N. J. O. Y. togetherness and savor time. Great post!!

    1. Thank you. That's right - enjoy, make the most of, and savor the time, because it really is fleeting! And summer is the perfect time for doing more of that!

  3. This post really narrows it down to perhaps the most important reason homeschool is what my husband and I have chosen for our family. We tried public this year and the whole year felt as if it went on fast forward. We're looking forward to getting back to our "normal" next year. Thank you!!

    1. I can only imagine how fast the year seemed, having your kids in school. Here's hoping next year can slow down a bit.

  4. Thank you very much for reminding me to slow down and enjoy it all. I am headed into my 2nd year of homeschooling after having my 3 children in private Christian school. Our life was like being on a fast moving merry go round and barely ever getting off it. Homeschooling has stretched me in big ways and I have often doubted whether I could really do it. Thank you Jessica and Jamie for your kind and encouraging words and reminding me that it is a process and one I need to slow down and enjoy. Many blessings to you both and I pray your new homeschooling years go smoothly.