What DOES a Mom do when She's not Homeschooling Anymore?

I have been teaching my two daughters readin', writin' and 'rithmetic
for a combined time of 12 years, now.

We started homeschooling because Miss S (now a Sophomore at Furman University)
was several grades more advanced than her peers.
In Kindergarten! (This girl started READING when she was 2 1/2!)

(This post has a lot of pictures!)

Me and Miss S. She is sounding words-she is 2.

Miss S, 3 years old, caught in the act of reading by herself.

So, we brought her home.
At home, she got to go at her own pace, bypassing some lessons that she already knew,
and studying other issues until she grasped the concepts.

Miss A came along when Miss S was 4.
Miss A (all 9 lbs. 15 oz. of her) is inside of me, here.

When we tried to send Miss A to Kindergarten 5 years later,
 she hid under a table in the classroom all day.
(She only emerged to eat, play or nap or have her picture taken-see below).
Discipline failed to change that behavior, and so, she came home, too.

Miss A, on the left with two of her Kindergarten friends.
She is happy because it is the last day of Kindergartenl!

I wish I could say it was for some "religious" reason that we homeschooled our girls.
If by religious, we mean that we wanted them to have godly moral character, yes,
then it was partly because of religious reasons.

But, what really happened is that our girls, 
for this time in their lives needed to be taught by me, 
in their own individual manners of learning.

Proverbs 22:6
Start children off on the way they should go,
   and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

In the early years, our days were full of worksheets and songs and prayers and playing.
If we wanted to stop "class" work and chase butterflies or dance, we did.
If we wanted to wake up at 9 A.M., we did.
We often did our "school" in pajamas.

Miss S (on the left) and Miss A's 1st day of 1st Grade at home.
At my desk, each with an apple for the teacher!

In their high school years, we joined a co-op because I cannot teach
Chemistry or Biology or Physics. I can and did teach English and History!

I carpooled and helped in the co-op, 
co-ordinated the graduation and reception of all 12 graduates 
in 2009 for Miss S' class.

So proud of our Miss S!

Fall of '09, Miss S went off to the University across town with scholarships,
and Miss A and I started 9th grade, alone.
Instead of co-opping again, we chose an online charter school 
(again, remember, I don't DO Chemistry, Geometry or Spanish).

But, by her next semester, because of 
the lack of interaction/feedback with an available teacher,
visual and tactile stimuli, and healthy challenges of peer interaction, 
Miss A's grades became poor.
I tried to help her and support her, but it just was frustrating to the both of us.

Then, Mark and I, through a series of interventions by God,
after praying and after having peace about it, were led
to enroll her (with her approval) at a Middle College a few miles away.

Miss A started High School as a Sophomore on January 14th, 2011,
after the week of Southern Snow.
And will graduate from there in 2013. (She LOVES it!)


My weekday hours from 8:00-3:00 are now my own.
Or are they?

I have much more free time.
Or do I?

I am trying to make a new schedule with my time, trying to prioritize.

Just like before.

What matters to me?
What DO I do now that I am not homeschooling anymore?
What does my schedule look like?

Here is what my day looks like, sorta in order:

Get up at 7:00, have coffee. Wake up.
(In that order).
Put shoes on 
(still in pajamas-I hope I never have an accident on the way to school). 
Start car at 7:40, drive Miss A to school.

On the way to school, we talk about many things:
life, boys, heaven, school, food, God, homework, 
hip-hop (she dances in a Christian troupe), braces, hair, make-up, music.

I ask her if she needs me to do anything for her that day.
She lets me kiss her goodbye when I drop her off in FRONT of the school.

I arrive back home at 8:06 A.M. and spend time with my heavenly Father
while Mark is getting ready for work.

I putz around the kitchen and have breakfast.
At 8:50, I bid Mark farewell with a kiss and a hug and a prayer.


I partay!! 


I start a load of laundry or 2 or 3 or 4 or more, 
play with the Little Sisters,

Take some pictures of this or that, blog about something or other,
or add some things to the donation pile,
Go to lunch with my hubby or a friend.
Every other Wednesday I co-teach this study:
 JONAH Navigating a Life Interrupted (yep, basically).

I go to the YMCA:
Monday and Wednesday (the elliptikiller and nautilus machines), Fridays it's Zumba.
I wash dishes, call a friend, FaceBook a few peeps.

Go grocery shopping.
Sometimes, I sew, hot glue, ship at the USPS, paint, and iron things.
You know, homemakerish stuff.

Then at 2:50, I leave to get Miss A from school.
I find her in the lower parking lot chatting with her friends,
several of whom she has known for years, and laughing and smiling.
She hops in the car, declares that she's hungry and on the drive home, 

we talk about
life, boys, heaven, school, food, God, homework, hip-hop, 
braces, hair, make-up, music.

We get home at 3:15 P.M. and she dumps her stuff right in the middle of the floor,
raids the pantry and plops in a chair.
Later, she starts her homework and I start dinner.

We sit down together, around 7:00 P.M., the three of us: me, Miss A and Mark.
We talk some more about
life, boys, heaven, school, food, God, homework, hip-hop, 
braces, hair, make-up, music.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. 
Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. 
Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; 
talk about them from the time you get up in the morning 
to when you fall into bed at night.

After dinner, perhaps we watch a movie, or have to go to her hip-hop class
or to Praise Band practice, or Youth Group 
or up to Furman to get Miss S for the weekend.

I think I thought I would be bored or without purpose.

I think I thought my day would be spend twiddling my thumbs, 
thinking up things to do.

I think I thought that if I wasn't homeschooling, 
that I was no longer "mothering".

I think I thought I'd lose our close relationship, 
forged through years of all-day-long togetherness.

Through this transition, 
I've shed some tears of gratitude for the time I did have,
I've shed some tears of loss, for not "finishing what we started".

I sure do miss her.

But, those times each day, to and from her campus are precious.
We share in ways we didn't before.
She still needs me.
She still wants to know what I think.
She still wants to make sure I love her.

And, God-willing, we still have weekends and holidays and summer.

So, what DOES this mom do now that I'm not homeschooling anymore?
The same things as before.

However, I have come to realize, that ultimately, 
my heart 
how I live my life
will always be 
my daughters' school room.


  1. Oh gosh, that was so beautiful to read and made me a little teary eyed! It's hard letting go as our kids get older but it's a necessary transition. I'm glad your daughter is doing so well in her new school!!!

  2. Beautiful! It's so true that children learn from your life. Looks like you have a blast with your girls!

  3. I always love to read your posts. And I loved all the photos.
    The whole school decision thing is hard. I am currently trying to get my kids into a local charter school. The lottery is this weekend. They would like to stay in their current school but I have reasons why I am hoping for this change. I have many friends that homeschool and I think it is awesome...just not something I think is a right fit for our family (even though my daughter thinks it sounds "fun").
    When my youngest started kindergarten last year I thought I'd have all sorts of time to lounge around and couldn't figure out how I'd spend my long days. Funny how I can fill up those hours really fast!
    I'm glad you are adjusting to your new schedule and glad your daughter is enjoying her new school.
    Til Next Time,

  4. Awww, what a great story!!!! I have anxiety over my girls leaving(home)me!!!! I can't believe you homeschooled for that many years....one did me in (there wasn't enough medication in the world ha ha)!!! I am going to take a year off No school, kids in school.....sounds exciting this minute!!!!

  5. Wow! You're still a pretty busy lady. And with getting the house ready for selling, that will keep you even busier I would imagine. What a great mom you are! Your girls are blessed and I think they know it.

  6. You make my heart smile! you're such a great mom! enjoy your quiet time with God...I have a feeling he has some big plans for you :)
    Love ya!!!

  7. You've got it right, Leslie! You're still the teacher even if you're not the only teacher.

    I homeschooled my oldest for three years. He's now a sophomore at Duke. When he got his SAT scores, I proudly said, "I taught him reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic!"

    I homeschooled my middle son just for one year. But I got to teach him the 3 R's, too.

    My youngest has been at the same classical Christian school since kindergarten; he's now in 8th grade. And some days I feel really sad that I didn't homeschool him at all.

    Thank God He is big enough to work in any circumstance. Isn't He good? Isn't He faithful? :)

    Enjoy your bon bons. . . love ya!

  8. Oh, I loved reading about you and your girls. :) Seeing the pics of them growing up just makes me want to run snuggle mine, but they are watching Winnie the Pooh and don't like to be interrupted. ;) So I will just clean out the sink until they are done. ;)

    Thanks for sharing, Leslie!

  9. I'm sure it's gone so fast! I can already see it in my boys, I try to cherish every minute but they just keep getting bigger. Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. Oh wow, they sure grow so fast and you should be so proud of your girls and all their hard work!! Thank you for this precious post...it is wonderful, Leslie!!!

  11. Leslie this was just wonderful! Did you know that my sister homeschools? And, actually, her oldest will be graduating in a year and I know she has been so grateful for the time she has spent with him. I pray about it for my own kiddos...my son is in a wonderful very small private Christian school right now but hubby and I are praying, listening and waiting for a clear answer as to whether or not to keep him there. Anyway, I can't wait to send Heather over here to read this as I know it will mean so much to her too! :-)

  12. I was never brave enough to try homeschooling, mainly because the daughter wouldn't hear of it. :) She was sent, instead, to a great Christian school. I worked some during those years, but whenever I didn't, the drive to and from school was my favorite parts of the day. Now that she's married and I'm retired, I sure do miss those days.

  13. From one home schooling mama to another, how we live our lives IS the greatest lesson of all and I KNOW you are finishing what you've started with EXCELLENCE. You are an amazing mother and friend. A+ for you.

    Love you my friend.

  14. I recently found your blog and have enjoyed reading your posts. This one in particular was quite moving! Love the pictures as well. Your girls are beautiful, no doubt a result of your influence.

  15. I loved your post!! I'm new to your blog but think I may stick around and visit every now and then! I'm a retired teacher, mother of 3 grown children 2 of which are married and grandmama to 5 grandchildren! My blog is http://grandmamasstories.blogspot.com
    Gmama Jane

  16. This was a beautiful post to read, Leslie. I could even relate to some parts of it. I made a long commute to drive our girls to their school for years and had the same wonderful chat time with them. It was worth the sacrifice. (But I never did it in the jammies. I'm not that confident of my driving.)

    I'm still struggling with what to do with my empty EVENING time now that I have the empty nest.

    The day time filled up way too fast. When folks discover that you have open time, they like to be creative with it, if you know what I mean.

    I really, really, loved the last part of this, BTW.

  17. Beautiful post and tears were shed. A new season in your life and it sounds like you are finding your way. I found you through my friend Charity and I follow you on FB.

  18. I find that it easiest to talk to my boys when they are in the car. No distractions, you are not staring them down and they seem to open up more. I loved it and still do. Now that my youngest is driving there is less of it but I still take advantage of it when I can.

  19. I know I commented earlier but I came back again to re-read your post. I really liked it. My daughter is 10 but wow, how the time is flying by. I loved seeing the photos of you and your daughters and I love how you ended your writing...you are a wonderful teacher for them. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    My daughter is sleeping soundly tonight...can't wait to give her an extra hug in the morning :)

  20. You're all so cute!!!
    You are still a very blessed Lady and time will pass as other things come to fruition.

    God bless,
    d from homehaven in the Kansas Flint Hills

  21. What a wonderful post!! It hit close to home for me too since I am starting down a similar path. Homeschooling my two preschoolers this year and wondering where this choice will lead us ... we never envisioned ourselves as homeschoolers but we all love it

  22. Leslie, You are soooooooooo real.... I love this post!!! Letting go a "little" is so hard!! You are very blessed ! What a beautiful family....Love the photos of you and the daughters at the end.. you look like you are having a ball!!!!! btw.... speaking of looks... who is the Mom and who is the daughters???!! lol, Terri

  23. I was a home schooling Mom for a while to our 4 kids too. Different times and different reasons for all of them. Hey Leslie, I was looking forward to your vintage linen eBay store. Did you open it? I so enjoyed your series on how you sell on eBay. I now sell on Etsy. God bless!

  24. Oh, this makes me a little sad! One day (like 18 years from now), I'll be wondering what to do now that all my homeschoolers are out from under my tutelage. I love the pics of you and your girls - precious! What a joyful family. Much love, my friend.

  25. Wow, this is so timely. I just took my son to his first day back at public school today. We have been home schooling for 2 years. Truthfully I can't stop crying (not in front of him), but oh my I am so worried about everything you said. I know it is the right thing to do through much prayer, but oh my it is so scary to send them out into the world even if it is the right thing. I told my husband it is a good thing that Heavenly Father is a better parent than I am, I hate the growing up process.

  26. OH what sweet memories, & sweet pictures. I love your pictures, & love this post PARTAY woman! And yes there is life after home-school, mine is lonelier, but it is life. And it's good. It's still good!

    Hugs to you sweet Leslie!

  27. Oh, I truly, truly, truly love this post! What a wonderful relationship you've created and nurtured with your daughters. So wonderful! I, too, wonder what it will be like to have time to myself in the middle of the day. I have to sneak away to check blogs, but I love learning things from women like you. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the likes of me.

  28. O.k. 23 comments before me and no one has said this. I'm jealous! Not the breaking of the 10 commandments type, but let me say this: You are blessed! ~Terri, with 4boys, and still homeschooling 10th year. Have a Bon Bon for me, that's one of our jokes at home.

  29. Seasons in life are hard to adjust too - but so good! I'm graduating my first this spring and trying not to hyperventilate at the thought that he is actually leaving.

  30. Wow! I'm homeschooling three and I can't even imagine what I'll do someday when they're gone. I am so thankful that I have this time with them.

  31. I can't believe I missed this post! I am glad to know more about your life, but I am REALLY glad to see more pictures of you. You and your girls are adorable...so fun!

    Now I have to leave this post because I don't want to think about not having any more kids at home to homeschool. I'll think about that tomorrow.....or not.


  32. Leslie, my name is Leslie too! For 4 years, I have been haunted with the question, "What will I do when I'm done homeschooling?" Now that's it really here (OMGosh), I'm starting to worry the question to death. I have a degree in art, but I might have the opportunity to get another degree or certification. I might be able to learn to fly. Purpose is the word. I never thought past what I would do after Trudy graduated. I really thought I would have more children to teach. That may still happen but it's a long shot and I'm 43. I love what you said about your life being a school room. And I do still have my pets and house and husband to take care of. One day, maybe grandchildren will toddle into my life. But I do feel that lack of purpose. Some friends say "follow your dreams", hubby says "do what makes you happy" (WOW). I feel guilty for being about to stay home and pursue hobbies like painting and gardening and such. Sorry for dumping. I'm just thinking out loud and this seemed to be the place to do it. Haha. Thanks for sharing your story.


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