This column may be the toughest I’ve ever written because this is the one in which I tell you that Learning at Home will not be appearing in this space after today.
My first piece in 2006 was a reprint of a story I’d previously published titled The Pig in the Pantry. I told about how we’d invited 22 of our closest friends over to dissect a pig on the kitchen table. After a few more trial submissions, I was given a chance to turn our homeschool adventures into a regular column, and thus, Learning at Home was born. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our experiences with you.
As our family has grown and changed, I’ve written about many things. My favorite topics have been when I’ve shared about living in a large family, working on the farm, finding the wonder in every day life and recently, welcoming a child with Down syndrome.
Educating my children at home has been as much a learning experience for me as it has been for them. My kids have taught me that listening with my heart is just as important as listening with my ears. Sometimes it is the only way to truly hear.
Every other week for the past seven years, I have sat at my computer trying to imagine what tidbit of information about our very ordinary lives would be of interest to my readers. Some nights I would put the kids to bed and sit in the dark, staring at a blank screen and willing the words to come. Other days, I would shush the kids as I scribbled the seeds of a column onto any scrap of paper I could find so as not to forget the core of the story that had just unfolded.
And now it is time to bring this column to a close. Changes in the print industry have coincided with changes in our lives. I have often commented that this column was named incorrectly. Sure, some of our instruction occurs at home, but we learn everywhere we go. To say that we are simply “learning at home” is to minimize all the times we learn from people and places in this great community.
In the next few weeks, our family will squeeze into a 28-year-old motor home and set out to see as much of California as we can. A few months from now, we hope to take that motor home on a slow trip across the United States. We will still be learning at home, but our home will be on wheels.
On our docket, we have farm stays, service projects and visits to national parks and museums. We will gape in wonder at Mount Rushmore, cry on the field at Gettysburg and dip our toes into the Atlantic Ocean. That’s just the warm up.
We’d love to have you all join us, but we have only one bathroom in our rig so it is probably just as well that you stay home and read about our adventure. I’ll be chronicling our trip at my personal web page, www.learningacrossamerica.com. Our journal there will have a slightly different format than what I’ve been writing here as I figure out how to balance work and family on the road as we make our way across the country.
From the editors who gave me a chance to write for my hometown paper to the readers who have followed our adventures, I say thank you. I hope to meet you out on the road as we are learning acrossAmerica.