The Home School Court Report
No. 4

In This Issue


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by MaryAnn Gaver
- disclaimer -
Homeschool Memories
Mary Ann Gaver
Mary Ann Gaver

If you were to ask me for a snapshot of our homeschooling days, I would probably go to the closet and take out a whole photo album! Leave it to a mom to organize pictures, make scrapbooks, and save all manner of artwork, right?

Starting when the twins were 7 and in 2nd grade, I made yearly photo albums to capture some of the highlights of our days. Upon opening the pages, you’ll see shots of field trips (some flourished, some completely flopped), photos of special people we met, and pictures of ordinary moments: Justin posing with his rock collection, Austin toting his sketchbook.

The Gaver family then
Gaver Family
Then and now: The Gavers have fond memories of outdoor fun during their early years of homeschooling. This fall, Austin and Justin will be high school seniors.
The Gaver twins as high school seniors.

And isn’t that the thing about memories? They just happen. Even on routine, run-of-the-mill days. Maybe some of you are thinking that today might not be very memorable. After all, there are little ones to feed, toddlers to dress, and assignments to coordinate. On top of that, the breakfast dishes are waiting to be tucked into the dishwasher! How can this be memorable? Sometimes it’s hard just getting through a busy morning!

Now that our twins are high school juniors, I can assure you that the elementary years fly by. As I look back, I miss things such as reading books together (even if it was Pompeii: Buried Alive!—for the 50th time), gathering around our globe to identify countries, or packing lunches for the park. Truly, those times were precious.

So, my encouragement is to enjoy today! Remember that those little fingerprints on the window will get higher and higher before disappearing, and the Legos will get cleaned up. Take heart, and treasure the everyday memories of your homeschooling years.

About the author

MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for 10 years.

Share Your Tips

This column is designed to feature teaching tips, encouragement, and advice from homeschooling parents.

Our next topic is field trips. Getting out and doing things can be a great way to enhance learning. Tell us about a field trip you’ve taken with family and friends. Send us your story in 150 words or less. Submissions may be edited for space.

Mail submissions to:

Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Or email us (include “Parent to Parent” in the subject line) at:

Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is 9/30/11.

Ah-Ha! Moment

I began my day with my usual routine of waking up before the children, reviewing my plan, and dreading how much we had yet to accomplish in our final weeks. I found myself overly eager to get on with the next assignment, and I held the children tightly to our daily schedule. In a brief moment, I turned to get a hot cup of coffee, and the children quickly retreated to the corners of the house.

As I looked around to find them, I saw two engrossed in storybooks, one comparing pictures between books, and the fourth absorbed in a textbook I had planned to use the next year. I could hear chuckles, sounds of satisfaction, and words like “Oh, now I finally get it!”

I realized that in my rush to meet deadlines, complete testing, and stick to schedules, I had lost sight of the fact that my children have a natural desire to learn, and if I continually provide them with the right environment, they will learn more than I could ever plan or test for.

This was the day that I had my own ah-ha moment and got the grace to live it!

by Lee M. / South Lyon, MI

Night School

As the homeschooling mom of a son who is soon to be 17, it is hard for me to believe that our homeschooling days are winding down. I have always believed that teachable moments happen anytime and anywhere.

One night, when my son was 4, it was raining, a rare treat in our hometown of Phoenix. Of course, the rain awoke my son. Around midnight, he went into the kitchen for a flashlight and burst into my bedroom to shine the light out of the window. I woke up and asked what he was doing.

“Looking for worms!” he replied. Just as he had anticipated, there were worms on the ground right outside the window. We watched them for two hours straight.

The next morning before breakfast we got dressed and went outside, where he drew in his journal the worm tracks that he found left on the ground.

by Lisa C. / Phoenix, AZ
Karen’s five daughters enjoy an ocean sunrise.
Courtesy of the family
Karen’s five daughters enjoy an ocean sunrise.

Carpe Diem

Somehow, I had become a taskmaster in homeschooling my five daughters—interested most in checking off the list and doing the next thing until we fell into bed at night and started over the next day. This was not how I had intended to spend my homeschooling years or how I wanted the girls to remember me—lacking the joy and spontaneity that had previously been part of our daily lives.

I decided to take action. I had already tucked the girls into bed and was about to retire myself when the realization hit me that I had never seen the sun rise over the ocean. I packed a breakfast and some blankets and set the alarm clock to a ridiculous hour. The next morning, I roused the girls and told them to dress quickly and head for the car. We drove straight to the beach, set up camp, and enjoyed a memorable first morning of school watching the sun rise over the ocean before returning home to begin our studies.

I will always treasure that morning. I am blessed to be able to homeschool and am continuing to challenge myself to make memories to last a lifetime!

by Karen S. / Chesapeake, VA

That Cow!

As our eldest daughter, Sarah, was learning to read, she sat on the couch with my younger daughter Hannah and me. Sarah looked at the next title in her early reader and read aloud: “Ted’s Cow.”

But, for some reason, the way she read it the first time wasn’t good enough for her. So she read it again. And again. After each reading, we would laugh. The more she read, the louder we laughed. Not only was Sarah learning to read and carefully enunciating her words, we were thoroughly enjoying the moment with stomach-clenching, tear-producing humor. To this day, any time I bring up “Ted’s Cow,” we laugh hilariously at the memory.

by Dawn H. / Princeton, TX