Precious Moments in a Wonderful Lifestyle by Stephanie Walmsley


Precious Moments in a Wonderful Lifestyle
I started parenting and homeschooling over 32 years ago with a vision for how family life would be and how I would teach my children.  I wanted a freedom for them to learn in a meaningful way. I wanted to spend time with them and create happy memories for them and with them. 
Now when I look back my biggest surprise is how fleeting it all is.  I have fabulous memories and I am still collecting them, as a mother of grown children and as a grandmother.  Here’s one:
One of my daughters got a homeschooled penfriend in Texas when she was a teenager.  The friendship flourished as the girls grew into adulthood and the friend has made a few visits to New Zealand to see her friend. 
On one of the visits, my daughter, Celia, planned a girls’ holiday and I was invited to be on the ‘Girls’ Week’ with two of my daughters and the lovely Texan friend. My nine-month-old grandson, Sebastian, gate-crashed the party because he needed to be with his mother, and we were all thrilled to have him with us.  We stayed in a lovely holiday home miles from anywhere and on the shores of Lake Taupo – the views were magnificent; seeing the sunrise over the lake in the morning was a great way to start the day. 
We had a week of total relaxation with no plans or commitments.  We had time to do all the things you want to do when you have time - reading, knitting, chatting, eating, listening to music and watching videos.  We had an espresso coffee machine and made coffee and chocolate brownie every morning.  We had lovely wine and chocolate in the evenings.   We went for walks and picnics. We didn’t use the car (except to sprint to the nearest village shop 6 km away to buy milk and a postcard on Thursday afternoon).

Sebastian enjoyed being with all the ladies.  He took half a dozen tottering steps, got his first tooth, had his nine-month birthday, fed the birds, learnt how to say no and shake his head, and even worked out how to taste the chocolate!  He got a little lick and loved it! 
Our men folk missed us and we got a great warm welcome when we got back home.  It was particularly gratifying to hear my seventeen year old son telling me how much he had missed me.  I felt appreciated.  I felt refreshed too – eager to spend some time tidying my desk and kitchen cupboards, getting my garden work up to date (weather permitting), planning good things to do with my teens.  Enjoying the learning journey with my family. 
On this holiday I was reminded again that home educating is a fabulous lifestyle.  Whether I home educate on a shoe string or with plentiful resources; whether I have one child or one dozen children; whether my house is big or small; town or country, – these things are small issues, but the big issue is the gift of the child we have with us for a short time and the joy of rediscovering and enjoying the world through the eyes of our children. 

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Stephanie and Philip Walmsley started homeschooling their five children in 1985.  Stephanie offers courses, study guides and books to homeschoolers.  Visit www.thebroadroom.co.nz


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