There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes at Smyrna Parent, including the addition of several new bloggers. We’re up to 8 writers who are diligently working on blog posts, themes, and informational articles to share with our Smyrna Parent readers. And I’m very happy to introduce one of them today! Stephanie will be writing about her experiences with homeschooling, and the highs and lows of raising a strong, talented teenage girl. She’ll also contribute reviews on a variety of Young Adult novels for us and our older children/teens, so prepare to add to your “to read” list. Welcome, Stephanie!
If I’m being completely honest, introducing myself in writing is more difficult than it appears. The question of what is pertinent versus what constitutes too much information is a little boggling. Therefore, I’ve decided to keep it simple, in the hopes that, as this column continues, we will learn about each other gradually. So, here goes: My name is Stephanie and I am a wife, mother to 15 year old Maggie (with all that entails, as well as our 6 year old dog Annie), teacher (more on that later), avid reader, writer, and pop-culture enthusiast to name just a few of my roles/interests.
Having been Maggie’s mom for 15 years, I have learned a lot and I’m still learning. Motherhood is surely the most wonderful, terrifying and fulfilling experience of my life, and I am continually surprised by the different paths that have presented themselves as my little baby has matured into a truly remarkable young woman. One such path has been homeschooling. With my husband and myself both being products of traditional Catholic and private school education, we never anticipated anything other than a traditional education for Maggie. All of these assumptions changed when, midway through her third grade year, Maggie suffered a health crisis that required me to step way out of my comfort zone. The decision to enroll Maggie in Laurel Springs, a private, distance learning program, was not easy, but it has turned out to be one of the best decisions we made for Maggie and our family. In fact, by eighth grade, Maggie successfully argued that she wanted to continue at Laurel Springs through graduation, even though she had long ago conquered her health issue. In no way do I think that homeschooling is for everyone, nor is every program created equal, but from where we sit the benefits have been amazing. As I mentioned before, the Laurel Springs program is rigorous, accredited, and requires a great deal of accountability and preparation on both Maggie’s and my parts. While she has an instructor for every class, I am her home instructor, which brings with it equal amounts of enjoyment and pressure. I’ve learned how and when to be a strict teacher, while at the same time being a supportive mom. It’s a real luxury to get to spend so much time on a daily basis with my daughter. Additionally, Maggie is a vocalist, guitarist and actress. Homeschooling has allowed her to pursue her interests in a meaningful way that a traditional school schedule would not have allowed. These are all definite positives! Lest you think that my rose-colored glasses are too tightly affixed, there are definitely difficult days, but on balance, I have no regrets.
I’m not an expert, but I would love to hear your comments and questions.
Until next time,
Smyrna Parent is still looking for a few additional bloggers – especially those with older children. If you’d like to join our team, please write me (Alicia) at [email protected]