- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

The bride was dressed in a white gown. The groom wore a black tuxedo. The flowers were pink and shades of white. The father of the groom shared his heart as he presented a message to the couple and the guests. The mothers of the bride and groom watched with teary eyes as their children exchanged their very first kiss. It was a beautiful wedding.
On July 15, my oldest son, Christopher, got married. It was one of the happiest and saddest days of my life. I was happy that he had found such a wonderful woman with whom to share the rest of his life. I was sad because I was losing a part of myself. I always knew the day would come when Chris would marry, but I never realized how hard it would be to let go.
When children are little, we think we never will see the other side of diapers, runny noses or even Saxon math. In reality, the time we have with them is short.
In the weeks before the wedding, I did a lot of reminiscing. I thought back to his birth and how thrilled I was to have become a mother. I sat with photo albums and relived birthdays, school days and vacations.
As the wedding day drew nearer, even simple things such as making his bed, doing his laundry or preparing his favorite meals brought me to tears. It seemed like only yesterday I had held him in my arms, and now he was getting ready to leave home. How could our time together pass so quickly?
What does all this have to do with home-schooling? Plenty. Now that Christopher has taken Stephanie as his wife, I am all the more grateful that, 17 years ago, my husband, Larry, and I decided to home-school our children.
We began home-schooling because we didn't have peace about sending our children off to school. With the better part of their day spent away from home, we knew we would miss much of their lives.
Home-schooling has made the relationship I enjoy with Christopher and my other children closer than I ever thought possible. I knew there would be educational benefits to our decision, but I never dreamed those benefits would hold second place to the personal relationships Larry and I would share with our children.
Yes, I have been my children's mother and teacher, but as we have spent time together, I have become their confidante and friend a privilege I would not trade for the world.
A farmer prepares a field and plants seeds. As the seeds sprout and grow, he spends his days hoeing weeds and watering the young seedlings. His desire is to provide an environment in which the plants will grow and flourish. He works daily, even when he is tired, because he knows that if he is diligent in caring for the plants now, they eventually will produce a great harvest.
Just as the farmer plants his crop, so we as parents raise a family. We diligently work, even when we are tired, to provide an environment in which our children will grow. We hoe away the "weeds of life" and provide the spiritual, emotional, moral and academic water they need to flourish.
Are parenting and home-schooling easy? No. Are they worth years of work and sacrifice? Yes.
When I saw Christopher standing at the front of the church, I saw the beginning of my harvest. No longer did I see a little boy, but a man a man of conviction, of passion, of life.
Moms and dads, take to heart that your children will not always be children. We all will enter new seasons of life, but the memories of being together as a home-schooling family cannot be taken away. Treasure every moment.
Kim Huber, a mother of four children, has been home-schooling for 17 years. She and her husband serve on the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania's board of directors. She can be reached by e-mail (CHAPKimH@aol.com).

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