|Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
A Thank You Letter to Mom
by Leslie Spitler, copyright 2006
Okay, it takes a bit of courage for me to share this, but I think it says something about the choices that
parents are faced with today, as well as in the past. We really are fortunate to have the opportunity to
home educate and to have so many resources to draw upon. For generations, people either didn't
have another option, or didn't know that they had an option.
I’d like to share excerpts from a spontaneous "from the heart" letter I wrote to my number one
homeschooling advocate: My 80 year old mother. My mother has always thought "outside the box" --
mostly because she had to. I hope that sharing my gratitude toward my mother's "after-schooling"
efforts with me (over 20 years ago!) will be encouraging to other homeschoolers.
Here's some of what I said to her after she told me she wished she had a teacher like me when she
was growing up:
It's funny that you say you wish you had a teacher like me when you were in school. You are a teacher
like me! I get my "thinking outside of the box" from you. Sometimes I get my "make it fit into the box"
from you. So much of how I interact with the kids comes either directly from you or from what the other
kids say they have learned from you.
The creativity in teaching comes from you, too. If one approach isn't working, I try something else. You
used to beg me to try a different approach, but I was bent on doing what the teachers wanted me to
do. I also learned from Dad [my dad passed away a little over a year ago] and the other kids. I either
learned directly from them, or by being an observer-- an advantage of being “the youngest”.
Think of the countless learning opportunities you exposed me to: church, summer camps, music camp,
girl scouts, choir, band, singing lessons, piano lessons, Germany, college and stories about your
young life (to name a few). Thank you! I didn't only have one "school" experience. You taught me to
engage in a lifestyle of learning. Then there are my work experiences. I have a wealth of educational
experiences to draw upon because of you, Dad, and the rest of the family.
You saw that the education system I was in was less than good and you certainly had reservations
about the quality of people within that system -- students and teachers alike. You couldn't afford to
send me to a private school and if homeschooling was an option, not any knew about it then. But you
exposed me to every opportunity you could swing. I think it saved my life in many ways. You exposed
me to a variety of people that I wouldn't have met without your foresight.
Those experiences gave me hope when high school got to be an awful experience. Those experiences
helped me to finish, knowing that I could make choices for myself and not based on the social
landscape of my high school.
I can never thank you enough. I can "give back" by doing my best to pass that "lifestyle of learning" on
to your grandchildren to the best of my ability. Home educating the kids may not earn fame and
fortune, but it is so much better than that. The kids aren't the only ones learning.
I'm not trying to be mushy. I really mean this. I'm crying right now because I am so thankful to even
have the opportunity to say thank you! You home-taught me too (sometimes in spite of the school
systems discouragement to do so). I'm so blessed to have had so much time with you. I loved our
walks, I loved when you would come to school to have lunch with me. It helped me get through those
tough days. I loved window shopping with you. I loved camping with you and Dad. I loved studying
with you until all hours of the night. I loved our conversations about everything and nothing (I still do!).
Even though some faulty thinking got the best of me for a few years, you provided a foundation for me
to fall back on, and I have. You gave me the tools to create a foundation for my little family.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
I love you, Mom!
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at the mother's knee,
and every word spoken
within the hearsay of little children
the formation of character.
-- Hosea Ballou (1771 - 1852)