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Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
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Family Matters

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
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

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" --
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
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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Education commences
at the mother's knee,
and every word spoken
within the hearsay of little children
tends towards
the formation of character.
-- Hosea Ballou (1771 - 1852)