Holiday homeschooling back in the day

Written by contributor Jena Borah of Yarns of the Heart

My homeschooling days are now in the past, and I’m glad I have piles of journals, full of memories. Here’s a look at my entry fourteen years ago as we were preparing for Christmas. The kids were 9, 6, and 4.

November 19, 1998

Today was a good day. Meg (age 6) is making progress in reading. We played reading games and I changed the clue word for the letter u to “up” instead of “umbrella” because sometimes she pronounces it “imbrella.” I made signs with the word up and arrows and put them all over the house.

We also made little red Christmas stockings, sewn with white yarn. Meg loved the sewing. She felt like Rose (a character in our book) who sewed all the time.

We read the Christmas story in book three (it must have been Rose Wilder books) about Rose being asked to give up her new sled for a child who didn’t have anything. I asked Meg what she would have done.

Without hesitation she said she’d give it to him. I was struck by her generosity and at how fortunate we are to have her in our family, always eager to give. It brought tears to my eyes.

Photo by Jena. L to R Meg, Missa and Peter 1998

Missa (age 4) makes me laugh. Recently I was reading Motherhood is Stranger than Fiction about a mom trying to get caught up with the laundry. She asked, “Why? Was it going too fast?”

And she keeps telling me about things that happen “in her country.” For example, “This is how we dance in my country,” or “This is how we sing in my country.” What a pipsqueak!

The other day we put together shoe boxes of Christmas gifts for children around the world. The kids each chose to spend their month’s allowance on gifts. In the car, Peter (age 9) commented on all the sales tax he had to pay and how unfair it was to have taxation without representation!

In Retrospect

Photo by Jena. L to R Missa, Meg, and Peter 2012

It’s amazing how little my children have changed. Meg is now in India, volunteering at a school for slum children. It is very physically demanding to live there, but she wants to do all she can to help those in need. Feel free to check out her blog for snapshots of life in India.

Melissa is still the one who makes us laugh and always has a rosy view of life. And Peter is Mr. Analytical, working in a law office and learning computer programming on the side.

Wow, I miss those days of having little ones around, but I am so proud of the adults my children have become.

Do you keep a journal or a blog or a scrapbook? How do you capture the memories? The days fly by and someday you will want to remember.

About Jena Borah

Jena Borah homeschooled her three children all the way to college. She blogs about her homeschooling years and her interest-led philosophy at Yarns of the Heart.


  1. I loved reading this. I wish I had kept journals to look back on. My older two are now 23 and 21. I still have a 10-year-old so I could start now!
    Southern Gal’s latest post: Friday’s Letters

  2. My kids are very little right now, and I take pictures constantly. However, I never seem to get them organized into a scrapbook. Which is kind of funny because I have all of the scrapbooking stuff I could ever want from before children. I hope that when my kids are a bit older I will be able to make scrapbooks for them, and for me!
    Heather’s latest post: 2013 Garden Plans…already?!

  3. What a great post. It reminded me that these littles days don’t last forever and that I really should journal more! What happy memories!
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s latest post: Welcome! We have a new look!

  4. I started journals for each of my kids when they were born, but eventually blogging took the place of actually paper journaling. Someday I’d love to go through and make a collection of homeschooling and slice-of-life moments for each of the kids!
    Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: Saturday Snapshot: Three Maids

  5. A good reminder to keep track of memories. Thank you.
    Steph’s latest post: Pre-Christmas Purge

  6. What I love most about this post, Jena, is how it shows clearly just how much you enjoyed your kids–even at the busy ages they were at. That closeness is so obviously still reflected in your relationships with them now!
    Jamie ~ Simple Homeschool’s latest post: Holiday homeschooling back in the day

  7. I absolutely loved this! Thanks so much for sharing! Being at home with an 8 and 5 year old, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the “big picture”. What a great idea to journal about our journey. Thank you!

  8. Thank you so much for string! Reminds me that I need to write things down!

  9. i had just finished writing down (on paper!) some of my 3-year-old’s “isms” when i came across this post. my kids (yours, too?) LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing stories of themselves when they were “little” (currently 9, 6, 3, & babe.). THANK YOU for sharing a piece of your journalling here & for the encouragement to keep chronicling!
    jill’s latest post: advent-ageous.

  10. Wow, I love this perspective of looking back. It really makes me think about how they’ll be grown someday and to cherish these moments. I also like the detailed journal about what you did during homeschooling. Great post & would love to read more of your posts on here– the experience that comes with looking back. Thanks!
    Charity@TheHomeschoolExperiment’s latest post: Rhythm of a Year: Holidays

  11. Oh I just love this post… love the happy memories created and the “loving every stage they are in” about it!!! Beautifully written and a great reminder to capture the moments that appear so ordinary to us now!!!
    se7en’s latest post: Saturday Spot: A Week in the Country… And a Taste of Summertime…

  12. Hi Everyone! You all so beautifully expressed my desire to encourage you to take notes. The time goes by so quickly, and the memories you save will be there for generations.
    Jena’s latest post: A Little Girl’s Dream

  13. The beauty of journaling! That’s why I love it (and now blogging). What lovely memories! 🙂
    Joyce’s latest post: Kiwi Crate: My Xylophone

  14. I do keep a journal, but it’s more of a general day to day event journal. I am just starting out in my homeschooling journey-my kids are 3 years, 2 years, and 5 months. I would have never thought of keeping a specific journal of our homeschooling, but I’m definitely going to start now. Thank you for an inspiring post!
    Amanda @ The Fun Mommy’s latest post: Retrospect On 2012

  15. I love the idea of keeping a journal. The practicality of actually writing it I am not so great at! This post has definitely motivated me, I want to have a written record like this to look back on when my kids are grown.
    So often I feel like I will remember all these moments, but realistically I can’t even remember what happened last week!
    sarah’s latest post: Family rules that set a foundation for behavior

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