Back in July, I felt August breathing down my neck, urging me to get busy. In years past, August was when all summertime relaxation screeched to a halt for the preparation of home-school lesson plans. And then, school began. The fall home-school feeling had been trained into me from decades of bending to the task. In late July, it pulled me toward long days with my children, studying together. It was time to prepare for the fall!

For twenty-eight years, this was the routine. This was God’s plan for our particular family. Aiming young hearts, souls, and minds toward wisdom, I bent over precious heads, sharing priceless moments as they studied around the table.

But now, the task is complete. There are no lessons to prepare, no schedules to arrange. I am no longer a home-schooling mother. My youngest started college this weekend.

Now my six energetic and precocious children are all grown.

After the last graduation party in May, early summer was a bittersweet time. I cried frequently. One career had ended. Another was beginning. My baby girl, now grown to young womanhood, had been launched, my children all raised. Then, I didn’t know I’d have to mourn again in August and now in September.

Four years earlier, when child number five started his last year of homeschooling, the end had loomed ahead of me, stark on the horizon. At that time, I had felt as if my purpose for living would be over when my task was complete. Once I had raised, reared, and educated these children, from the standpoint of biology, my life’s work would be done.

I had reproduced. I had raised offspring who could support themselves. I was done. Kaput.

The thought was depressing. But God had a better idea.

After having a crowded home of busy children for thirty years, our youngest was my sole student for the last four. While she worked, I wrote. God put it on my heart. It wasn’t my idea. I ran with it. By then, I had been writing bible-study material for three years. I branched out. I tackled fiction.

I had to learn to balance fiction and schooling. The first semester I failed. Then I adapted.

Side by side, my daughter and I worked through the next four years. We studied together, working on joint projects, watching educational lectures, reading material, discussing content and ideas. We traveled for tutoring or group classes. Silently and studiously, we sometimes worked on separate floors—joint scholars.

Part of me wishes I had sat and stared at her for four years; but I didn’t think she would enjoy that. She concurs. The writing kept me from obsessing and suffocating.

Through it, God showed me his plan for life’s next season. I can still be used in his kingdom, even though I’m finished raising my large family. Fancy that! My first articles are being published now, and an agent has the manuscript for one of my novels. It’s a good transition.

I am now in a new season. I am learning to yield to the God-ordained seasonal change. Children grow up too fast. I am heartbroken that the childrearing/child-educating phase is over. Yearning for days gone by, I grieve. I loved educating my own children. It’s a tough transition.

I’m glad I made the necessary sacrifices. Glad I cut out the extraneous activities that would have prevented our success. Glad I put their education ahead of my own pursuits. Glad I taught them to think, to be curious, and to pursue excellence. Glad I shaped their lives.

And now I turn, glad to discover God’s plan for the next season. Yes, there is life after homeschooling. What wonders await me up the road? If it’s as glorious as the season I now leave, God’s plans will be wondrous indeed!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV).