As September ushers in cooler days and school routines again, I thought I’d share from my heart my thoughts about this new school year and our homsechool journey. Sadly, it has taken me 8 homeschool years to realize that I am not required to imitate the public schools, my homeschool friends, or any of the homeschooling guru’s I’ve heard at conventions. I “knew” this in my head, but I’m afraid my heart still did not grasp it and I kept striving to prove that we were just as smart as the next guy, that we were “serious” homeschoolers, and that we were way more academic than our local schools. I often would ask my nephew or neighborhood children what they were doing in school . I felt this huge need to compare what we were doing in our homes with what our local government school was doing. So much of it was based upon my own pride rather than upon what the Lord cares about for our family.
I’m not feeling pressure to do everything and learn every subject this year, and our “schedule” is simply a guide that we can follow if we want to. Thus far, our school year has been a delight….our best year. My boys keep saying, “We are having fun doing school this year” or “I had a nice day today mom.” (Big Grin :)) To homeschool Mom types like me, this is as gold………we live to hear such words don’t we? I’m still relishing in their words. This year, our home is a peaceful and happy place to be, we are not rushing around much, hurrying through lessons, or stressing out about completing books.
Because this does not come naturally to me, I must confess, that I have been reading over our family mission statement more, focusing on our relationships more, and being proactive about not comparing with other families.
To an outsider, our school year may not look that different from our years past. We are still doing Math, Reading, Penmanship, and a writing program. We are practicing our piano everyday, working on music theory, and fine tuning our typing skills. We are watching history programs and memorizing Bible chapters.
It is true that we are not using as many textbooks this year, but that is not the essence of what is different. The difference is that I have changed, and that has affected my children in a profound way. Because I have lowered my expectations and relaxed my goals a bit, I am not as stressed and irritable….. so we are enjoying whatever we are working on. Our days look different and we are “living” more.
For example, when my youngest son asked if we could take out the Fall decorations and dress up the front porch, ….I did not hesitate. “Yes, let do it, and we can clean up the front yard, sweep, and water the plants while we are at it,” I happily replied. Now mind you, this was our Math hour…..last year I would have frowned and said that we do not have the time right now….maybe later.
My older son asked if he could make me breakfast. He is so happy to be in front of a stove cooking. He made me scrambled eggs and toast with coffee. I enjoyed every bite, and delighted in him cooking for me and knowing how to cook. I did not feel the pressure for him to hurry up and begin school. He was so proud of himself and he did finish his schoolwork, but it would have been fine if he did not complete everything. Also, because of my new homeschool “philosophy”….this counted as school under the subject of “life-skills”. Nearly everything we do (except for video games and television) counts as school this year.
This is a learning lifestyle for our family. As long as we keep doing worthy tasks and have a joyful heart doing them, I’ll call them “school” and write them in my lesson plan journal.
I’m so glad that I have relaxed this year and that I am allowing time to talk with my boys, play games with them and work on projects together. This life is so short….really just a vapor and children do not wait…..they just keep growing and changing so fast. I thank the Lord for allowing me to have such a wonderful job. Even though I’m an older Mom, there is nothing in this world that gives me more pleasure. What a great career I have, the pay is not in money but the rewards are so great and the investment is worth more than gold. Thanks for reading my thoughts. Blessings, Anne