In her post, Quiet Homeschooling, my friend Kortney wrote:
Be still–don’t fret. Don’t flit from curriculum to curriculum. Find something that mostly works. Make up the rest.
Be present–not out and about at every activity, not overly preoccupied with whatever the current trend happens to be. Not worried about other people’s expectations or judgement.
Be patient–don’t rush academics. Don’t push external timetables. It’s never too late to be ready.
Be persistent–find a workable, everyday rhythm. And a strong Morning Time rotation so that you know there is space in the day for music + art + story. Show up. Do the work. Be the magic.
Be still: I am not good at being still. Something a little better must be just around the corner. The curriculum that will solve all my problems, the activity that will fill in the gaps, the relationship to salve to my loneliness, the words of counsel to heal my wounds.
There is no holy grail in homeschool. I learned this my first year, yet well over a decade into the journey, every summer, I am tempted to take up the quest again. The curriculum catalogs come in the mail and the solutions to all my problems seem to be smiling up at me from each glossy spread. Never mind that the 6th grade program in Veritas Press seems more like 8th or 9th grade for my family. Never mind that I know that rigid academics don’t really resonate well with us. Every summer I resolve to tighten my belt, lace up my boots, pick up my fully loaded pack and really take on this homeschool thing.
Not this year. This year is the time to cease from striving and rest in my creator. To know that He holds my family and our homeschool in His hands. To fully trust that God is working in all things for good (Romans 8:28).
Be Present: Not super high in my skill set either. We are your typical, over scheduled, modern family. Not as bad as some perhaps, but pretty bad. The thing is that we love everything we do. Soccer, gymnastics, swimming, horseback riding, music lessons, art school, theater, media club, folk dancing…we live a lot in the car. Then add in Classical Conversations, church, library trips, errands…you get the picture.
I learned to be busy early on in my life because there were hurts that I couldn’t deal with. Being constantly on the move meant I never had to process, never allow myself to truly feel. But all that has a way of catching up with you and it isn’t pretty. This past year some of the abuse of my childhood has caught up with me. A family member who I dealt with by maintaining a large geographical separation is back in close proximity. I can’t run from the situation any more.
After 42 years I need to learn to be present, to deal with my past, to set healthy boundaries, to stand up to verbal/emotional abuse, and protect my children so they are not caught in the same sticky web. To be present I need to slow down, to be in the moment, to accept and process the situation without judgment, to allow the old hurts to evaporate so that healing can begin.
My oldest is 16. He will be leaving the nest soon. This is the year to be present. To be intentional about spending time together in worthwhile conversations and pursuits. To put our family above the individual interests and pleasures and slow down enough to take joy in the journey.
Be Patient: To to be the adult. To not react to pre-teen melt downs. To rub shoulders and speak soft words of encouragement during difficult math lessons instead of matching frustration with frustration. To support my husband during periods of high stress instead of demanding from him what he is not in a place to give. To help my son set realistic and measurable goals to improve study habits in his community college courses instead of simply cracking down on and crushing him. To pray and wait patiently for God instead of praying and then doing whatever I want anyway. The real litmus test: to react with grace and patience when I am lost and running late with a car full of cranky and hungry kids!
Be Persistent: Some people adore homeschool. Full disclosure, I do not. I love many things about it. The years building relationships with my kids. The time living and learning together. The recipes we’ve tried, the books we’ve read, and the wonderful friendships and community we have found along the way. Homeschool requires prayer and it requires persistence. More often than not I find myself kicking against the goads, wishing God would open the door to another way.
“The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things–the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.” Samuel Johnson
What a sobering and daunting responsibility. Yet what an honor. This year, instead of wishing for a way out I purpose to take joy in. To find the good, the beautiful, and the true and meditate on those things. To rest in our homeschool’s foundational verse, Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
How are you inspired for the coming year?