I love reading other people’s post about why they homeschool and I used to struggle to formulate a proper response succinctly when people would ask me why on earth I would choose to keep my kids with me all day, all year. So this year, really for myself more than anyone, I thought I ought to make myself write out some thoughts on the matter.
There are a lot of reasons why we homeschool now though if I’m honest in the beginning it was more from fear of other options and a dreamy hope that we would whittle away blissful days of learning together. While we do spend days learning together and it is awesome, bliss isn’t probably the best descriptor. Chaotic, messy, loud, passionate, frustrating, rewarding and meaningful would better fit the bill.
One of my favorite aspects of home based learning is that learning becomes a lifestyle that we live out together. We don’t sequester off a ‘school room’ and only do school certain minutes in that certain place. Though some times and spots (the kitchen bar or table or couch or covered front porch or under a tree on the front lawn) we do more traditional work, the boundaries of home and school blend into a beautiful mess. It can be a Saturday morning at 10 and Caleb can find a brilliant green striped caterpillar and we can work on identifying and classifying it together. It can be Rylee not feeling well and waiting till 4 pm to sit down for her math lesson because she tends to work best later in the day anyway. It can be a week that several people we know are sick or in need and we spend a Tuesday baking and cooking food together then delivering it to bellies that will be blessed by it. Life and learning and loving get all wound up in this indescribable way and it is hands down, every day worth the sacrifice and the work. It’s worth missing out on coffee dates with friends after school-drop-off time and time to pursue hobbies and such.
We are able to adjust for different children’s learning pace and style when they learn in this setting. This has been a huge blessing as we’ve watched our children grow and develop in their skills and styles. I am challenged to be a student of my students and to figure out how best to bring them to feast on knowledge, truth and great literature.
Facilitating sibling communication and relationships, sometimes my least favorite job, is also a part of our learning lifestyle. We get all day to figure out how to work together, how to all pitch in to make this home run smoothly, how to honor mom and how to work hard. We mess it all up all the time and we learn and we get the chance to give grace every single day.
When we talk about the stars in the sky and read about the founding fathers, I marvel and wonder out loud at how God works and designs and uses the lives of people to make history. This I love. I could not imagine not being the one to stand before them impassioned and animated reading the Declaration of Independence and talking about what freedom means and the price so many have paid for us to enjoy it.
We can hunker down and get a school-days worth of work completed in a couple of hours. Then we can pursue carving, sewing, tree-climbing, adventure-finding and delight in nature before the sun goes down. We can have friends over or go to classes at co-op or take field trips when we fancy. Even if its a weekday afternoon or morning. The freedom and flexibility abound and I love that.
The way ‘school’ soaks into life and the kitchen table gets covered with handwriting practice and maps.
The chance to be the one learning the most about who my kids are, how they can thrive, what they are passionate about and what sorts of choices (and friends) they are making, I am incredibly grateful for this.
Just a part of the iceberg here, more thoughts are mulling about but for now, I’ll just say that the (official) new school year is upon us and I can’t wait to dive in when the day is here. But for these last few days of summer, you’ll find me sleeping in, drinking coffee on the front porch at 10 am in my jammies with my kiddos hanging around…