Homeschooling is about so much more than the academics. Certainly, there are those, but more broadly, one of the reasons families choose homeschooling over traditional public or private schooling is for the opportunity to be together all day. You really get to know your kids and have plenty of opportunities to teach and train their character.
At the start of this week, I envisioned such a fabulous Monday. I ordered a new homeschool curriculum book (KONOS Volume 1--character-driven unit studies), and I had spent time Sunday planning out what we'd study and some fun activities to go along with it. The day ahead held so much potential.
But it totally flopped.
My kids just like the spring-like weather too much to stay inside. From the time they woke up, they were outside (even in their jammies). Jump on the trampoline; come in and eat breakfast; go back out and ride scooters around the house; come in and get dressed; go back out...
I decided I could work with this. It's not important where they do their work, as long as it gets done, right? So I brought handwriting and phonics pages out to the trampoline along with a pencil. I told my son he could work on it outside.
Several minutes later, I checked on him. The pages were blank. "My pencil led broke, Mom, so I couldn't do it."
This was just the tip of the iceberg. When I called this son in for his reading (or even to listen to me reading to him some of the books I had picked out about birds, which is what we were supposed to be studying), he seemed to be deaf. The hysterical thing is this first unit focused on ATTENTIVENESS. They were being attentive alright, but not to their studies--to their scooters, to the trampoline, to the tent Dad had set up in the yard for them to play in, anything but what I wanted them to be attentive to.
Suffice it to say I felt totally discouraged. We had a big talk when my husband got home, and I shared that homeschooling is not going to work if they won't cooperate with the schooling part.
Later that night, I flipped through some books, searching for encouragement and advice. In I Saw the Angel in the Marble, I found a helpful perspective. You can focus on the SCHOOL part of homeschooling, or you can focus on the HOME part of it. Essentially what the Davis' were saying is--if you believe God has called you to keep your children home as opposed to sending them away to school for the majority of the day, then relationships--learning to live together as a family--becomes a higher priority than academics.
Monday, the academics didn't happen the way I originally pictured. The joyful, cooperative spirit for studies was absent from one of my sons. But...we managed to accomplish most of it anyway, just far below my ideals for a bright, sunny, warm-fuzzy day of learning together.
The more important thing, though, is we had a huge talk about character. Even if the day had been worthless on a scholarly scale, a lot of learning happened after all. HOME-school learning, learning for life.
One other note...
It was helpful for me to think about Jesus' education (or anyone's education years ago). As the Son of God, being in the exact nature as God, He is the source of all wisdom. Do you think Jesus as a boy grew up going to the Nazareth one-room schoolhouse? Or did He learn everything He needed to know as a man in the context of day-to-day life, living with His family and in His community? (A theological note: He knew everything anyway, of course!) My understanding is that boys in biblical times would receive tutoring in their adolescent years. But their early years? Probably spent with their families, learning to live and work.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that education has not always looked the way it looks in modern culture. And that's ok.
"Families are returning to that road whose name is Life As It Was Intented To Be."
"...your child was born with all the talents, giftings, and callings put into him or her since the foundation of the world. Find out what these are and let your child become truly good at what you find."--Chris and Ellyn Davis, I Saw the Angel in the Marble
Women Living Well
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