Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why Homeschool?

A facade often times appears, I'm afraid, when it is discovered that we're a homeschooling family.

"Oh, you must be so much more patient than I am!"


"Did you study education?"


"Your kids must listen to you so well!"


Well, actually...nope, not by a long-shot, patience may be the least of my virtues; and no, I've never taken a single education course; and sometimes my kids listen very well, and frankly, sometimes everyone is just screaming around the table, trying to be heard.

These are not the reasons we homeschool. It's not a choice made because I am so patient, well-prepared, or have the best behaved kids around.


I'm blowing my cover. It's pretty messy, really.


It's all about learning to flex and bend and to persevere when the going gets tough.


It's throwing out some curriculum because it is absolutely not making things click for your child and going on a mad search to find one that will.


It's about lessons being interrupted by real life issues, in a real home, when the toddler needs help on the potty, the baby needs nursed, and the dog threw up, again.


It's about trying to gather yourself when the attention spans of two brothers just wanting to play Superheroes is seemingly nil.


It's about feeling anything but competent after trudging through a rough week of work and having to discipline yourself to sit down and remember how far they've come. Yes, something must be going right...


But, at the heart of it, homeschooling is about so much more.


It's about time in these fleeting years to do life together. I see the milestones accomplished and I am a part of them.


It's about deepening our relationships with one another. I see brothers working towards goals together and experience the gratitude shared when our laboring together results in new victories. 



It's about learning to function well together as a family. When "life" happens and needs other than our lessons must be addressed, we are learning the importance of looking out for the interest of others. We need each other to function well, in our family, in the body of Christ, and in the world. 




It's about enjoying learning, together. To be honest, I was a good student, but not a happy learner. Learning would have never been described as "fun" to me. And now, with my kids, I'm experiencing that learning can be fun. Phonics can go beyond worksheets and flashcards and be explored through silly hands-on games that reward memorized facts with a ninja move, or by cuddling up on the couch all afternoon diving into real books together. It's pretty amazing.

It's about embracing the freedom to invest our time and attention how we desire, and in the things we value. Some days we learn the value of stretching a dollar as we find good deals together at the store; other days we have an impromptu "field day" because spring decided to show up after a long winter; and other days our lesson is actively loving someone for their birthday as handwriting, cutting & pasting, phonics, and cooking are all encompassed in the midst. 


And it's about having the time to freely address and cultivate the work God has begun in each of their hearts as days go along. Days like this happen, and there is the opportunity to dig deeper and see God move.


I wrestled to make this decision to take on the mantle of Homeschooling. Doubts piled high regarding my ability to do so, and besides, I knew very little about taking on such an endeavor. I wasn't homeschooled. I only knew one homeschooling family in my town growing up, and frankly, I thought it was just weird. The whole idea felt way beyond me for some time. 


But I just couldn't shake it, a tug in my heart, that this would be our route. So I read books, met with other families who have gone before us, checked out blogs and pinterest ideas, met many other normal, non-socially-awkward homeschooled kids, and have landed here, a Homeschooling Momma, for better or worse. Not because I'm such an awesome, gifted teacher, not because I'm a saint of mommy, and not because my kids are super obedient have I arrived here. I'm homeschooling because a conviction developed that this was best for our family, for all of us. 


My great love for my kids and the deep desire I have to see them do well will propel me to provide the best I can for them. My great God, who dishes out grace in abundant measure, will help me do well. I'm gonna miss it some days, over some material. That's OK. Is our Education System always perfect? Nope, nothing is perfect. 


And my end goal is not to have the best educated, academically superior kids around. In the end, I want to have given myself to these four lives, investing in them, doing life with them, discipling them as we go. I want to see God accomplish the work He has begun in them first and foremost. Yes, education matters. Yes, I will give myself to providing them rich material and encourage them to be great learners. But I see it as an awesome freedom to be able to have the time we have together and to be their teacher.


It's not the only way, but it is a legitimate way. It is our way.


So don't be fooled. Even if you don't feel like you're the poster child for a Homeschooling Momma, you very well could be. If you would have been able to tell me my current station in life ten years ago, I would have laughed at you. Homeschooling my kids? Riiiight... 


But, it's me. And I'm really happy it's me. So forget the denim jumper that you think you may have to wear, do not fear socially awkward children, and do not doubt that God has equipped you to parent and teach your child. It could be your way, too.