It’s funny how to so many, home education, year round, is something crazy.
I mean why would anyone willingly, and eagerly, be in school all year round?
It’s funny how it really just wasn’t, that way, for us from the very beginning. It just made sense.
I want to inspire a love of learning in my children for years to come. I remember when I was a kid, school was awful for me. I could not wait to get out so I could go home and learn something. We had a home that inspired learning. Full of materials that encouraged thought, and expanded the mind. I had music lessons, we attended museums and the theater; we did so many things in the community. That is what learning is all about. It is freedom to explore; to seek not just information, but experience.
Our kids are a part of the Bible Quiz team at our church and they have the best shirts for these kids. They say “Learn it, Live it, Quiz it.”
We cannot just learn some facts that we memorize and store for another day. Education is so much more than that. A year round home education allows us to live it; to find ways to apply, in real life, the things we are learning. My oldest son’s passion for art; my four year old son and his love of planes; my daughter’s love for ponies. We can encourage these passions more when they have ways to “get their hands dirty” in these things. And that takes time.
I do not want to forget the freedom we have in home education. I do not want to stifle true learning, I do not want to put out their fire. When I see a passion, a love for some thing in any of my children, I want to make sure we take the time to stop and explore every little detail of it, until they have all they want of it.
I do not want home education to be something we do, to “get it over with”, but rather something we are excited and eager about. I want to know that my family is excited and curious. Eager. We don’t always run, joyfully, to our daily duties, but we can foster a spirit that is content, that is willing and purposeful in the things they do each day. Big and small. If we do it all for the Lord, it is all significant. In every day, how we approach the things we need to do, how we respond to those needs that arise, it is a lesson that is of great value to all.
I admit it has not always been quite this way in our home; we are still a work in progress. We have done those curriculums. You know the ones, you buy the box and it’s all right there. It even tells you what you do, when and how, they are great for so many families. Not ours. We got through it; we survived. I dealt with days and months of forcing, bribing, sometimes threatening my oldest son to “do his work”. According to this schedule,we only have so much time to complete this stuff; tomorrow we have to get through all of this. It was so overwhelming for us because, I admit, we are not that organized, or that strict about things like this. I caught myself beginning to teach him, the sooner we do it, the sooner its over. I caught myself. But it was a close one. I don’t want to teach that.
It made me think. I really stepped back. I asked my oldest son what he liked about home education and what he did not like so much. We talked about what education is and why it is important. It was this sharing of ideas and thoughts that really brought me to fully embracing year round education in our home. My son clearly did not like being told he had to do certain things. Why? There was no relation of what was being taught, to his life. I can understand all too well; we need to experience things so that we can really understand their relationship to life. Now we keep this in mind when we are going into things. Whatever we do, we try to step back and see, what is there to learn in this experience? Our learning is more hands on, as much as it can be anyway.
Did I mention this is better for our health too? Mostly Momma. That burnout that so many of us feel after a few months…its easier to stay fresh and focused. We are trying to keep the focus of learning on daily living skills. We seek out more of what the kids are interested in and we work on those things they need, in more creative ways. Money and time, two skills that are much easier taught when there is some personal investment in them. A goal, if you will, that gives the kids a feeling of ownership in what they are learning. This is something that can be done regularly through grocery trips, cleaning house, baking, yard work, gardening and caring for the pets (and we have a few!). We work together and we learn together. We all have more energy and a better spirit too, because we are not rushed. We are pacing ourselves so that we can learn as much as we want to, about whatever our latest curiosity is. We can relax and snuggle with books or spend the day outside on a blanket coloring and sketching or playing the keyboard and guitar. Some days it’s just free play. We all just rest and take joy in the day itself, so that creative spirits are inspired and encouraged too!
We are still a work in progress. Home education always is; we have to be flexible. We need to be on our toes if you ask me. There are so many things to learn; so many ways to learn. What is a momma to do? We are very casual in our education I have to say. We need our routines, but a strict schedule? It was not a pretty sight around here. We still have time off when we need it; here in Wisconsin, if the weather is good, we have to take advantage of that. Get outside. We have outside bags, with microscopes, butterfly nets, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kites, sand toys, so that we are ready to go and play when the opportunity arises. The key is to know that there is learning in this too.
We have to look. We have to be willing and teachable. We are to be an example to our children; as they get older I want to know that they know the value of a true education not because they were told it, but because they were shown it. We are told to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when is old he will not depart from it.”
I have never once doubted the awesome beauty of year round home education. It just make sense because life, gives us something new to learn every day. In each moment, if we are intentional, there will be challenges for us to face. There will be problems to work through, questions to ponder and people to get to know. This is the beauty of God’s creation, like His word itself, in every experience. If we are patient and willing, there is always much that we can learn and so many ways in which we can grow.
May we be His hands and His feet in all times for the glory of God alone. <3
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