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on classrooms, homeschooling, and loving your choice

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recently I read a piece I loved on Momastery.  She talked about the magic of learning, how teachers are magicians and deserve so much more credit than they're given.  If you haven't read it, please do.  You won't regret it.  But as she reflected on a larger life lesson, I smiled inwardly at something completely different.  While she made another point, it was obvious she loves her choice about how to educate her children.

I love it when people love their choice.

Sometimes parenting feels impossible.  So many decisions, so many right answers and wrong ones, depending on your individual child and the specific complexities of your family.  For a few years, I spent most of my time questioning my choices.  Was this really the best thing?  How could I know?  I never fully trusted myself, which meant I never fully enjoyed the fruit of any decision I made.  The question always gnawed at my confidence:  "Should I have done this other thing instead?"


But lately I have realized how much I too love my choice about educating my kids.  

I don't usually bring up homeschooling here.  Homeschooling bloggers are a sanctimonious bunch, overall.  I mean, aside from Leila.  And Jen.  And you - I've never met a single friend from A Wide Mercy who was sanctimonious.  Still, they exist.

I avoid the topic just to be sure.    

Also, if I started a homeschooling blog, I would have to call it The Very Worst Homeschooling Mom.  Really.  Want to talk to me about curriculum?  I'm useless.  The topic scares me to death, and makes me want to give up the whole endeavor before I ever start.  Experiments?  Nope.  Crafts?  You've got the wrong girl.

The best I've got is a Wall of Fame.  It's the place in my kitchen where I highlight my kids' best work, and emphasize what we're currently learning.  It's the most basic requirement of homeschooling.


Most of the time, my Wall of Fame looks like this:



Not to mention Table Time, that quintessential moment when everyone gathers around the kitchen table, quietly writing in their notebooks.  Mine very often includes this:


Obviously I'm no authority on homeschooling.

But the thing is, I love it.  I LOVE it.  And inexplicably, my children are actually learning under my supervision.  I attribute their progress to unbelievably low attainable standards.  I do require them to do something in the way of academics, of course.  But if our only measure of success was a blank bulletin board and the stack of work on the bottom shelf of the pantry, they would be a deprived bunch indeed.

What I love about homeschooling is this:




And this (he was so proud of himself!):



And especially this:


What I have learned from my first semester of homeschooling is I'm not passionate about education, I am passionate about my children.  I believe in a slow childhood, spent outside and in basements with a bunch of siblings and neighbors.  I believe in time - time to build lego creations and paper toys, time to nap in the afternoon, time to dig in the dirt and climb monkey bars.  I believe in riding bikes and finding new trails to follow.  And I believe maybe the best thing I can ever give my kids is my yes.  Yes, you can play just a little longer.

Maybe you believe the same things I do.  Or maybe you don't.  Or maybe you do, and you are convinced the very best way to achieve it is to do the exact opposite thing I'm doing.    Maybe, like Glennon, you are attending Christmas programs right now, signing homework folders and making plans for Christmas break.  Or maybe you're a teacher, secretly counting down the days too.  

However your life looks at the end of this semester, I hope you have a moment when you think, I LOVE my choice.  I love the decision we have made for our kids.  Whether you are sitting in a folding chair, watching your child on stage, or filing away a semester's worth of copy work and math pages (unless you've been filing them all along, and you know I haven't), I wish you the gift of confidence.  I hope at some point this December, you will be  undeniably certain you made the very best decision for your family, and your heart will be filled with contentment.

I hope you, too, love your choice.

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