We are coming to the end, if you can ever truly call it that, of our third year of homeschooling already. What I mean by that is, when you begin homeschooling the learning never really stops. It doesn’t come to an abrupt halt on any given day, there is a gentle learning that begins to weave itself into the everyday. Even when we are on “Summer Break,” there are projects going, telescopes gazing into night skies, a yearning and quest for knowledge of how the world around us works. Learning is interwoven into everything that we do.
I have been reluctant to share in this space much about our homeschool adventure. We have been learning, nurturing, and gently shielding a new life as a homeschool family, here in our nest. Afraid that opening up to the truth and beauty that we have experienced would somehow get spoiled by the big bad wolf of public opinion. However, at this point in the journey, our freshly hatched homeschool is gaining strength and beginning to open it’s wings. I want to encourage others with our unique homeschool experience, our growth as a homeschool family. It’s not perfect, such as life is not, but it has been miraculous.
Looking back to the beginning, we jumped into the deep end of the pool. I had two boys who had just completed sixth and second grade who were failing to thrive in a public school environment. They were drowning in the deep end. The oldest of the two had shut down. He went to school with his hoodie up and would not take it down, he would not speak, or participate… his concerned teacher called me several times a week throughout that sixth grade school year. At home he kept his hoodie up when possible, stayed in his room with his door closed, didn’t talk unless necessary, could no longer smile easily. The youngest missed days of school, with stomach aches, and mystery illnesses. He came home from school every day a mess, each afternoon resulting in a meltdown of epic proportions. He was doing ok academically, but there were a few things beginning to slip, not because of his efforts, but due to scheduling at his school. He felt helpless, and felt like a failure…he was in third grade.
The older two boys, the eldest having just finished his sophmore year at the local high school, and the second to oldest, had just finished up junior high. Both were treading water. The oldest boys’ attitude was in the crapper. He felt trapped in a pointless existence, he was making choices that did not reflect the truth of who he is/was as a person. Our second oldest son was struggling academically. He is a kinestetic learner and a fact memorizing curriculum was not serving him, or honoring who he was created to be. It became obvious that the time was upon us to make a change in our family. We had always been a very close-knit open and loving family, but at that moment in time, we felt disconnected, disjointed, and just plain ‘ol fallin’ apart.
It was time to build a life-raft. Our family was getting washed away with the current, and my man and I could feel the sand sifting away from under us. We decided to try homeschooling for a year and see if it would be an answer to our prayers. The water was rising fast, we had to leap.
That first year was amazing on every level. That is not to say it was easy. It was anything but. This is an honest pulling back of the curtains here folks. God used homeschooling to rebuild our family. Nearly every day that first year I was brought to my knees. I battled with my own fears, doubts, and abilities. I read and researched everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling, and the “right” way to do it. I battled hard for my boys’ hearts. I prayed consistently. I set alarms on my phone for hard stops for prayer, three times a day–9, noon, and six. I hardly had to wait for the alarm to go off, as most days between alarms I prayed without ceasing.
Throughout the hard moments though, there were moments of sheer beauty, complete joy. I felt fulfilled as a mama again, having a nest full of hatchlings, we were starting over again. I began to see our boys slowly reconnecting, rediscovering, and rebuilding each other. I was witnessing a miracle. Everyday. Little glorious steps of triumph in the right direction, in the coming together, beginning again.
Each day we have a chance to begin again. We learn together, we play together, we eat 3 meals a day together gathered round the old table, we pray together giving thanks for each other and each blessing. Oh, and we laugh together, the peals of joy weave throughout our days. We explore creation around us living and learning immersed in nature. Homesteading and homeschooling are a natural pairing, each and every day there are opportunities to learn and grow, hands on, in real time. I am able to teach, to offer opportunities for each child to learn and explore in his own way, at his own pace. We can dive deep into subjects and projects that light us up, bring us joy. Our routine is flexible offering time to fully immerse ourselves in the process. We pulse gently together to the rhythms of the seasons becoming more fully aware and sensitive to the cyclical life that we live in.
I encourage you, if you have ever wondered about homeschooling, or worried about homeschooling, to pray about it. Ask yourself and your spouse if this life could be right for you. We were like many others who, liked the idea, but didn’t know where to start, or if we were even qualified to teach our own children. Remember what I said about doubts and fears…
We have dove right smack dab into the deep end, built a life-raft, and are sailing together, each day building a life of meaning and joy. The sparkle has come back into my boys’ eyes and hearts, we reach for each other once again, unafraid and loving fully, openly. Their hearts have opened back up, and I wouldn’t trade any moment of our journey into and through homeschooling. Even the hard ones….
Each and every moment has knit us into a stronger, more capable family, able to weather all of life’s moments, and embrace, even celebrate the messy imperfectness of who we are, of who God created us to be together.
NO! it won’t always be easy,
but WOW!, it will be amazing.
…and who knows it just may be the miracle that you never knew you needed.
This is why I love homeschooling!