education is…

28 Feb

I’ve been toiling over this question a lot lately—what do I want my children’s education to look like? 

I want it to be an experience…

One in which their, young impressionable minds are being filled with truth and beauty.

I want their schooling to be more than what can be found in a textbook.

I long for the life lessons that are given to them each and every day to be opportunities to grow in humility, charity, kindness and goodness.

I want a sense of order in our school days, but also the freedom to stop and forget the lesson plan book when my child suddenly has a strong interest in a topic that they have recently discovered.

I desire for them to be challenged in their schoolwork—not to be confused with overburdened with busy work, but truly given the opportunity to take their skills and be pushed to the next level.

And when they struggle?  I hope to find a way to help them overcome their challenges and succeed.  Perhaps, this will be an entirely different means of educating them—an approach that stretches us beyond our usual comfort zone.  And, maybe that subject, topic, idea won’t be one that they enjoy, but at least they developed an understanding that will guide them.

I don’t want “standards” and “common core” to determine my children’s education—because if that was the case, I’d be able to stop “educating” my second grade daughter until the seventh grade in reading, the fourth grade in math, science, and history, and the fifth grade in grammar and geography. 

I whole-heartedly desire for them to be well-rounded children with lots of friends and interests in various extra curriculars, too. 

I don’t want their days to be spent in a chair, guided be the ominous school bell that tells them when they can stop thinking about this subject and now shift to the next topic.

I guess I’m a homeschooler at heart.  Which is crazy to me, for their was a day not too many years ago when I declared that I’d never homeschool—no, it was just not for me.  My years of teaching in public and private schools had shaped me.  I valued *that* kind of education.  Heck, I even won awards for it and had schools reach out to me when I wasn’t looking for a job to ask if I’d come to work for them. 

Where has this shift in my thinking come from?  I sure wish I knew.

Because that “ideal” that we are living at home really and truly takes a mountain of effort, time and commitment.  And, the reality is, I’m tired and burnt out.  I know I put too much pressure on myself to provide this kind of education for my kids.  But, heck, they are my kids and we only have one shot at guiding them to heaven, and then perhaps Harvard.  I want to be able to give them the best of what I’ve got.

But, not without losing my sanity. 

And, now for confession time:  I have actually spent some time researching schools in our area.  We even went and toured one today and had a great conversation with the principal and a number of the staff members. 

It was sort of surreal being back at a traditional school, again, with all its buzz and excitement. 

I tried to mentally place my children in the classroom where we observed.  I imagined them doing just fine—though, I’m confident that Annie would be bored to pieces as what they were covering, she mastered 1-2 years ago.  Jonah, well, I think he’d do OK, but I’m not confident in most teacher’s ability to meet his educational needs, when that same teacher is responsible for another 15-20 kids.  He doesn’t always learn like the masses and I just don’t know if the traditional school setting would allow him to succeed.  He’s so sweet, and I think he’d get shuffled along year after year by doing “good enough.” 

But, I don’t want “good enough” for him.  I know he can do better.  We’ve seen it time and time again at home.  Though, generally not until after I’ve tired a number of different approaches with him.

And so I’m left perplexed.

I’m just not sure how to continue to abandon my old teacher ways to embrace this new and in some ways freeing, though in other ways stressful method of educating my kids.  I mean, seriously, how much easier would my days and nights be if I handed over the bulk of my children’s education to someone else?

Home education. 

How does one mom manage the house, educate the kids in different grades in all their subjects, and give time to ministry within the Church?  Clearly others have figured out a better balance than I have.  I’m still struggling so much with how to do this all. 

And, so I ask you seasoned homeschoolers, how in the heck do you manage it all?  What have you learned to let go?  And how?  How do you provide that “ideal” education for your children while cleaning pee up off the floor from your strong willed toddler who hates to do his business in the potty?  And the laundry?  And the dishes?  And the cooking?  And, how do you find time to give your services to the Church?  Because those ministries are extremely important to our family culture, too.

My prayer as of late is to continue to abandon myself to what God wants for me and our family.  If homeschooling is His call for us, then I need to discern how to do it without feeling like I’m drowning under the to dos. 

So your advice and support is so very welcomed.  Share, o wise ones, your ways to this novice.

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One Response to “education is…”

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  1. a peace-filled year | His New Day - January 2, 2015

    […] a contented sigh, and the affirmation that God has our family right where He wants us.  The discernment process that got us here took months of 2014 and racked up hundreds of hours in prayer before the Lord in […]

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