Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Homeschool Reflections on This Year

Ahh, it's the end of April and I know that every homeschool parent is smelling the scent of summer just around the corner. You're going through notebooks and binders, checking objectives met and seeing what you can wrap up before next month. Schoolrooms are being cleaned out, things are being given away, sold or thrown away. Notes are being taken as preparations for the next school year are being pondered upon. You're tired, maybe just need a day to yourself, but the fact that the homeschool conferences are slowly creeping up excite you as you look forward to this event each year. Don't give up! Keep on truckin'! Remember to think objectively and not what pages were completed or not. Oral testing can work just as well as written as you cram in last minute things. Review, review, review!

For our family, we're expecting a baby in mid-July. We'll have Grandma here for awhile over the summer. The kids are so excited. I'm trying to think logically as to whether or not we'll school year-round. I'm leaning more towards it, just more laid back and casual. Avonlea took on some subjects in the middle of the year that I want to get wrapped up so she's caught up in August.

All in all, lessons were learned this year on their part and my own. As I naturally gravitate towards thinking like a professional educator (as that's what I am by degree), I still try and remain balanced as my children are still young. They love just having time to explore their backyard, catching bugs and tadpoles, playing with chickens and rabbits, riding bikes, doing fun experiments, keeping a log of our spider "Charlotte" that lives in one of our trees out back, painting to their heart's desire (we've recently discovered watercolors and have done some still-life portraits which have been fun, even for me!). They have had FUN learning.

I look back on the few "bad days" that we had and weigh those to the other hundreds of "good days" and thank the Lord for every one of them. I thank the Lord for the incredible Titus 2 women who have lead our family into this amazing world of home education. I thank my Jesus for the patience and understanding on some days that only came from Him. I thank Him for the lessons learned and for not giving up on me. What an awesome God we serve!

I thank the Lord for Deuteronomy 6:7 and Proverbs 22:6 that I have clung to and because of this, have seen fruit that I never thought was imaginable. My children have grown, but I have grown immensely.

I have been there for every moment of learning with my beloved children. I have watched them flourish and didn't have to question what they learned that day in a building. I didn't just get a few hours with them in the evenings, cramming though homework. I knew what troubled them. I was able to hug them, wipe tears and lead them in prayer. I knew what they ate for lunch. I knew their day started off with a Bible reading and prayer. I knew that they were learning valuable skills in how to complete chores/tasks the right way. They made wonderful, lasting friendships with other children that they'll never forget.

I watched as they grew in love for one another. I think this might have been the biggest area that astonished me. Yes, we had to work on getting along and our attitudes towards each other at times, but nothing prepared me for the genuine, raw friendship that they would develop for one another. Lincoln's gentleness shined towards his little sister. He loves helping her get on and off the swing, bring her baby dolls for her afternoon nap, tuck her in, play puzzles with her, play in the sand together with trucks, pick garden veggies with her and help her reach "the high ones".

I watched as Avonlea and Lincoln grew close as they were learning together. I loved seeing Avonlea teach Lincoln things and how on days when my son wouldn't sit still for my own teaching, he glowed when his big sister wanted to teach him. I also saw how he took this role modeling to a new level by teaching Norah her alphabet, colors and sweet songs.

I wouldn't trade a minute of our learning together for the entire world. I'm a bit nervous about adding another to the bunch, but my excitement outweighs the nervousness by a million. Isaac is going to have 3 bigger sisters and brother to help lead him, teach him and instill these same amazing fruits in him and that makes a mother's heart beam! Homeschooling is hard work, some late nights, consoling tears and lots of character training, but the more I sacrifice and invest, the more blessings I see come out of this household and the more I want to fulfill the Lord's will for our family.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the TRUTH." III John 1:4

"Thank you Jesus for your incredible guidance, never-ending love and mercy that I will never deserve."

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