We are well into our fourth year of learning at home (thanks, Covid!), and I feel like we love it more and get better at it with each passing year. I am tempted to say, "I just wish we had started earlier!" But truthfully I believe the transition out of public school happened exactly when it was supposed to happen, and I have no regrets about our schooling decisions prior to 2020. It has all worked for our good, just as God has promised.
In terms of homeschooling, it has taken me a while to strive less with the "school" part and engage more with the "home" part, and I'm sure I'll continue evolving in this area as time goes on. The trained teacher in me has mellowed a bit, and in her place is the eager student who simply loves to learn new things and laugh and have conversations about what I've discovered in life - sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, right alongside my kids. And as I witness how quickly they are growing, maturing, and stepping into the amazing individuals they are created to be, I realize what an honor and privilege it is to BE with them day in and day out - through the mundane and ordinary-ness of regular life at home. I don't take it for granted.
Here are just a few reasons why we love this new normal:
We are well-rested almost every single day. We don't use alarm clocks, and our day starts when we say it does. Occasionally my two boys will come in and snuggle in bed with me before the morning gets underway - there is no rush. This indulgence alone is priceless.
We get tons of natural light, always working next to windows and open doors, or even out in the yard on the swing set, in the driveway, or on the trampoline. Any place and every place is our classroom.
We choose our own curriculum, and if what we have isn't working - we can change at any time. We learn all the basics, plus whatever else we feel is interesting, fun, or important. This list is always changing because WE are always changing!
We have tons of time to relax, play, exercise outdoors, read for pleasure, and engage in our own hobbies in the comfort and security of our own home. We also learn to work together to keep our household running smoothly. Rarely do I feel like our time is poorly spent. Rarely do I worry about how outside influences are impacting my kids' mental or emotional health. (YouTube is walking a fine line, however - and this has led to some great discussions about personal responsibility and healthy boundaries).
We can pursue the learning style, environment, and pace that suits each individual best. This has been KEY to the ongoing success and buy-in of all three of my kids. I know how to optimize their learning, and I have the resources and authority to make it happen. More than anyone else on the planet, I am deeply invested in their education.
We eat 3 simple but nourishing meals together daily around the kitchen table. Here and elsewhere, we get to tease and joke, encourage and challenge, question and inspire - all.day.long. (We also annoy and aggravate, but that's another story).
We get plenty of quality DAD TIME every day that he isn't traveling for his job. My kids see and understand how my husband and I must work as a team to make homeschooling a sustainable practice. We remind them often that it is a privilege we get to do this.
We have opportunity to work through difficult events and emotions in a safe, loving environment, seeing and accepting the best and worst of each other every single day. With this, we learn to communicate clearly and forgive quickly.
We enjoy tremendous flexibility with our school day and extracurricular activities.
We can make Christ the center of everything we learn and do, understanding that the very purpose of our education is to know Him and make Him known.
I could go on about how this experience has changed us and stretched us, and maybe in a future post I will. But for now I just want to encourage any of you who still have the option to homeschool, but for one reason or another are feeling wishy-washy about it, to keep it on the table for discussion. Learning at home can look very different from one family to the next, and that's exactly what makes it so beautiful, unique, and special. You get to make it your own.