Saturday, February 12, 2011

Myers' Home's Cool

I remember, years and years ago, setting out on this homeschooling adventure. I was confident, yet overwhelmed. My excitement was high over the endless possibilities of what we would be able to do. My head was filled with plans, books, and experiences to bring into our class of 6 (sometimes Mom and Dad are the students too!). My plans were quickly thwarted by something called life. Life with busy babies, housework, ministry, motivation swings and the lack of energy that results stalled my excitement and reality firmly stared me in the face. I put my grand schemes in my back pocket and determinedly stared back with an "I'll be back" promise under my breath.

Ok, so just math, reading and writing. That's all we are going to be able to fit into our school day. Discouraged, but accepting, I carried on with life as it demanded. Eventually, phases pass and when a tiny opportunity for something more presented itself, my ambitions were pulled out my back pocket and smuggled into reality. As time went on and I got a bit of a handle on life, it realized that I was not giving up and more and more of my educational plans came to be a regular occurrence...our school was looking more like a lifestyle now...which is what I was going for.

Some days are a mess. I have learned when to let go and when to hang on, without blabbing about like a spoiled baby. I always was a strong willed child...according to my family...we is unanimous...I had an unbendable spine. I still am, but hide my crossed armed pouty face with a Mrs Cleaver like smile and bide my time till I can assert my will, stealthily. My lack of confidence helps to sift out those acts of will that are not really necessary nor God ordained. I like that. Having God at the helm of our schooling keeps me from raising my kids into MY image or likeness and prayerfully, into His.

Then there are the good days. I had one of those recently. Most days are pretty good, but this one was extra satisfying. Things didn't go perfectly. No one got 100% on a his Algebra test nor did anyone start speaking fluent French, but the mood and atmosphere were rich and rewarding. A lot was accomplished before lunch (half of my definition of success involves accomplishment), the kids were playing various instruments, watching video's about coral reefs and talking about the Spanish ancestry of South America...and I didn't have to MAKE them do it. I took a moment to take in the atmosphere. I don't care if my kids are geniuses. I don't care if they have one or several diplomas on a wall behind a big desk nor does their pay check have to be impressive...but I do care that they HAVE a paycheck. In that moment of that day I watched my kids enjoying learning. Learning all kinds of different things.

Academically speaking, my initial objective at the starting gate of our homeschooling was that my kids love to learn. Also, that they be equipped and motivated to acquire information and skills that they do not have. To be self taught and independent of a teacher's hand all the time. That was 10 years ago. I am now experiencing the first fruits of this endeavour. I can't tell you how rewarding it is. In fact, it is kind of "taking off" on me. The older boys are quickly involving themselves in activities and subjects that I have absolutely no interest or skill to help them in. I'm just the resource person, the equipment guy or the water boy...definitely the cheerleader...minus the short skirt and pigtails. They are becoming their own person and I love it.

I used to want them to like what I liked. To do the things I never got to do. I don't so much anymore. I love it when we can share a love, and we do in some things, but mostly I love it when they find something of their own. Something they can dive into and share with others, including me. I think I am seeing the beginnings of success in the subjects I have been insisting upon...independent thinking and following God's design for their life. That sometimes requires a letting go of things I wanted to be part of their repertoire. It's another faith step in my relationship with God. Trusting that His plan for them is better than mine and that I will find joy in it regardless. Fortunately, I am still SO very YOUNG that I have lots of time to pursue all of these uncharted learning territories for myself :)

Fostering a rich learning environment takes time. I once wondered if it was ever going to happen. All of my wonderful, veteran, homeschool mom friends reassured me that it would and they were right. I see the light, not at the end of the tunnel, more like in the middle somewhere.

I love my job. I love my kids. I am learning the necessity of patience and flexibility in educating them. I still don't love hockey, but I love my kids playing hockey. By the way, my second son got a beautiful goal last night...right through the "five hole"...whatever that is exactly. He was on cloud nine all the way home and I was sitting right beside him enjoying his big smile.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go (literally translated: "according to his way"), Even when he is old he will not depart from it."

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