I laughed when he said, "No way," because I felt the same way. I always loved having been homeschooled, but never thought I would pursue it with my own family. In my opinion, it just didn't suit my personality (most days, I am still of that opinion!), but a little over a year ago God started putting quiet and very obnoxious thoughts in my head that we should consider homeschooling. NOOOOOOO!
After a lot of prayer and discussion we decided to jump in and I was glad that I was jumping into the shallow end of the pool with Kindergarten since we were about to be parenting a newborn! We almost have a year under our belt and there have been a lot of overwhelming days. I still haven't figured out how to take care of an infant, do school, keep up with the laundry, and still be part of ministry without nearly losing my mind, but I suppose that's just life and motherhood, no matter what circumstances there are.
Yet, even with the hard days, there have been a lot of great things about homeschooling, things I was reminded of at the convention this weekend. It isn't a path for everyone and sometimes it can get a little lonely when you aren't surrounded with other people walking the same journey. It was great to be reminded of the reasons we have chosen to homeschool and be encouraged that we aren't alone in it! Here are a few reasons I was reminded of this weekend:
Homeschooling is a great way to practice discipleship with your kids. It certainly isn't the only way to do this but it does make it a little bit easier to be present for all the teachable moments in a day (even if sometimes the rate at which teachable moments come can make you want to lose your mind). The speakers and workshop leaders reminded us of this a lot this weekend. I really do love that we have the freedom to incorporate spiritual training, life experiences and ministry into our school day in ways that we wouldn't otherwise be able to. It's easy to lose sight of this when school is stuffed between loads of laundry and infant feedings, but it's there.
And then there is the fact that the homeschool community is family oriented. It isn't just family-friendly, it is shaped by and around families! There were kids everywhere at the conference. Babies were strapped on, slung on, and stuffed in carriers everywhere you turned. As a mom of an infant, who often is excluded from things because I have a baby in tow, it felt so nice to be a full member of the community. I've always loved that homeschooling is a diverse age environment, socialization isn't limited to peers.
Because of this, I love that everyone is a full member of the community in homeschooling. Youth were given important and visible roles in running the convention. Judah participated in the kid's program during the two days of the convention and the program was run almost entirely by 13-18 year olds (with 11 and 12 year-old helpers)! Youth also helped with conference registration and logistics, and introduced each workshop. The convention reminded me that children are capable of so much when we empower them along the way and walk along side them.
At the end of the conference, the kid's program did a presentation for the parents of the things they had been learning and doing. I was amazed at the how many verses and songs they had learned. Of course, my child was only singing and signing when he wasn't being distracted by the waving arms of his neighbors or when his mouth didn't need to be a beat box or when he wasn't practicing his disdain for personal space with the other children's faces, so who knows what he learned, but still.
As I watched the presentation and all these things were running through my mind I was so grateful for the opportunity to do this. Who knows what the future will hold or where and how the Lord will lead our family, but I tried to let go of the feelings of being overwhelmed and embrace gratefulness. Because, even though my wiggly, beat-boxing, six year old makes me want to tear my hair out, and finding just the right curriculum and figuring out lessons plans makes me crazy, it really is a blessing to be able to do what we are doing.
For however long this season is for our family, I am grateful that life doesn't always (if ever) turn out like you expect it to. For example, you might find yourself exhaustedly wading through a sea of strollers, laden down with babies and books at a homeschool convention...crazier things have happened.
Judah was so excited to meet Mr. Demme, the creator and instructor of Math U See (Judah's math curriculum).
This kid was a champ for two days straight...he needed to join some of the other babies and stretch out from time in his carrier!
Terrible quality photo, but we actually caught him doing some of the hand motions to the songs!