A dramatic conversion experience has a way of clouding out, at least to some extent, our memories of the past. That’s by God’s design, of course; old things passing away, all things becoming new. The brightness of the new life casts shadows on the old. It’s a miracle of grace.
The opening of my eyes to the world of homeschooling has been much the same. The joy I find in homeschooling now tends to obscure a lot of my dislike for the idea back then. But I still try to remember sometimes: When I was pro-classroom, pro-textbook, pro-traditional-mass-education, what was it I pictured in my mind when I thought of homeschooling?
Miserable, anti-social kids? A miserable, stressed-out mom? The same miserable public school education, administered, (like a shot, perhaps,) within the forced confines of the home instead of the cold block walls of the local school?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I can’t tell you what it was I pictured in my mind when I thought of homeschooling except to tell you that, whatever it was I imagined, it certainly wasn’t this!
One of the things I find so fascinating about homeschooling is the amazing door to knowledge it seems to have opened up within my children. Beyond the traditional school structure there is a natural excitement in learning, a special consciousness of the world and the wealth of information it contains, and it seems to me if that natural fascination with knowledge is encouraged in the right way, it can flourish and grow in a child without anyone ever having to force-feed it upon them!
Sometimes I wonder if traditional schooling merely trains children to plug in their brains from about 9 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon, at which point they’re free to unplug and hang up learning for the day, which most are more than glad to do. I always was, especially given that my public school education was so often intertwined with disastrous social challenges like popularity contests and peer pressure and bullying. The traditional education model came with an ON/OFF valve that, for most kids anyway, stayed in the OFF position most of the time.
But in homeschooling, especially without some of the limitations of a rigidly structured curriculum, you can do so much more than fill a little head with facts that will later spill out of eyes and ears onto a test paper, never to be remembered again. Instead, a child can actually learn how to learn, through discovery and exploration and reading, which undoubtedly makes learning a far more enjoyable experience for student AND teacher!
When learning can be a joy, an adventure, it happens so naturally, and in so much more beautiful a way than I ever dreamed possible!
So after a glorious summer, we’ve officially started back to school. No school buses here. No new backpacks. No brand new uniforms. (Thank heavens!) But of course new pencil boxes and crayons were in order, and mom’s excited about all the new books!
So would you like a glimpse into a homeschooler’s first day? We started with Bible as always and then the kids did some journaling. Afterwards they did copywork from a passage of scripture they’ve memorized.
We enjoyed some time together with a good classic…
And skipped our math lesson for our first day, (because we can do that as homeschoolers,) and headed to the great outdoors, (again, because we can,) to do science instead. We are incredibly blessed to live just 10 minutes from the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest where we have access to 14,000 of the most beautiful acres in the state. Love this place…
We came back down the ridge, but that was even scarier than the climb up, so I panicked and fretted over my fearless children all the way down rather than stop to take pictures!
Then we embarked upon a nature scavenger hunt, courtesy Apologia.
The kids found tadpoles!
The boys found lots of wonders…
And Peanut proudly displayed what he called his “treasures”.
Just another beautiful aspect of homeschooling….giving children the ability to see a wealth of knowledge in the most commonplace of things!
Is that amazing or what?