My lovely mother has been here in our area of the country for a month and a half now. Laying her father to rest and helping her frail little mother adjust to life without him. It’s like I have been given a taste of what it would be like to live close to her………sleep overs, invites for dinner, Grannie to snuggle beside on the church pew, offers to hang out with the kids when I need to go somewhere without them. We got to bring her with us on an “adventure” yesterday. I’ve been able to appreciate her ability to bring out the best in my kids. The other night she slept in the girls room and they all got the giggles. Precious memories. Part of me feels like packing up and moving across the country, back to New Hampshire, back to where my mom can be an every day part of my life. It will be hard to say good bye next week when the day comes for her to go.
I wonder sometimes if she doubts the existence of our “homeschool”. I hope she sees the evidence of it at least. I don’t know about you but the structured day to day school doesn’t happen here unless I am completely focused on it. It used to really bother me, a new baby, a sickness, out of town guests, and I would feel like I was failing because we weren’t able to keep that schedule going. It would make me wonder if blue eyes and I were doing the right thing, trying to raise a big family and provide them with their education.
Somewhere along the way God has released me from that burden and taught me to roll with real life. I’ve stopped thinking of home schooling as life with a school at home tucked neatly into each week day. I no longer believe that education is passing a certain number of tests and receiving a certificate to prove that you’ve done it. I don’t compare my kids with their public school peers anymore (or at least I make an honest effort not to!) And I have fallen in love with being a home school mom.
This is not to say that we don’t keep a daily discipline with our math, hand writing, memorization and reading because we do, when life permits. My children have been taking turns staying over nights with my Mom and my 87 year old Grandmother. My Grandmother is so full of goodness and faith. It seems as though she knows her time on earth is short and so all these stories of her life are pouring out of her heart. She is finding old things stored away for years and bringing them out. Pictures that my Grandfather took in Germany and other parts of Europe during the second world war, a transcript of the first sermon that my Grandfather delivered at age 20, old publications with the cover price of $.02!
My kids have been having a lot of vacation days from “school” but these days are worth much, much more than spelling or math! These are days when their spiritual heritage is being passed on to them. These are days that capture the essence of life. I am so thankful that I do not have to answer to an absence policy that says these good things must take second place.
The Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. I know that all the days of my children’s lives are under the blessing hand of the Lord. Sometimes my husband goes around our whole house in the morning while the rest of us are asleep and puts his hands on each of us and prays for us before he leaves to work. He often has an hour long drive to work which he spends praying for us. Every night he spends an hour or so reading the KJV Bible and breaking the word so our family can eat of the bread of life. He reads a chapter from the old testament and a chapter from the new and works his way through the Bible. And sandwiched in between is our leisurely “homeschool”, full of whole or living books, writing, poetry, some classical music and picture study, and a daily dose of math. To me this is education. Learning to live and living to learn. I have a quote written on the wall in our dining room that sums up my philosophy of education. “I have learned that the head does not hear anything until the heart has listened and what the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow.” (James Stephen) Today I want the hearts of my children, today while they are so young and mold-able. Blessings to you, fellow home schooling Mamas, as you go and reach for the hearts of your children today!
I must tell you that there are two books that have contributed greatly to this change of mind set. They are the two books that I recommend to every homeschooling mom out there. A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola and Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.