I remember that place, that deciding place of how to educate our children. I remember its weight.
I recall standing there with pudgy hands wrapped around my leg, peering down that road diverged in the yellow wood. Unsure of the next step, the faint whisper from a faint heart came, “Which road for us, Lord?”
We stayed there for awhile waiting, asking, listening. And we found that to hear His voice on how to wisely educate children was best heard on one’s knees. He will speak: Keep your nose in the Book.
There on your knees, waiting for the Word, it is sometimes easy to forget that He loves these children even more than you do (for they are His)—He does have a unique, individual plan for each of them that He will faithfully reveal.
He called this family to take up the road less traveled, the one marked “Home Education.”
Though many had gone before, winnowing a worn and true path, I confess, we felt like pioneers, forging new ground.
(But isn’t each family pioneers in their own right? We are each father, mother for the first time, traversing the parenting prairie with these children for the first time. Where are we going? How do we get there and what do we need for the trek? Raising up children is new territory for each of us.)
Whichever trail you set your foot to will decide your landscapes and views. Be it home education and the myriad of paths therein, or other educational routes, a family grows out of the landscape of the path which they tread.
That trail becomes a way of life, a way of seeing, a way of being. Consider, dear Mama, which landscapes and vistas He has put in your heart to see… and embrace that path and its lifestyle. The journey, whichever one, encompasses the travelers.
Here is how I might suggest you consider the journey into Home Education:
Live your life. And invite your children to join you. Read together. Pray together. Sing together. Work, bake, garden, chore, clean, sew, fix, build together. Don’t fabricate artifical demarcation lines between schooling and living. Live a one-piece life. Live holistically.
Explore! Be awed by His World! Restore Wonder! Be a creative, thinking, exuberant person who spills with the joy of learning. Your zest for learning and life will be contagious–the children will catch it!
Read, read, read. Fill the house with library books. Play classical music. Post the art of the masters about the house. Go for walks in the woods. Learn a new language, a new culture, a new poem. Everyday set out to discover again, and again, and again. The whole earth is full of His glory! Go seek His face…
Consistently read. Consistently pray. Consistently keep the routine. Consistently live an everyday liturgy.
Children thrive in routine. So do households. Have hardstops: times that you fully stop to pray, to read, to write. Regardless of what isn’t done, what isn’t finished. Make a full stop, do the needful thing, then return to meals, laundry, household management.
Consistently be consistent.
That’s all. The curriculum doesn’t really matter, so much. Use what works for you, how He leads you.
Just make it part of your real life, make it a joy, make it all a discovery, and prayerfully make it consistent.
For us, our guideposts through a day:
~Prayer, memorization, Bible Reading, hymn singing
~2 hours a day of Reading –especially before they are five
~Reading Living Books (history, science, geography, literature, poetry, art appreciation)
(for lists of living books see here: Ambleside Online, 1000 Good Books, Real Learning Booklist)
~Bluedorn’s Ten Things to Do before the age of Ten offers good thoughts for beginning homeschooling
~ Readings happen in Circle Time, also known as Morning Time (these morning time posts are priceless gems, worth printing out and praying over) …
~Latin, math, grammar/writing/spelling
~Apprenticing to real life: 2 hours of barn work daily, and then household chores
And at day’s end, we think on our Seven Daily Rungs, the seven things which we endeavor to learn and do daily, to live holistically, our one-piece life.
But really, curriculum is not the road on which homeschoolers travel. Whether what lines the shelf is of a Charlotte Mason bent, or classical, Abeka or Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace or Bob Jones is of secondary importance.
We travel on The Way. We live and breathe in Him. He is our road, He leads us on, He is a guide worthy of our trust.
Lean on Him.
©2008, Ann Voskamp