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Dear younger, homeschooling me,
I see you pouring over websites that even contain the word “homeschool” looking for answers. You are wondering how to teach phonics, counting, colors, and all the things. The idea of being at home all day with your rambunctious son is overwhelming and exhilarating. Long walks looking for bugs and late afternoons curled up on the couch reading classical literature fill your thoughts. Oh what a joy it will be, and then kindergarten registration comes and goes and you feel compelled to begin.
You have selected a perfect all inclusive curriculum with manipulatives and lengthy teachers notes. The day has arrived but somehow your rambunctious son is not having it. He is uninterested in your nature journal, your carefully crafted art project, or the sounds letters make, not to mention he could care less about holding a pencil. You try to coax him and manipulate the situation with idle threats or rewards if just one thing could get done, but nothing happens.
All your visions of walks, classical literature read in a one room school house comes crashing down. Never-mind that he is 5 and his baby sister is barely walking on her own or no one you actually know is homeschooling their kids but yes, cry anyway.
Over the next few years you are going to cry a lot because the expectations of a rambunctious son and young daughter are not going to be met. I know you will feel like a complete failure in all the ways, and everyone you complain to will have one solution-put them in school. But because I am writing to this girl, this mom out there, I have 20/20 vision of what I want you to do differently.
First, please let your children be children! Let them run, jump, and play for many years. I chose classical education as our choice of an education model because classical education allows children to grow up how God intended them to grow up. Yes they have to learn letter sounds, numbers, colors and more but no where in that learning does it need to be manipulated or forced. There is so much learning that happens through play and being read to that I want you to rest there. No workbook pages, no pencils, and no school rooms.
Second, invest in movement and imagination. Buy a trampoline, and a lot of dress up clothes. Let your son be a warrior and your daughter a fashion designer for as long as possible. Create stories with them and let them express themselves through play. Jump to music, and counting for they will be learning without realizing it. Buy tin pie plates that can go outside for mud pies, and big soup pots that can hold rocks and twigs for a hearty fantasy meal. Read great books that inspire all of this.
Third, know that the time of hard work will come. Your child will be ready for a good math curriculum and an extensive writing program when they are ready. Oh girl! The work will come! All the writing, reading, and Latin exercises will arrive with vengeance and you will miss the days when all that was necessary was taking a walk.
Fourth, there are more good days then bad and the fruit is worth waiting for. I know the days are long because you are trying to do more then is necessary, but once you pull back and trust the classical education process you will breathe slower. There will be many great moments and days along the way. You will be there for all the firsts and celebrate the “ah ha” moments. Your child will read and write in ways that blow your mind because you invested in them.
Lastly, you will want people around you, walking with you, on this journey. Being alone can get dark and hopeless. That is why a community is necessary to speak truth into your life, and help you sharpen the sword. Glean from them, and take what works but only what works. No one homeschool looks the same because every child is different. Please don’t compare yourself to those you are in community with, it brings nothing but heart ache and lies.
Homeschooling your children will go by and this season will end. Therefore, save up all these things and store them in your heart because the days are long and the years are short.
Me, 8 years in the future.