The first year it was an instructor's manual that weighed more than my Kindergartener. Overload, exhaustion, cash and burn. The second year it was organized worksheets up to our eyeballs. Page protectors, dry erase, why does my kid hate learning? The third and fourth years it was financial crises and a mom battling depression. Humble pie, new perception, broken chains in the desert. The fifth year it was accepting freedoms and taking hold of confidence. Trashed workbooks, growth in motion, my ideas have value too. The sixth year it was confirmation and sprouting seeds that I had tended all along. Hallelujah, it is worth it, Jesus did know best!
Our homeschool journey didn't start with Instagram worthy days. There have been tears shed, mom convictions, and new lights cast on the whole endeavor. More than once I've worried that I've done a disservice to my children by educating them myself. But hindsight is 20/20, and as I look around me now at the boys I'm still raising, I can also look back on those times when I thought I was failing and know it was really just the discomfort of pruning our homeschool garden. The grain is separated from the chaff on the solid rock of the threshing floor. And this career of the home educating mother is one where much threshing must take place... in the hearts of mama and children alike.
As the seventh year approaches, I've taken another sweet bite of the freedom we have as home educators. I'm so excited to see where year seven leads because looking forward this year we have all of the pruning and sprouting of the years behind us confirming that we're in the right place.
We won't be checking boxes for the sake of outside approval. I won't be bottling up guilt because we do things a little differently. There will be no undue pressure for a boy to "catch up" or "sit still" or "drain the wonder out of childhood."
Instead we will be breathing deeply the warmth of learning side by side. We will explore newfound passions and revisit old favorites. We will make new friends in the pages of books and tell stories of our own that inevitably bubble over. We will keep track of our progress to encourage more hard work and we will take note of those places that we could probably brush up.
The greatest lesson I've learned so far on this home educating journey that I take into this new school year is to fill the pages of our planner with less cluttered perfection and more simple grace.