Successful Homeschooling: Your Husband Has a Vision, Too

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Matthew 8:5-9

 

This scriptural passage in its entirety goes on to tell us of how the Lord healed the servant because of the centurion’s faith.   What an amazing God.  What is also striking about this passage is the centurion’s understanding of authority and alignment.   Jesus humbly asked the centurion what he wanted Him to do.   The centurion could have given Jesus specific instruction; after all, as he states, he was accustomed to ordering people around.   BUT, he also understood his place when it came to THE head.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post for another website entitled,  “A Husband’s Role in Homeschooling.”   The post talked about being submissive—a word that even the most mature saint sometimes dreads hearing.   The sad truth is that when homeschool is the subject, it is even easier to take the reigns and push Dad to the side.  After all, for most of us as women, we commit to the research, we are the primary teachers, and we are the managers of the home.  Alignment–in homeschool?  Why, for goodness’s sake??!!  Here are a few reasons that you might want to consider.

 family in waco november 2014

 

Your husband—outside of the Lord God Almighty—is the principal partner in your plans for your family.   You did not marry the other co-op parents, nor did you marry anyone in your moms’ group (although they might give you great advice to discuss with your husband at a later time).   You two know the vision that you have for those children; why would you divide on one of the most important aspects of your family’s future—your children’s education?  Moreover, you are both accountable to one another—and to God—for what He has given you to steward.  Your fears, your anxieties, your uncertainties are all worth confiding to each other, and to the Father.  Will your testimony be that you ran toward your accountability partner, or will you have to repent for running toward someone else?

Your husband has a homeschooling vision, too.   Given the chance (lol), they will articulate it.  But here’s the proverbial kicker: his vision probably will not be in “homeschooling jargon.”   That does not mean that it has no merit; it just means that you must be a translator.   As a personal example, one of my husband’s biggest concerns is that our children are able to keep up should we ever have to place them into a traditional school.   Translation?   There are some homeschooling approaches that he would not be okay with, and that’s okay with me.   If I felt strongly enough, I could go against his will, but the risks are not worth it to me.   I imagine that limb to be lonely if it does not go as I planned, with poor results from my children and an angry husband—a husband who sacrifices along with me so that we can homeschool.

 hubby reading to youngest may 2016

 

Your husband will represent your homeschool to the outside world.  You and your husband can be totally on board and together with homeschooling, but someone has to talk to your in-laws.   It would be ideal if everyone surrounding your family was totally on board with your decision, but if you live on Earth, chances are that someone will question, you, your abilities, and/or your sanity in beginning this journey.   Not only do you and your husband need to agree, you need each other’s prayers and support.   Can he articulate the vision?  Does he understand (in layman’s terms) what is the plan so that he’s not “thrown off” by Mama?   Can He and you represent Christ in your tone with the nay-sayers, or do you need to pray over each others’ tongues?

 

So, inevitably, someone might ask, “What if my husband doesn’t want us to homeschool?”   I honestly don’t have an answer for that one.   Homeschooling for many is a calling, a deep-seated passion that will sometimes keep you awake at night, and I can imagine that it must be difficult if you don’t share a conviction to take on this journey.   My walk with the Lord tells me that if this is what the Lord has in store for your family, in His timing and in His way it will become clear to both of you how to proceed.

5 Basics to Knowing Your Role (as a Home Educating Parent)

For the sake of cohesiveness, this post should be named ‘Successful Homeschooling: Know Thy Kids.’   It is, indeed, the second of my 2-part attempt at sharing successful homeschooling tips for both parents and kids.  The part of me that is snarky and cynical chose the numbers because after all, as a blogger, numbers brings numbers, yes?

When I stepped back to see where this post was headed, it occurred to me that much of what I would list as key to knowing your children was an extension of knowing yourself.   I don’t see this as a coincidence.  Much of what our children will produce is based upon us as parents setting an environment–a stage, if you will, such that they can perform. Tweet: Much of what our children will produce is based upon us as parents setting an environment--a stage, if you will, such that they can perform.

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Being Mom or Dad is markedly different than being their teacher.   Ideally, we want our children to be loved, nurtured, and supported in any environment in which they are supervised by adults.  As our children’s church pastor says, when people hand off their child to you, they are giving you their most prized possession (regardless of its current condition—my words, not hers).   Realistically, however, no one will ever love and care for that child the way you do—even with the best of intentions.  You are anointed to teach your children—an anointing you need to receive in Jesus’ name if you have not already.   Yet, as a teacher, that anointing might look a bit different, to include the following behaviors:

  • Understanding learning styles and what they mean for both you and each of your children—one size will not fit all
  • Regulating expectations as a student in “class” versus what is acceptable when school is not in session
  • Taking on the sole responsibility and accountability for what they learn, which might include failing them on an assignment or a class (gasp!)

I remember a homeschool blogging friend writing about balling up a piece of her daughter’s work and throwing it in the trash.  Reading the post, the heart of a mother immediately sympathized with this child as I thought about my own children and the aftermath of throwing away something they created.  The teacher’s heart, however, understood where this mom was coming from: there is a standard of excellence in this home, and less than your best will not be tolerated.

 runoff collage spring 2016

Everything will not be fun.   There are so many posts within the homeschooling community that depict an environment where kids are having so much fun until they hate that school ever has to stop.   And they all presume to teach you how to develop that kind of environment in your home, too.   It sounds lovely.   There is just one problem: it’s a lie.   If it were the truth, the equal number of memes that suggest math is evil, or that suggest we as homeschooling families must put on a certain “face” for family and friends, would not exist.  Moreover, the impact of such a lie is that there are scores of families who abandon homeschooling because they are convinced when they have bad days that they are not doing something right.   The truth is that it is as ludicrous to think that your children will always have fun as it is to think that you will dance through every single aspect of your life.   Lest we forget, comfort does not breed comforters.   Perseverance through hard times and determination are good lessons to learn, too.

They will get it.   I can remember a season of angst in which I wanted our oldest to be the ‘model’ homeschooler (whatever that is).   I fretted that other kids were having a much richer experience than we were, and I would change our whole lesson plan based upon someone else’s enthusiasm about what was happening in their home.   Years later, I now realize that this is a homeschool rite of passage; many parents I know get caught up, especially with oldest children, in trying to develop the kid who cures cancer or finds a remedy for the common cold.   Having homeschooled for a minute now, I tell moms of littles all the time to not fret if their kids don’t read by the age of 4, or understand certain math concepts by the age of 6.   What is key at that age is not to frustrate a child and give the devil any foothole to introduce low self-esteem or confidence issues.  Sometimes we all—kids and parents alike—just need to take a breath and try again later.

They don’t have to know everything.   Our “job” as home educating parents is to create a set of experiences by which our children can learn how to learn.  Tweet: Our “job” as home educating parents is to create a set of experiences by which our children can learn how to learn. Consider the way most of us gained knowledge in a traditional school system: we learned most of what we know by rote memorization.  At later ages, when different information became more pertinent, we “cleared the path” and replaced those earlier bits of wisdom.   I conclude that this is why many of us are not smarter than a 5th grader (that’s a television game show for the unplugged who think I’m just being snarky). The other side of this coin is that there are some areas which everyone should know, and it is worth the time and effort to persist.  As a personal example, our college senior recently completed a required statistics class.  To say the least, I was anxious, knowing that if there is any area in which she struggles, it is math.  She actually “aced” that course, and in conversation with her professor, she learned at least a part of the reason why: she knows her math facts—well.   Many children don’t.

halle in class sewing oct 2014

You bring you everywhere you go.   I alluded to the fact earlier that I would change homeschooling methods on a slight whim once I heard of something that was going stupendously well for someone else.   I had to learn to use myself as an instrument, and to celebrate our uniqueness as a family.   Just as you have been anointed by God to teach your children, your children have an anointing, too: to love and honor you.   Their hearts are with you, whether you are a drill sergeant in your teaching style, or captain of crunchy, or just plain confused.  Their desire, even when it does not look much like it, is to please you.  Love on them, encourage them, and lean on them; you need it as much as they do, and in doing so, you model for them how to operate as a unit—a home/school, homeschool unit.

Our 2016 Spring Garden

A trip home to help an ailing relative, a trip to pick up a college student, a high school prom, and an upcoming dance recital?   NO WONDER I am just now returning to blog!!   We still have about two weeks to go before we settle into a summer norm–as if there really is such a thing.   But at least there is the garden to relieve stress and usher in a spirit of peace amidst the household chaos.  I would love to share with you what is happening this year.

With all the rain we have had this year in our area, moisture retention has not been a major problem, but this mulch insures that what water we have won’t evaporate too soon.  Plus, it smells sooooo earthy and makes the completed garden look like the work of a true professional.

0512161932-1Our kale and red cabbage are holdovers from the raised bed winter garden.  No worries–they will be eaten really soon.

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Because there was not much of a winter here (translation: summer bugs will be in abundance), our peppers picked up right where they left off.

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Our one point of possible trepidation is our eggplant plant.  We had such a wonderful harvest on last year until I took the poor thing for granted.   This year, it, too, tried to pick up where it left off.   After our initial 1-2 eggplant, which we tithed to my MIL, all the other eggplant began to yellow.   So, I have had to go back to school on watering, fertilization, and pruning.   At worst, I am the only person in our home who enjoys this harvest, so we will not have lost much.  Yet, I sure would hate to lose it over my own neglect.

In the meantime, our cup runneth over–with mint, that is.   Time for lots of sharing, lots of herb drying, and reflections over my MIL’s sweet tea.

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We have new entrants into the garden as well–cucumbers, okra, and corn.

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So, with that professional-looking mulch that I was speaking of earlier, we might have ourselves an awesome harvest this year!!

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Finally, for the first time, we have the neatest of treats–our blueberries are blossoming!

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Think gardening isn’t your “thing?”   Read more about gardening and its connectivity to successful homeschooling!!

Gardening as Homeschool Enrichment

 

Your Garden Is an Outdoor Classroom

 

Sensory Garden: Why Gardening Helps Emotional Grounding and Sensory Integration

If You Lived When There was Slavery in America…

 

Those outside of the homeschool community sometimes consider us weird or goofy.  Quite honestly,  I consider myself pretty cool, but I get it.  We are creatures of habit–unconventional habits.  When you are constantly together, as one example, your first thought rarely involves dropping your child off somewhere while you do your own thing.   Likewise, you don’t think in terms of field trip boundaries, or that point when having Mom and Dad join the class is no longer considered cool.   Maybe that’s just my house.   So I’m sure we redefined the term ‘helicopter parent’ when we decided to tag along with our son on his college group’s tour.   Our motives were pure, however: the youngest was too little to remember our original plantation tour, and how could we say “no” to charbroiled oysters in the Big Easy?

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Maybe we anticipated the food a bit too much.   Somehow, we didn’t fully comprehend the weather report, stating that it would be unseasonably cold, and rainy with flash flood warnings.

But, we wade on.

Tours of plantation life are a mixed bag for me personally.   Generally speaking, there is the constant focus on the opulence of the plantation owner (forgive the fuzzy pictures–I was still learning how to work that camera) and an apologist perspective on slavery, as in, “Well, they were kind to their slaves.”   I, too, find myself amazed at the wealth and grandeur of these old southern mansions.   But I also recognize that people who looked like me were the ones who generated this wealth–with little to show for their work outside of the physical and emotional scars.

The Whitney Plantation is a unique experience, if only because the every day existence is told through the eyes and words of the children who lived in slavery.

Up for a mini-tour?  Here we go!

welcome to the whitney

This plantation, once 1500 acres,  is still a sprawling 250-acre microcosm of what was 150+ years ago.

whitney plantation 16

Once an indigo plantation, this plot became most valuable once the son of the original owner converted the crops to sugar.    Below  is a sugar cane vat, used for boiling, filtering, and producing unrefined sugar.   As I mentioned before, this was the primary source of the plantation’s wealth, and a dangerous working condition for the slaves involved in its processing.

sugar cane vat image from http://www.whitneyplantation.com/photo-gallery.html
sugar cane vat image from http://www.whitneyplantation.com/photo-gallery.html

 

And how is this for  working from home?

working from home

There was everyday life, from work, to worship, to rest.

everyday life in the slave quarters 2

This particular tour does a good job of depicting what was original to the plantation and what items were common to slavery, but not to this plantation.   Take, for example, this jail for would-be escapees.   It was actually about the size of a train car, with (supposedly) space for twelve.   Traveling with a group that included several basketball players, the crowded conditions became quickly obvious.  You can see a view from the front, and then from the rear.

slave jail from front and rear

(Did I mention it rained)?

As I mentioned before, these tours often focus on how elaborate the owner’s homes are–the custom drapes and wallpapers, the hand-carved furnishings and the many rooms and amenities made to keep the owners comfortable.   The main house of the Whitney plantation was relatively plain; we were told that the daughter-in-law of the original owner (who became the owner once the owner and his son passed) was a business woman to her heart.   She cared far more about the land making money than she cared about personal comforts.   We didn’t even have electricity walking through the house ( so no pictures as flash photography was not allowed)!   The garden view from the parlor, however,  is probably splendid at the right time of year.  What we saw looked more like a rice field…underwater.

back and garden view of the main house

Perhaps the most impactful story was the one that the Whitney plantation does not tell.   You hear it in reminiscing over the books you’ve read while you view the memorial of the Middle Passage.

depiction of the middle passage 1

You hear it when you see the Angel’s Field and reflect upon the numbers of babies who did not survive this horrific life.

field of angels 1

You hear it when you see the names etched in a memorial wall–rows and rows of first names (the only child with a last name was the child born of the owner’s family and a young slave)–and realize that there were more than 300 children recorded as having lived on the plantation.

whitney plantation 4

The last image I saw came to me almost as a mandate.   It symbolizes everything I’ve tried to do in these last 13 years.

leaving the whitney

You can read more about the Whitney Plantation here.   However, if you are able, I would strongly recommend touring this unique perspective on the life of a slave.   It is an unforgettable experience.

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