Homeschooling: It’s Not About Academics

Yes, I have been (notably?) absent from my blog in these last couple of weeks.

Actually, I am shocked that I have been able to keep up as much as I have as we are in the midst of our craziest summer yet. As I type, we are on our 7th family trip in 2-1/2 months. It has been a whirlwind tour across these states to say the least, and I have a new-found level of respect and admiration for people who roadschool. Perhaps, though, the expectations are a bit different when life on the road is the norm versus the exception.

Why so many trips, you ask? It is all good, which is why I am not complaining, but instead, just confessing my near-exhaustive state.

Our younger two have danced their way into summer intensives and performances all across the southern and southwestern states.

Our oldest graduated from college, which then brings me to the point of our latest trek: she has totally left the nest, moving into her own series of firsts, as in first “real” job, first post-college new city, first apartment, and first car.

 

 

As she signed the lease for her  new apartment, she gave me a huge hug which needed no words, but if I were to put words to the moment, it would sound something like this:

Her: “Mom, can you believe it?!?!?! I did it!! I’m here!!”

Me: “I am so very proud of you.”

In that moment, a thought struck me like a bolt of lightening: homeschooling is not about the academics. This is what it’s about.

Please understand that I am not speaking against academic rigor. Setting high expectations and holding our children accountable to them accomplishes several things:

  • it helps them understand that life will not always be easy
  • it teaches them to push through more difficult challenges
  • it allows them to feel the pride and pleasure of accomplishing hard tasks
  • it teaches them to rise above what society expects of them
  • it emphasizes learning as its own reward

But, at the end of the day, as it is so often said, no one will expect our children to complete algebraic equations on a daily basis (unless teaching algebra). They will not have to diagram sentences (most kids, and indeed, many parents, won’t know what that means, anyway). Technology is such that we now have to make conscious choices to educate our children in skills that were basic learning and living for us, like telling time from an analog watch/clock, balancing a checkbook or reading a map.

As the time comes quickly for us to turn homeward, I think that all of her education could not be whittled down to a set of books, even living books (Gasp!). Her education was really about how to live her life.

It’s about God dependency and self sufficiency.

It’s about weathering storms and understanding that “adulting” is not easy.

It’s about being stretched and understanding that discomfort and uncertainty are tools for growth.

 

 

She now calls home this beautiful little city on a hill. I cannot help but think that her location is prophetic.

Matthew 5:14–“You are the light of the world. A town

built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

So, during our long drive, we have talked about life as women in Christ. We have talked about goals and dreams and plans. Primarily for me, I have shared more honestly than ever about my life when I was in her season, and not just the accomplishments. I have shared the difficult moments, the poor choices, the places where I made my own bed hard. Shame on me if I waste those lessons in trying to appear perfect before the next generation.

As a parent, I am continuously fading into the background. After all, my job is to point and shoot.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Psalm 127:4

As I shared with a friend earlier, letting go is difficult under any circumstance, but I praise God for carrying us both through it all.

 

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