At a time when scores of parents are making a decision about how to educate their children on next year, there is a certain beauty to the marketing of homeschooling as an option. I don’t just mean the corporate marketing; I mean the way that homeschool is marketed as a collective entity—parents, associations, curriculum publishers, etc. There are always kids playing, running, laughing, and doing fun things. The homes are immaculate, filled with the technological advances and/or the STEM kit for the will-be scientist or mathematician (because is there any other worthy career path?), and mid-day there is a break so that everyone can drink green tea and enjoy a plate full of colors before running off to clean the entire house again before the next homeschool day.
That does not even begin to cover the roadschooling/ RV-ing homeschool families, or the ones who live in exotic overseas locations.
The only problem with such an image is that, for the majority of homeschoolers I know, this image—or at least parts of it—is as far from us as east is to west. Many times, homeschooling is about what you do in the bliss of everyday moments, and how you relate to one another when there is no particular thing to do and no particular place to go.
For sure, the month of March found us trekking around Texas and Oklahoma. It was spring break for one kid, and then spring break for another. Our daughter took off one week, ending that week by traveling to pick up her brother.
We spent a little time at the beach.
Of course, we gardened, taking advantage of the additional hands that help make light work.
We were able to enjoy each other’s company.
We hit the road again for our daughter’s dance convention, son in tow. We dropped him back off at school after she had an amazing weekend, and we were home and back after it.
A picture here, a picture there, but all-in-all, nothing extremely exciting to blog about.
I take nothing away from those who are able to constantly create fun while educating their kids; how I would love to be able to jump into an RV and make life, wherever it exists that day, the source of our learning. But over these 15 years, I can also appreciate the beauty in everyday moments, even in boredom. Miss Charlotte Mason would refer to boredom by its more appropriate term, “masterly inactivity.” Basically, it is the time your kids spend when you have nothing formally structured for them to do. It sparks imagination and creativity.
When the oldest was bored, she picked up sewing.
Our son’s boredom led him, at one time, to try and learn Kiswahili.
Our youngest daughter’s boredom led to several business ventures—bracelets, hair oils, and lip glosses. More recently, she even learned to use natural products to bleach her hair.
The months of April, May, June, and July represent our heavy travel season—I have stopped fighting the frustration over how much time we are away, and I have learned to embrace that we are traveling for good reasons. Not once have we had to drive to a hospital or funeral home, but instead, we are helping them build a future. Is it a change from the everyday moment? You better believe it, complete with more amazing pictures. But if the Lord says the same, August will find three of us back here, grinding once again.
So as you are considering home education as a possible choice when the new school year arrives, look at all those beautifully staged pictures as possibilities—the things you might get to do, the trips you might take, the way your house might look occasionally, and the career options your child might choose. But also recognize that much of your time will be spent around tables or in the floor, or maybe in the backyard. Learn to relish that time. Learn to take joy in those laughs, that monotony, those ordinary moments. Those become lasting memories, too.