My blog posts, or lack thereof, are perhaps reflective of what our lives have been as of late. Rather than offer an extended apology, I will simply trust that those who have been faithful subscribers all these years are still here, and the Lord is leading those who need encouragement to this little corner.
We began our competitive dance season this weekend with an out-of-town convention. It was, shall we say, a character-building weekend, to say the least, and very insightful. I was sharing with another parent that I wish our children did not have to endure disappointments, but of course, when would growth happen if life consisted of only “yes” answers?
Homeschooling is by its very nature sheltering and potentially over-protective. There are a vast array of articles that boast of how homeschool “shields” children from a fallen world, even suggesting that homeschooling is somehow a road to salvation (no, it is not, in case you were wondering). But, with the looooonnnng amounts of time that I had between dance numbers, and when I was not thinking of myself as a parental failure for not teaching my baby that it is a cold world out there, I snapped back by remembering what this homeschool journey has meant to our family.
- The kids are able to concentrate on their passions. As our kids left the nest, so to speak, we made sure that they were well prepared for the future. Yet, because of the convenience and flexibility of homeschooling, we were free to schedule schoolwork around whatever was most meaningful for them at the time. They could participate in programs and attend venues that would be problematic for most kids in traditional school systems. Also, because of that same protective nature of homeschooling, we were somewhat liberated from having to align ourselves with what the kids should do, and instead support them even in non-traditional paths.
- We have concentrated community to help us educate our kids. If you Google “homeschool memes,” you will find all manners of humor regarding women who want to have curriculum discussions the way other couples have pillow-talk, or the idea that several hundred books do spark joy. Though the jokes might be excessive, or even offensive, the message is clear: homeschooling parents are the one audience I have found that is consistently tuned in to talking about children’s education. I love the fact that I have friends–real friends–who are traveling this same journey and can talk at length about lesson plans, websites, and all things homeschool, whether at 4 a.m. or 4 p.m. (And yes, they can also talk about self-care–lol).
- There is quality time to instill our values. I have heard that the average working parent spends 37 minutes of uninterrupted time with children per day. The statistic is obviously open for debate, and based upon many factors, but the primary factor is an average of where and how families–both as individuals and as a collective unit–spend their time. Additionally, because of the advent and appeal of television and video, this is a generation whose values will be shaped as much by the media as by what happens within the home. Again, homeschooling alone does not totally shield or save, but with theoretically more time with our children, we have more opportunity.
The back end of this story is such a testimony until I could not end this post without sharing. After the debacle that began the weekend, our youngest spent much of the weekend trying to pick herself up from the ashes, and by Sunday afternoon, she was prepared to put as much distance between herself and the convention as possible. On the way home, we received a call. She received two awards, including one that allowed her to return to another convention at no charge. Because we strive to teach our kids how to apply the Word of God, I reminded her about Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Corinthians 2:9. The lesson may or may not resonate immediately, but it is yet another chance to instill our values, and for that, I could not be more thankful.