He walks up to me; so much man packed into that eleven year old body, and says, “Mom, can you get me some books about finances and money management? I want to study this stuff now, while I have time, so that when I’m older I can just apply the stuff. I know when I’m older I’ll want to be learning about other things.”
Later on in the day his sibling saddles up to me and asks if she can make dinner.
Yesterday, two of them spent an hour making muffins together, ‘opera singing’ the entire time, while I diced peppers in the other room. They even cleaned up. Miracle.
Sometimes, I wonder how we got here.
Because there have been so many grueling days on this journey, so many questions and fears in the process of building a family. I’ve done so much wrong.
And, when it comes to homeschooling, really, I am a failure.
I just don’t really jive with schooling (even in the home) anymore. I think what works for us about *homeschooling* is that there’s really nothing school about it. More accurately, we’re *home-homing*.
We just do stuff together in this safe and wonderful and messy place called home.
I am not the only teacher and the children are not the only students. Though, as the parent I do have a position of authority, one of my main roles in our family’s development is that of fellow student.
Some stories, to explain:
As Duke launches into new realms of interest in music, composition, art, and politics, I join him, finding books and resources that are interesting to both of us. We share the learning in common as we figure out how to use Adobe Photoshop, dive into Richard Mayberry’s fantastic books about economics and history, or study what it is to worship God in song.
The other day I couldn’t stop chuckling, as, on the way to the library the big kids peppered Ben and I with questions about politics. The 45 minute drive unleashed a civics 101 course completely at the urging of the children. To be honest, I think I had been thinking about an ugly building before they brought up the topic. But then I found myself answering question after question till the itch was satisfied. I didn’t impose on them knowledge that was irrelevant to their need at the moment. They simply saw election signs and wanted insight into their environment; the motivation was theirs.
As Dorian sets to work on another plane model, writes the next edition of his monthly newspaper, bakes up a giant batch of fresh granola, or writes his own variation of our national anthem, I join him. We usually discuss the pros and cons of this or that while I wash the dishes. He recently asked me to look for books about Christian pilots, two themes that are very important for him. I find one and end up reading it myself. I couldn’t put it down. And it’s a book I never would have read had my son not brought it to my attention.
Sunny recently got into soap carving. I thought it would be the death of me, finding those soap shavings everywhere, but I did end up surviving. She has also listened to the unabridged audio book “Pride and Prejudice” many times. She loves it, and imitates the voices, much to our dinner-time amusement. So now, Ben and I and the big kids are watching the BBC series a bit at a time, loving it. Oh, Mr. Darcy…
I tell these little stories only to illustrate how interesting ‘little’ people are and that the journey of learning is awesome when we join them on it. Learning is a joyous process when the boxes are thrown out; there’s no ‘teeth-pulling’ in the process.
I think *home-homing* works so well for us, because I totally suck at caring for curriculum and rigidness in my own learning process. I am a terrible ‘teacher’ and am not interested in investing a lot of life energy into paper-work processes and textbooks that I find generally unsatisfying. I want to touch real stuff and the kids do to, so we’ve got a lot in common when it comes to learning.
I think as parents we are all wired differently, and so our educational expression will look different, but the point I’m really trying to make is that we have freedom in this process.
That’s how we grow.