It's been a process. A process of committing this decision completely to God and letting go in the areas that I've needed to let go, in order to meet the individual needs of each child best – in order to rip apart that box I try to fit them into. And what I have found outside the four stale walls of conformity (to one another, to rigidity or someone else's standards) is simply joy.
I had imagined every day to be joyous, honestly. But, they haven't been. I haven't dare taken for granted the gift of our home education, but I've questioned it. For a second – here or there. Then breathed deep, satisfaction and gratitude.
The reality is, there is pruning that takes place for such a decision as this – in eliminating all the joy-stealers. And there is brokenness, where minds and hearts need to be re-set. One has to expect the unexpected. But there is growth. And then the unexpected joys begin to surface.
Here are just ten joys we've experienced this year so far:
10 Unexpected Joys of Our Home Education:
1. We relax at the breakfast table.
2. We read aloud for up to an hour a couple of times a day. Their imaginations peak and they beg for more.
3. The children play the way a mama desires her children to play and laugh together (when they are not arguing. Yes, they do that, too). They are growing more in love, service and friendship with one another, in spite of their struggles.
4. Studying ancient history and conducting science experiments is so. much. fun.
5. To witness art in this house is beautiful.
6. The constant conversations, training and consistency, that I could only hope for a year ago, are possible and rewarding.
7. Life skills and work ethic are easily incorporated into our day and education. They all rotate planning the menu and cooking a meal, for example.
8. By daily routine, they are accepting responsibility around the house and for their education, more and more.
9. I am intimately involved in their education. I know what they comprehend and where they struggle. We can slow down, speed up and I discover just how to challenge each of them because after all, I know them.
10. They are learning! How fulfilling it is to see how naturally they learn provided the right atmosphere and resources.
We're down to the last leg of our first year and I am pleased beyond words with the outcome. We're looking ahead to next year and excited about the new resources we are planning to bring into our home.
There are many misconceptions out there and I think one of them is that if home education is right for you then it should feel joyous and rewarding everyday, from the start. But we're working in the trenches here, as parents. Parenting is where we're faced with our greatest weaknesses and are challenged to the core – and home educating is no exception. It simply allows more opportunity to be pruned and conformed to the image of Christ.
But that doesn't just happen. It requires bending low and pressing on. Eventually we will be rewarded the harvest.
And these children? They're worth it.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Joy is that deep settled confidence that God is in control of every area of my life. –Paul Sailhamer.
A Snapshot Of Our Year So Far