Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Beginning Again

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking before a group of both veteran and new homeschool mothers (and one dad) at an end-of-year celebration. For the first time I found myself in both categories; I've recently graduated my first child and I am beginning the journey all over again with my four year old daughter.

I am always thankful for the opportunity to share the trials and triumphs that come from over 19 years of parenting and homeschooling, but now that I'm looking down the road at another 13 years of home education, I think I probably benefit more from the nervous excitement and energy of new homeschool parents than anything they might glean from my experiences. The sparkle of hope and eager anticipation in their eyes rekindle the fire in my own heart to continue to homeschool - even as my words are attempting to encourage them to begin.

Thankfully, there are many other veteran homeschool mothers nudging us forward to begin (or continue) to educate our own. Anne at Holy Experience provides an excellent road map to two new homeschoolers who sought her wisdom and advice. Here's how Anne suggests beginning the journey into Homeschooling:

Authentically. Live your life. Invite your children to join you! Read together. Pray together. Sing together. Work, bake, garden, chore, clean, sew, fix, build together. Don't fabricate artificial demarcation lines between schooling and living. Live a one-piece life. Live holistically.

Joyfully. Explore! Be awed by His World! Restore Wonder! Be a creative, thinking, exuberant person who spills with the joy of learning. Your zest for learning and life will be contagious--the children will catch it!

Curiously.Read, read, read. Fill the house with library books. Play classical music. Post the art of the masters about the house. Go for walks in the woods. Learn a new language, a new culture, a new poem. Everyday set out to discover again, and again, and again. The whole earth is full of His glory! Go seek His face...

Consistently. Consistently read. Consistently pray. Consistently keep the routine. Consistently live an everyday liturgy. Children thrive in routine. So do households. Have hardstops: times that you fully stop to pray, to read, to write. Regardless of what isn't done, what isn't finished. Make a full stop, do the needful thing, then return to meals, laundry, household management. Consistently be consistent.

That's all.

The curriculum doesn't really matter, so much. Use what works for you, how He leads you.Just make it part of your real life, make it a joy, make it all a discovery, and prayerfully make it consistent.

As a mother who is beginning again, the milestones Anne has laid out ring true to my weary veteran heart.

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