Life or Homeschool Life

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I’m in another one of my deep thoughts time.  Not sure I’ll air it all here, but like usual, fair warning. lol

That’s what I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about lately, life.  But as I was thinking of a title I thought Life, or do we classify our lives as Homeschool Life?  We homeschool, and we enjoy it a lot, but I don’t know that I want to classify everything in my life as homeschooling or ‘learning’.  Kind of takes the fun out of lots of things.  If I go somewhere and expect my children to write a report on it afterward, I just changed a fun family outing to ‘school’.  And for my children, I just turned them off completely.  But if we just enjoy our lives, doing things together, we are all constantly learning, not just the kids, and to me that’s just life.  I think I’m getting tired of calling our family a homeschool family.  It seems to take the emphasis off of family and puts it on the homeschooling part.  But homeschooling is just part of what we do.  We learn all the time, but the actual book learning, that needs to be done for kids to go to college or to get a job, we happen to do that schooling at home.  But I don’t think that defines our lives.  I think if I had to put an a word (or words) before the word life, I would like it to be ‘living for the Lord life’ (though I guess that doesn’t sound right, but you get the idea 😉 ).  I don’t really want to be known as the homeschool family, I want to be known as the family who loves the Lord and tries to live for Him in all we do (and don’t do).  And homeschooling is just one of the things we happen to do.  I want  my kids to do more and learn more, but the minute I slap the word ‘school or learning’ on it, forget it, all interest is lost.  Oh, they’ll still do it because we told them too, but the desire, the interest, the love of it is lost.  Just because I had to try and turn it into some big lesson, sigh.

My son has been growing in the Lord this summer by leaps and bounds, and we haven’t had any scheduled bible time all summer.  We talk a lot about the Lord and His Word, but in a very impromptu settings.  I use to think this was a ‘bad’ thing, but I can see with my son it has helped greatly.  He has also been reading and writing all summer.  Something I’ve tried to force him to do for many summers, only to get to both of us burned out.  But this summer I didn’t try to make him do anything.  But in his growth in the Lord, he’s been reading his bible more and writing out verses more.  All without me assigning anything or turning it into a lesson.  We answered his questions, gave him the tools he needed (i.e. a bible, cards for writing out his verses etc…) and left him alone, and look what’s happened.

And my daughter has always loved art, but I turned it into this big ‘school’ thing and took the desire right out of her.  I’ve tried to get her to start up again, pushing this or that, and it’s all just failed.  So finally I stopped.  She asked me if she had to do crafts and such and I said no, she didn’t have to.  To have a hobby is fun, but it’s not necessary, and that the Lord would show her the things He has for her, and that was it.  I left it, didn’t talk about it again, and didn’t push anything.  You know what, she’s been coloring and drawing for weeks now, and even asked for some art things for her birthday!

So why is all of this on my mind?  Well today is August 1st, and it’s the time that I start looking at our school schedule, and start deciding how things are going to go this year.  And though we took the summer off, the kids have learned more than I could imagine.  Did they learn more about academics?  Well, yes and no, but they learned about life and living for the Lord.  Not homeschool life, but life.  And for that I am blessed.  I am blessed that the Lord has shown me what works for our family.  Oh, we will still do the books this year.  I know a lot of this sounds like unschooling, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I have a highschooler and a junior higher, and books, certain subjects and grades are just plain necessary.  There are just some things my kids will have to do because they have to.  My husband doesn’t always like going to work, but he does because he has to.  And our children need to learn that.  And I won’t be short changing them by letting them slide through highschool, then not have enough credits if they want to go to college.  So we will be doing subjects and schooling, just like other families do, we just choose to do it at home.  But I’m also going to relax a bit, and not try to make everything this year a big school project.  Get the book work done, and allow them to enjoy the things they enjoy.  Will I count those things as credits?  Yep, if they do them consistently and spend a good amount of time on them, I will.  But I won’t be telling them to do those things to get a credit.  I won’t be turning it into another school subject.  I’ll let them do what they enjoy, and not try to make our family a homeschool family.  But allow our family to be a family who does school at home.  I know it sounds the same, but to me there is a difference.

So, like I said before, I am starting on the journey of scheduling our school year, and this year will be completely different for us.  With Paul’s schedule we won’t have a routine in the sense of every Monday we do this, every Tuesday we do that.  Because sometimes we’ll do work on Mondays and sometimes we won’t.  So I need to work out a schedule that has us doing ‘this’ on Day 1 and ‘that’ on Day 2, etc…  But it’s just trying to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, or the kids forget where they are on subjects.  My kids work pretty independently at this age of their lives, so I need to find out what works for them on keeping them on track.  I think for Sarah a simple schedule of Day 1 is this, Day 2 is that and she’ll be able to figure out when day 1 is etc…  I think for Paulie my schedule might have to be more detailed, and yet I don’t know how to make it more detailed (i.e. helping him to know what is day 1, what is day 2) without knowing Paul’s schedule.  So am I going to have to work on a schedule for him every week?  Not sure yet.  One of the many unknowns of our upcoming school year.

It’s funny, last spring, before Paul started his new job, I was all relaxed knowing that our curriculum had stayed the same this year.  We are going into our 9th year of schooling at home at we have worked out a lot of the kinks already (though I’m sure there are still more ahead, which is life).  And because there was no curriculum change, that we had been doing this for so long, there was no stress, no major changes to deal with, I thought we would just flow along like we had been.  And though there still hasn’t been any curriculum changes, there has been a major life change, so I guess the ‘just flowing along’ part is gone.  But I am blessed that we are happy with our curriculum and that I don’t have to deal with learning a new curriculum along with this whole life change.  But the Lord knew even if I didn’t and He knew what we needed to make it through this transition.  The Lord sure knows what He’s doing, doesn’t He?

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