Here we are midway through the year and it’s time to look back, to assess and take stock of how things are going.
In January of this year, I decided to have a Sabbath period.? I called it a Sabbath year but later changed it to a ‘Sabbath Season‘…I was content to take up to a year but didn’t want to be bound by that.
The point of this Sabbath Season was to not strive. Not to plan. Not to be so consumed by homeschooling. Not to feel so driven most of the time but to relax in Him. To focus on relationships. I knew that this should/could be the way of learning-at-home but it wasn’t reality for me. Not really.
So, where are we now six months later? What have we been doing? Surely we haven’t just been sleeping in late each day and doing nothing? No. As I had posted? we really have been focusing on the 3 R’s – Rest, Relationship and Refreshment.
Yes we?ve been moving interstate, having visitors stay with us and going away for softball trips but we’ve also been doing some things that could/should/would be classified as lessons.
How is this different to what we were doing last year when I thought that God was directing our home? Well, it’s the same but different. The change is in *me*. I didn’t realize exactly how many layers of self I had wrapped up in homeschooling- but there’s a few. A few years ago, I thought I had given it all over to God…that He could do what He wanted with me and that I had died to self and let go of my ideals. And I did do that. However, I believe that there were still parts of it, my goals that had to be given over to God. I’m learning at a deeper level what He means when He says to commit our ways to Him.
So far this year, we have read history, science, done math’s and English, watched many movies and had great discussions on the nature of man, practiced real life skills, trained our physical bodies, and implemented new chores and routines. But more than that, we have spent more time in God’s word- reading, studying…immersing ourselves in Him.
It’s not that we have stopped learning how to write or spell or do math’s…rather that I don’t plan. We simply pick up the lesson where we left off and if this means that we don’t do math’s for 2 or 3 weeks then so be it!? It isn’t going anywhere and we’ll get back to it one day. Meanwhile, there are other things for us to learn or do.
I have been pleasantly surprised at how much my children have been able to achieve independently WHEN THEY ARE READY. Oh, I used to try and have them read this and that…to do this report and that essay…but it was a bit of a slog. Now I see that as they are ready, (and I’m watching all the time to see when the time is right) they are able to go through 3 -4 times the amount of work that I could have ‘taught’ them. But the added bonus is that they have done it themselves and so they taste success in doing something themselves.
So where to from here? I’ve often said that learning-at-home is a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe if I only had the one or two children at home I could do it with 100% focus but I don’t- I have four beautiful children. This means that it is truly a marathon…the long haul. It has to be a lifestyle for it to be sustainable (for us). This means that I approach the educating of our children a little differently to someone who is homeschooling for a year or so or until high school. This is our 9th year…and I have approximately another 7-8 years before my youngest son finishes yr 12. It isn’t about ‘resting’ and not planning for another 8 years. It’s about not being consumed by that planning. It’s about truly trusting in Him and commiting my way to Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.? Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.? For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I’ve come to learn that this Sabbath Season isn’t meant to be just for a month or so, for me. Rather it is to be the way we live for now, until the Lord directs us differently. This will come too, I think as there is a time for work and a time for rest. But on a much smaller scale, I’m even finding this to be true WITHIN our Sabbath Season. There is a time to focus on spelling, on math’s, on history…but I don’t need to focus on them every day, every week, every month. Seasons – what a gift from God!
When I wake in the morning are my thoughts about curricula, lessons or history or are they on the Lord and how I can best serve Him this day?
Oh, I think that others such as Marilyn Howshall and Robin Sampson say all this much more eloquently and concisely than I do…but I have to speak from my own experience.