It Won’t All Stick
As I’ve entered my 10th year homeschooling this Fall, I wanted to send some encouragement your way to those of you who are just starting out, or who have only been homeschooling for a short while.
Homeschooling families often experience wells of internal pressure, wondering, “how will we complete all of this?” The pressure can also be external as well-meaning family and friends express concern over learning gaps (and socialization). This pressure can positively wreck a new homeschooling family’s peace of mind and drift their course off path if sharp enough.
I need to let you know that of all the sticky notes of information that we put before our children during their homeschool years only some will stick and crinkle with age, most won’t remain on the mirror.
Homeschooling quickly becomes a lifestyle, and you begin to think less and less of ‘school-lessons’ and instead, just ‘life’ as the years press on. Diligence in academics (over recalling facts), consistency in character-building, perseverance in physical training, fellowship with peers and family, extracurricular experiences, and a growing faith in God create a solid and holistic soul.
Consider examples from my family. I have students who are flustered by a lot of math yet push through the discomfort to do about 10-15 minutes per day, even in the summer. It is this diligent character that I want to stick. Stories stick and so it is the moral lessons that are built upon living books that will stand the test of time. It is the routine and habit of moving our bodies along with the seasons (lake swimming, hiking, etc.) that will reach into their adulthood and make a difference. And the community that is built with regular church attendance and the faith that is built as we face challenges and are witness to God’s love, care, correction, and goodness that we want to see still sticking as time goes on.
Swap out a few activities and your family is just like mine. Perhaps you have not considered yourself to be nurturing a whole person because these things don’t tick off provincial learning outcomes. The majority of your homeschooling role is to bolster the person and celebrate the sum of the whole, not just complete the small academic portion of each individual. Even during difficult seasons where one may feel that schooling falls by the wayside, there is still forward motion.
The human brain is curious and driven to keep learning and parents hold the rudder, guiding our young children on what to learn. But they will inevitably be the ones to keep the boat going. And whether a lackadaisical summer-day row, a fever-pitch race, or a leak in the boat, every bit is momentum towards who they will become. We have a grand privilege to watch every part of it and God uses it all including our persistent work and love.
The sticky notes that stick? Those are the glimpses of the people they are becoming. The student may forget the dates of past wars, or might not remember how to solve quadratic equations, but does any of this matter in the formation of a human being who is developing to reflect God’s glory? Also, those sticky notes that stick contains their gifts, talents, and aspirations; they will remain and likely blossom into something beautiful over time. Feed and nurture those! As you look back, the crinkly and aged yellow paper that is still on the mirror were previews to who they are becoming. We will never get to all the read-alouds, or every science lab, but we can reorient our expectations to provide security and love to the growing immortal soul in front of us.
“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? G.K. Chesterton
My name is Sarah Mast and I homeschool my two kids in Ft. Langley, BC. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the community gained, and I volunteer with a local support group to help foster that and connect others. My family loves the outdoors and traveling, and our weekends include skiing, swimming, hiking, or biking depending on the season. I found Classical Education Books at a conference and noticed their well-curated selection of children’s books. I kept tabs on their collection of the classics and hard-to-find books and reached out. Now I get to help customers hone their collections, and work on the ever-growing inventory here at CEB!