“Homeschooling” can look like many different things. In some countries, it is illegal. It some families, it is severely looked down upon. In some places and spheres, it is idolized. Here are three things to think about when you just can’t homeschool:
Never Take It For Granted
There are so many reasons why I could easily take homeschooling my children for granted. It’s the only thing we have never known. I have the privilege of spending my days with them and seeing the ins and outs of everything that they do. I don’t get a lot of breaks. I have been stretched a lot from growing up like an only child to having a small gaggle of crazy people to try and shepherd when we go places. Each one of my children is normal and eccentric at the same time. They all struggle with different things, push my buttons in different ways, and teach me things daily just from watching and interacting with them. I could easily take it for granted…. But, I don’t want to. I know that it is a privilege that may not last. Every moment is a gift. Every struggle and obstacle is an opportunity.
You Can “Homeschool” Even If You Can’t
Some people work full time jobs, or two part time jobs just to get by. Some people are single parents. Some people live in places where sending their children to school is compulsory. We all have different circumstances. But if you have children, you have snippets of time to homeschool. Homeschooling can happen even if it is just thirty minutes at the end of the day where you spend time with your child reading, talking, playing games, and going on adventures. Some of my favorite times growing up involved going with my parents to places that we had never been, historical and cultural, and learning new things together. I was not homeschooled in the traditional sense, but I learned so much from my parents. I watched them create and follow their passions and learned from them, following after them in so many ways. Think about what you are passionate about: handicrafts, reading, history, religion & God, cooking… and teach them. You are the best person to show them something new and you will never ever regret the extra effort it takes to plan those special moments with them.
Never Be A Purist
I know a lot of people who struggle to follow a homeschooling curriculum or method to a T. Maybe it’s because they feel like they will let themselves down and ruin their children if they don’t. Maybe it’s because they have a Type A personality or are a perfectionist. I don’t sit in judgement because I can be and am the same way. But I have learned that if I am purist about following everything that Charlotte Mason ever said about education…. I might be losing sight of what is right in front of me. No philosophy or curriculum can be everything for us and our children.
I’ll give you an example. One key element of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is that lessons should be short and sweet. 10 to 20 minutes spent in a particular subject, and then you move on. This is possible for my children in some things, but it brings on anxiety for them in other subjects. My son especially struggles with the pressure this puts on him when he is doing math. If I wanted to, I could make this a strict “Charlotte Mason said it should be this way” and force him to only take 20 minutes to do his math lesson. But it would drive a barrier between my son and myself, and so as his mother, I choose to let go of that guideline when he is doing his math lesson. Because it is only a guideline, it is not and cannot be law.
I have run myself ragged trying to meet up to my own expectations of what homeschooling should be because of being a purist, a perfectionist, and prideful. Now, I want to listen to my children and trust them to tell me when things need to change in a particular area. I have learned that if I do, I give them room to grow through the process of finding solutions together, and it strengthens our relationship.
I don’t write these things at the top of a soap box, but rather because I need these daily reminders. I pray they would be a blessing to you today. <3 Kate