Completely unrelated photo from a field trip this month. Just thought it was pretty!
I have long desired to have the opportunity to homeschool my children, but God has clearly said NO (perhaps He is really saying “wait”, but only time will tell…). The irony of this is that both of my husband’s siblings homeschool their children and my own sister homeschools her own. To further the irony, out of all of them, I am the only one who was actually homeschooled! I was homeschooled from seventh grade through graduation. When I met and married my husband, we didn’t really discuss education plans for future children, though if we did, I probably didn’t really have an opinion. Honestly, I was so head over heels for him that I would have moved to Timbuktu if he said so (and I still love him that much!). Fortunately, he was clear in informing me that he never wanted to live anywhere other than Texas…but I digress.
This desire has been on my heart for a long time, and I’ve spent a lot of time praying about it – that God would somehow change hearts so that I can do it. However, I sometimes wonder what I’m really desiring – a chance to teach my children or just something other than what I have right now?
A few months ago as I was praying about this (or rather, complaining to God about it), I could clearly hear God speak. Not an audible voice, but a clear voice inside my mind:
Me: O Lord, please let me homeschool!
Voice: WHY do you want to be able to homeschool?
Me: I want to be able to teach my children, Lord! Is that not a good desire?
Voice: Then teach your children.
Me: What? I asked to be able to homeschool my kids…oh, wait.
After that brief exchange, I remembered what is often said “You are your child’s first teacher“. Yes, I had them with me for the first five or so years, and I was their first teacher. My role as their teacher didn’t end just because they have now started attending school. I began to be convicted that I had neglected this responsibility. That snarky attitude that my son has developed? It is not just from the influence of kids at school. It is my responsibility to teach him how to interact with others and respect those in authority. The violence and disregard for human life that has become evident in their imaginative play? I need to consider how they are spending their time after school each day – who let them have so much exposure to media that promotes those ideas? I wish I could say that I immediately came up with a plan and began to address issues I noticed in my parenting. Instead, I’ve spent most of the time making a plan. I’ve made a few changes here and there, but nothing of really to speak.
I’m not sure who first introduced me to Charlotte Mason, but I was quickly enamored with her ideas. I mean, who cannot love a woman who emphasized reading books, spending time in nature, and keeping journals??? I searched high and low for someone who had walked the path before me – someone who had taken Miss Mason’s ideas and applied them to their life, with kids attending the local public school (that does not follow CM principles). I struggled with what I should do, and focused on gathering information rather than taking any real steps.
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the Charlotte Mason Boot Camp (CMBC) that Brandy Vencel from Afterthoughts runs a couple times a year. At first, I worried about how it would go since I’m not a real “homeschooler”. However, it gave me a good introduction to Miss Mason, and each week has focused on key areas of her methods and principles. It was the first time I’ve read large chunks of her writing. I began to understand what her ideas and principles really mean, and it’s given me a chance to figure out what changes I need to make with my children. I am so thankful that I had a chance to complete CMBC, and I’m looking forward to studying Miss Mason’s 20 Principles further with my CMBC group this summer.
I’m still figuring out exactly what this looks like for us, but I can now say that I am home educating my children…but not homeschooling. I hope I can share more about what this looks like – my plans as well as how it actually works out – sometime soon!
From Rachael: Welcome, sweet sister in all kinds of ways. I enjoy what you write, and look forward to reading more!