Home education is tricky. Especially with my oldest son. We have no doubt this is what God called us to do for our children BUT the how – it’s becoming fuzzier as they get older and wiser. As they seek their own way. I have been quite frustrated; trying to renew my mind. Think on a new way, a better way, for my oldest. And then I found this, hidden away on my shelf; back behind a bunch of other books (It’s amazing there is one I have not read, and that I never noticed missing! lol).
I love the title. I love how it says “growing…in the freedom of Christ.” Now I admit I am not so knowledgeable when it comes to the method of unschooling. Honestly it always kind of struck me as a “by the seat of your pants” method with little structure and lots of chaos. So it was encouraging to read within these pages, what it really means. Especially to those seeking an education with Christ at the center of it all.
In the beginning we read about the dream we all may have, when we first begin this journey and how perfect and neat we imagine it to be. In reality:
“…still in her robe, trying to wipe the table free of crumbs while a sick toddler clings whining to her legs. After several false starts she finally gets all the children to the table which is still sticky with jam. Her six-year-old is clutching his paper airplanes, making loud whirring noises while flying reconnaissance missions over the juice his three- year-old sister has just spilled. After cleaning the juice she distracts the two youngest with a story tape then sets her eight-year-old with the poem he was supposed to copy last Monday. According to her teacher planning book, the one that has almost fallen apart from frequent erasing, they are one week behind. She sighs when she notices that her eight-year-old is tapping his pencil and staring out the window with a vacant look in his eyes. She reprimands him and they begin their tri-weekly fight over school work. She is demanding and cajoling and he is both defiant and defeated… they are both in tears and she sends him to his room. Her six-year-old looks up at her, “Do I have to do my handwriting,” he asks.” Tired of arguing she shakes her head no and he happily scampers off to play with his airplanes. “Lord,” she asks silently, “why is this so hard? I was so sure that you wanted me to homeschool my children. They are so obedient in so many things, why is our school such a struggle?”
I would be lying if I said we never had this experience. Too many mornings are like this, as of late, in our home. In many ways to me, it only goes to show that what we are doing just is not working. For any of us. We need children to grow up learning to love the process. Seeking on their own opportunities to learn about the things that intrigue them. How to find the information; different ways to communicate and solve problems when they arise. This is not happening now.
And so I am reading. And considering. Trying to wrap my mind around something that sounds so fabulous, so free and exciting and real. Because that is what I believe learning should be. It should be something that is alive and active; something we look forward to. Sure there will still be challenges and struggles now and then. Yet if we are really learning, if we are involved and it is a part of our life, those difficult times will not be so bad. We will take ownership of it; we will (In time) embrace those challenges knowing that we will overcome.
The Lord created each one of us uniquely; why do we buy into the lie that there is only one way we can learn? Unschooling, interest-led learning- this can allow so much if we have faith; if we come into all things with a bit of humility. (Matt 18:3) Surely we must teach them diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7) We are responsible for nurture and admonishment of the Lord. We can be most diligent indeed as we learn and walk with our children; seeking out opportunities, mentors, creative opportunities.
I seek only Christ as my example. It is true, Christ was with His disciples ALWAYS> They did everything together; they ate and slept and walked and talked, worked and listened. They lived with Him and this was what allowed them to be so much like Him; to walk so closely in His steps. This is how they developed the power and the gifts the Lord blessed them with, so fully.
I pray for the Lord to open my eyes as I read and to open my heart and enlarge my faith, not just in Him but in my children. In my abilities. As I read, please do share your experiences. I will blog some more in a few days, as I complete the next chapter in this lovely book. Seeking nothing but a greater way to grow in Christ, and the freedom we have.