There are so many reasons why we chose to homeschool, and it has only been 5 months (!) since we officially started home educating our children in the United Kingdom.
5 months in, what are my thoughts and feelings?
What are my lessons learnt so far on this journey?
- I’m learning that I love being with my children…yes, even all day!
Yes, there are times, many times when the sibling bickering, whining, teasing, and defiance gets too much for me to handle. There are times when I can’t wait for them to have their quiet time in the afternoon, so that I can get a few precious hours of quiet time myself. Or when my husband takes them out to the park to give me some respite. Or when I can’t wait to put them down at night, crawl into my bed and finally call it a day. Yes, those times exist every.single.day.
Yet, by God’s grace, I can’t wait to see their faces again and start a brand new day with them.
- I love learning daily with my kids. We choose to home school all year around as that is what works best for our family. I love that our days are structured, and we have a rhythm to our learning. I love seeing their ‘a-ha!’ moments when they experience in real life what we have read in a book.
- I feel blessed to have all this time with them. I realise that I only get one shot at this. One shot at motherhood and my children get only one experience of childhood. Life is but a mere breath and childhood is even shorter!
- I want their world to be filled with time together with the family, with each other, in nature and rain and lots of books. I love that when I finish reading a chapter in a book, they beg for another to be read. What a struggle it is to put a book down!
- I love that we are able to prioritise God’s Word and the Bible at home and that it is not an after-thought or something I have to squeeze into my already jam-packed day. I’m grateful that I’m better able to recognise each child’s temptations and to work on them together. I’m glad that we can work on character formation jointly – not as a perfect, flawless leader but as one who can sympathise because I have the same flaws myself!
- Our Bible time together includes a prayer time (and prayer requests) at the end. When it’s my turn to pray out loud, I confess my own sin (often against them) in front of them and pray for forgiveness and grace. I encourage the children to pray out loud as well, and it has been such a blessing to my heart to hear their prayers! Their prayers were so sweet, simple and innocent at the beginning and still is (“God, thank you for the sky and the stars”) and it has been amazing to hear their prayers develop into “Lord, please help me to stop teasing, teach me to obey and help me to be faithful”.
- I notice that my children imitate me: this is horrifying and humbling, but sometimes it can be a blessing. For e.g. my four-year-old loves our daily (often written down) schedule and likes to remind me when we have not done something that day! Knowing that my kids are always watching me, makes me more aware of my own limitations and weaknesses and prompts me to work on them for their sake as well as mine!
- I love that I can take a break if my kids or I need to! On a whim, we can take a morning off or even a day off because we can always catch up at another time.
- I love that I’m able to celebrate with my children as they achieve a goal e.g. reaching a particular reading level. I can celebrate it that much more because I was with them every step of the way, cheering and encouraging them on.
- With the introduction of Sex education at schools here in the UK, I am grateful to be able to protect my children and their childhood as long as I can. I’m glad that as Christian parents, we can decide when and what to teach our children on these challenging topics.
- I realise that there are so many interesting topics and subjects and knowledge areas. I cannot possibly teach them everything because I don’t know it all or have the time to learn it all. I’m learning to prioritise and also to layer – i.e. work on one subject at a time. Once I get a grip on how to introduce/teach a particular topic, and when we have found a rhythm/schedule to it, I add another layer (or subject/book, etc).
- I realise that because of so many variable factors (for e.g. how old the kids are, how well they are (or not) in a particular subject, what their temperament is, what the weather is like, the seasons, how we feel that day, how much we can manage, etc), my routine or style will constantly be changing and evolving. We started with a simple homeschool routine, and as I started layering and adding more elements, the routine changed.
When we started Classical Conversations in September, there was invariably another change to our routine. I expect more change to come and I’m learning to be flexible.
- I try and have a plan for myself as well, which includes daily time in the Word, reading books and listening to Podcasts to encourage myself in this journey. Some of the podcasts that I have been listening to are: A Delectable Education, Simply Charlotte Mason, Classical Conversations and IEW (Andrew Pudewa).
- I try and keep our Supreme Objective in Homeschooling in mind as often as I can. It’s so easy to forget that our main goal is that our children would gradually be conformed into the image of Christ.
- I love spending time with them in nature and helping them see and observe real beauty. I love how I can use opportunities like walking in the woods to point them to the beauty and magnificence of God. I enjoy teaching them what a delight His creation is and what it means to explore and wonder and praise even the seemingly insignificant things (for e.g. stunning wildflowers on a footpath).
I have a lot more to say but I better stop, lest this post ends up as an essay!
What are some of your highlights in home education – especially if you are a newbie?