.Hubby and I began discussing homeschooling over 18 years ago. We didn’t have children yet, and weren’t even married. We had plans, and hopes for our future family, though. Our biggest focus areas were faith, family time, and education. We had no idea that our decision to homeschool our oldest, years later, would meet all our desires and shape our family culture in love.
The Family Table
Study after study shows how important it is to sit down with your children and share a family meal. Sharing a meal, discussing your day, enjoying each other’s company…for many this seems more like a luxury than a daily experience. However, we have nearly every meal around our dining room table. Some meals are quick, other linger and include board games or presentations by one of the kids. Either way, as a family, we touch base multiple times throughout the day.
Our meals are not always fancy, and our conversation isn’t necessarily anything exciting. However, our children have times throughout the day, every day, where they know the family is there to listen.
Growing in Love
Our children are all so unique and entertaining in their own ways. They are also vastly different and independent. We nurture their special gifts and encourage them to be who God designed them to be. Our childhood was vastly different than our children’s. We spent most of our days at school where we both struggled to fit in. Even though we both have a great passion for education, exploration, and will devour anything there is to read, school was often hours that we spent wishing it would end.
There was so much peer pressure, even 30+ years ago. Then there was the constant assault on whatever was different or uncommon. We quickly learned that to get to the head of the pack, you become who the pack wants you to be and check your quirkiness at the door. Unable to do that and stay true to ourselves, we both put our heads down and forged ahead, hoping next year would be better.
Our children have never been pressured to suppress their quirky, delightful, and beautiful uniqueness for the sake of group acceptance. We did not realize when we began homeschooling how much of a blessing this would be. As adults who were both bullied as children, we cannot give thanks enough that our children are going through the ups and downs of life in love and acceptance, instead of competition and pressure.
Our Lives are Made in These Small Moments
I admit that there are times when I watch that yellow school bus go past our home six times per day and wonder what it would be like to have times each day without children underfoot. But, those days turn into months and quickly pile up into years.
Our children are ours for such a short time. Even though I knew that, I never really understood it until I looked at the kitchen doorway and saw my very adult looking daughter looking back at me. My mom always used to quib, “I don’t know how you got so big. I watched you walk down that same hallway every morning, and then one day you showed up all grown up.”
I would laugh, that seemed ridiculous. It had taken me a lifetime to grow up. Now that I am “my mother’s age” I marvel at how insanely quickly it all goes. In fact it makes me tear up just thinking about it. We are so blessed to have our children with us for so many simple minutes. The little moments that cannot be scheduled or artificially created, are precious. They are the quality time that we all long to relish.
In the small moments, our children have become siblings and best friends. We have watched them blossom and grow as they learned to crawl, toddle, talk, count, color, solve algebraic equations, and start their own businesses. The little moments are what I treasure most from my homeschooling years.
My Greatest Joy
Beyond the academics and opportunities, there is the family that is something I could not have found anywhere else. What started as a better way to teach the 4 R’s and build character has become our life mission. I cannot imagine if I had missed so many of those precious, small moments. How much would they have missed collectively? Spending the bulk of their day in different classrooms or even different building with others who do not love them with the very depth of their souls.
When looking back on my life, when I reach that greatly prized title of “retired homeschool mom” I will not count the math lesson that we missed or the times we could have studied more; however I will relish watching my children walk down that hallway so many time each day, all the time that they gathered around our table and filled the bellies AND my sink; and I will smile knowing that it went by so much for quickly than I would have wished, but I was there to soak in every second because our family was the heart of our homeschool.