Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yesterday afternoon the kids and I were coming home from having lunch with Grandpa and Grandma Schei. Grandpa and Grandma had been gone for 5 weeks in Europe and we couldn't wait to walk in their house, see their faces and feel immediately like things were 'back to normal' - we really missed having them be a part of our daily life. As we drove down our street towards home we saw in the distance the school bus slowing to a stop, red STOP SIGN flipping out and the bus driver reaching for the lever. A little boy stepped off the school bus, waited for the bus driver to wave him safely across the street and he disappeared into the lane beyond our house. I looked in the rear view mirror at my three children who, were I to choose, would be on that exact same bus home everyday. It was 2:30pm. It used to be that the concept of homeschooling my children was foreign, nowadays it is the other way around. How different our family would be if I waved goodbye to them at 7:31am, spent the next 7 hours doing what I could accomplish without kids, then reintroducing ourselves to each other mid-afternoon. There is NO JUDGMENT here. It is simply unfathomable to me at this point - my life would be worlds different.

At 6:25am my alarm goes off and I hit snooze... it goes off again at 6:34 (those 9 minutes are luxurious! who gets 9 extra minutes to sleep?! NO ONE!) I walk down the hallway and make a beeline for the coffee pot... fill a mug with coffee and a touch of half n half, cup it in all its warmth and sip away - often it's 1/2 cup down before Benjamin strolls out in his shirt and underoos with his doggie hanging limp from his fist, dragging on the ground. We make peanut butter, honey & cinnamon toast and talk through his upcoming day at school - his SCHOOL AWAY FROM HOME school... he goes for 4 hours each day to Kindergarten because he and I both needed it. The thing is, my desire to put Benjamin in Kindergarten is, what I imagine, the small-scale version of why many parents have their kids in school for most of their growing up years. It creates a safe place for the kid to grow a set of, uh, wings... a guaranteed set of hours for Mom to gain back her, uh, self... and then the joyous reunion at midday seems a wonderful spark to keep the relationship satisfactory, if not exemplary. And for Benjamin and I, it has worked out splendidly - but he gets home at 11:20am for 1/2 day Kindergarten. I cannot imagine him being absent for an entire school day.

Once Ben is on the bus, I exercise while the older kids get dressed and prepped for their school day. We sit quietly in the living room from 8:00 - 8:30am while I do my bible study and they do their 30 minutes of SSR. We all meet in the school room (with more coffee and snacks galore) and begin... 100 days of school countdown, spelling, bible study, language, reading, writing, math, art, electives and more, depending on the day. At first, with homeschooling, it's as though you're trying to steer a ship and then it becomes like sailing the more you experience it. And not unlike sailing, you see an entirely NEW WAY of discovering something be it education or the open water. You are always aware of the factors at play, you're intentional and precise but, oddly enough, much more free to go where the wind takes you. And when the sun sets, where else do I want to be? I've set my anchor for the day and smile broadly at what God has done in and through me. The rewards are oh so sweet after a grueling day of calculating, disciplining, talking, laughing, discerning and educating... my kids are becoming like Christ. And I SEE IT. All day and first hand. No, I don't believe this is the ONLY way to educate children, it is simply the best way for our family, for now.


WILLIAM says, 'Mom, the Avengers couldn't be real because it would break a LOT of laws of physics.'

KATIE says after a wonderful discussion about a story in our reading curriculum, 'It is YOUR choice how big your 'Monsters' are in your life.  If you get closer, they'll get smaller... but if you're afraid and you run, they'll look REALLY big.'  Beautiful!  I was almost in tears!

BENJAMIN comes in off the bus and says, 'Mom, in homeschool we talk about God, at church school we talk about God but at regular school we do not talk about God.'  Very matter of fact.  No inflection, just observation. 

... I want to be a part of these thought processes and watch them mature into what they are becoming.  I'm so glad it is what I'm supposed to do right now.

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