Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time To Re-Evaluate

I wrote this for the newsletter for my local homeschool support group. I thought I'd share it here, too.

Very recently I received an email from an old, high school friend which
contained one of those inspirational forwarded messages. By now I've
learned that very often the things written in these types of emails turn out to be false...thought up by someone who has nothing better to do, I suppose. And the one I received may be no different. Or, it may be true. I don't know. But, it was good and it made me think.

Supposedly, it was written by a lady after she learned she was dying of cancer. She composed a list of things she would have done differently if she could relive her life. It was one of those lists that, if you really stop and think about, will make you re-evaluate why you do what you do and whether those reasons really make any practical sense.

So... I started thinking...

As a homeschooling mother, why do I make my children save their "good clothes" for when we go out when, in truth, we are mostly in? If my daughters want to look pretty just to stay home and "do school"... why shouldn't they? Are the people out there more worth dressing up for than the people at home? Why shouldn't we get the most out of the clothes while they still fit?

If I am going to a meeting or party (VHS or otherwise) why should I bake a dessert to take, threaten my husband if he gets near it, and only bring home the picked-over left-overs to my family? No offense to the rest of you, but I think from now on I'll just make more, separate an ample portion for my family, and bring you what is left (also an ample portion).

Why should I try so hard to justify homeschooling to skeptical and unsupporting family and friends. Why put that pressure on myself when I can just smile politely and change the subject. My husband and I are pleased with our children's progress and, more importantly, we believe God is as well. Whose opinion trumps these? Hmmm, can't think of anyone...

The list could go on and on:
-We absolutely must have routine in my house, but should it win out over an on the spot, God-sent, teachable moment that may have very little to do with a text-book?
-Isn't living integrity more valuable than spelling integrity for both my children and me?
-So what if the paint does get on the carpet? We'll get it clean, but even if we don't, is the carpet to be our master?
-And, why not occasionally forsake the lesson plan for a good book with my children, in the springtime sunshine, in the back yard? After all, that is the freedom we homeschoolers have, isn't it?

Those who know me also know that I'd be the last to advocate reckless abandon regarding educating our children. Not at all! I just don't want to look back on these precious years with an "I wish I'd done it differently" list. I believe the grammar and the arithmetic really do matter, but does the knowledge of them make life beautiful? What good are the best writing skills without something truly moving to write about? God, love, family, joy, etc...these are the things that make life beautiful.

So it is my new goal to let the people and things that matter most, matter most. I'm sure I won't always get it just right but I will work toward it. Then, hopefully, at the end of this homeschooling journey I'll chuckle to myself and thank God for the memories...and, who knows, I might even have a stubborn carpet stain to make me think back and smile!

...and that's just my $0.02...


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