My kids fed me an epiphany today.
“What’s half of a half, Anna?” Oliver asked seriously, arm over the back of the chair, sour cream all over his face.
“Easy, cheesy, lemon squeezy.” Anna quipped across the table as they dined on lunch made by Anna. “I don’t have to answer your questions, Oliver. You’re not my teacher.”
Who is the teacher, here? Well, that enormous role falls on me. And when I say enormous, I mean weight of the world. Like just being a parent isn’t heavy enough. Their growth, development, education, lessons, successes, failures, intellect, dreams, and LIVES; depend on me.
I knew this when we decided to homeschool. I also knew I was best for the job. Being their mother, and all. I was also perfectly aware of the unknowns. Homeschool options are so vast, and not one family goes at it the same. So, finding homeschool structure that fit the parameters of which we wanted for the children’s’ education for this black + white, public school graduate mama was daunting. After months of research, I finally narrowed our 2010-11 school year to a single curriculum for all three kids*. Oak Meadow seemed to allow for hands on, natural learning and structure to meet state standards, and also encompassed the philosophy Allen and I had built our decision around when deciding on this alternative to classroom learning: Grow up well-rounded students of life, who love learning. But annoyingly, I’ve been confining us to public school standards for our homeschool, which has confused the necessary element contingent on the “love of learning” part of our philosophy: individualized exploration.
And so, my epiphany treat. I come outside of black and white, and OMG. There is color.
And like Anna says, it’s easy, cheesy, lemon squeezy. I sit back, and let them direct. Everything can be taught, that needs to be learned, in the realm of which they desire to know. Hallelujah. Corbin (10) has wanted nothing more than to learn Spanish this year. So why not get her submerged where she wants to be and allow her to love all over learning? Math can be taught there. History and Social Studies can surely be taught there. Science and current events, for sure. Alas, another beauty of homeschool–we can change routes any time we want. If Oliver (8) wants to learn everything there is to know about the moon, and construct a fort in the dining room and do his schooling there–then build little man! Anna (7) just wants to fill up a personal dictionary of words she’s becoming aware of, read about whales, play babies–indulge. It is here that my students will grow, learn (without even knowing it!), and life will be rich.
Our first year of homeschool is proving to be very enlightening. My lesson learned today: life can be so much more than we let it be. Dropping our guard and allowing influence; be it through our children, a moment, a thought, or a dream; will provide the opportunity to grow. When life seems to feel heaviest, or stuck seems to be the way of things, consider that a light is about to shine through the gray. I encourage you to go outside your black and white. Don’t negotiate your, or their best. And love in the simplicity of imperfection.
*There is no one size fits all curriculum.