**Back on March 13th of this year I wrote the following post about homeschooling. I never published it and I only shared it with my Mom (who wanted me to share it with others but I was too nervous to do it.) But now I’m going to share it. It’s long, I don’t think I’ve ever shared something on here so wordy, so to those who actually stick around and read it…thank you very much and I’ll reward you with a hug and a date to go thrifting :)**
Home Free: Enjoying the freedom that homeschool brings
On a gorgeous Spring day, I watch my three young children play outside together. Sliding, swinging, digging in the dirt, collecting rocks and watching lady bugs climb up the flower bush. Each square inch of our modestly sized backyard houses an adventure waiting to be brought forth.
Today they are pirates and the Little Tykes playground that they outgrew years ago is their pirate ship. They’ve hung a sheet over a tree branch, this is their sail. They swing from a chain hanging on the tree, the one that has become part of the branch. Without fight or battle it has melded into the bark. It can be considered the tree now, the chain and bare limb are one. It hoists children up the ship, like a scene from Swiss Family Robinson. They defy gravity and danger and common sense and any pain that their little fingers would endure from clutching the looped metal. All the while I see a myriad of looks playing out on their faces. Deciphering through the treacherous waters of a child’s emotions is enough to render a mother helpless.
But my saving grace is that they’re not children right at this moment. They are pirates. Pirates who discover new land, urge each other to try the impossible and convince the baby that those impossible things “won’t hurt that much”. Maybe just a scrape or two (or three or four). Brother might not have the best of intentions, so I watch and wait from my perch in our sunroom. Will he urge her to go down the slide on the skateboard? And will I need to intervene? She’s too smart for his trickery, she sees right through him and if he wants someone to go down the slide on the skateboard, it will be him…not her. Good girl, I sigh. She lives to see another day.
The sun beams down on their pale skin, turning the creamy shade of white to an almond hue. Freckles abound on their noses and cheeks, new ones, ones I’ve never seen before, haven’t memorized and have yet to be kissed. The lone beauty mark that graces under the left eye of my oldest girl has now been joined by a colony of tiny brown dots. Vitamin D looks good on them and their sweaty brows. Red flushed cheeks and sweaty necks accompany the layers of dirt and dust collecting behind their ears. One would think it was a 100 degree day, but just a soft wind and sunshine is enough to make a child full to the brim with expectations of buried treasure or walking of planks.
Around their feet runs the family dog, a tiny hairball of a thing, their “brother” and partner in crime. He leads them to wildlife, insects and secret spaces they didn’t know existed in their outdoor kingdom. Unafraid of anything, he causes his human family to laugh in wonder of what goes on in his furry head. A lover of flies and pincher bugs, he saves the children from a certain “death by creepy crawly.”
One child comes back into the house, the dog follows. Back and forth this cycle plays out until the door to the outside world is shut for the day. Even so, he will sit on a sunroom chair and stare out into the vast unknown. We humans don’t understand that there are more flies and pincher bugs to eat, more crevices to get stuck in, more squirrels to chase.
It’s 11am on a Wednesday morning. No the kids aren’t playing hooky from school. No they don’t have a “day off”. This is the life we live and the freedom we enjoy. Freedom to be pirates, or dragons, or princesses, or nothing at all. Free to be themselves. To go outside and play in this world of constant technology and artificial communication. They are free to read a book, draw a picture, do a worksheet, take a nap, play with the dog, or help Mommy with a project. They contribute to the family, do chores, maintain their clean rooms, obey their parents and obey their Lord. They fight, argue, make mistakes, make messes, do things they wish they hadn’t, have attitudes and ask for forgiveness. And all of this probably before 11am on a Wednesday.
Homeschooling is freedom. It’s freedom to encourage my kids to discover who God created them to be. It is freedom to see who they play with, what they watch on tv, what things they learn and soak up into their spongy minds. It’s freedom to say I want something different for my kids and homeschooling is how I’m going to achieve that something different.
It’s freedom to watch my 9 year old read whole books, cheeks rosy from staying up late to finish a well loved novel.
It’s freedom to observe my 7 year old take apart an old toaster with screwdriver in hand and watch him put it back together again as a whole new creation.
It’s freedom to listen to my 5 year old string along sentences, coercing the words from her tongue with a face full of pride and joy.
It’s freedom knowing that I am not tied to someone else’s schedule, someone else’s view of my child, someone else’s judgement of skills or vocabulary.
I’m running the homeschool race, as tough as it may be. I can see the path straighten and like a blacksmith, the Lord is pounding out the kinks in me.
“Do not be conformed to this world.”
“But be transformed.”
“I have set you apart.”
“For such a time as this.”
Pulverizing the knots, over and over. He straightens the crooked paths, the insecurities, the “what ifs” and the “if thens”. He sets me free. He lays out my calling before me.
Homeschooling is freedom. I am home free.