I still consider myself a "newbie" to this home education adventure. But, as I look at my calendar (and my curriculum), it stuns me to realize that we are entering our ninth year of Barnard Academy. Nearly a decade. Wow. We continue to take it a year at a time, trying not to make any declarations or predictions about future years. After all, I was the one who once said of homeschooling, "That's sweet. But I'll never do that."
A fellow mama on this journey sent this article recently and I had to pass it along. For those of you on the Book of Face, it might be familiar. I exited the Big Blue Portal some months ago; so, I might be late to this "sharing" party. The author of Homeschool This, a 20-year home education veteran of four children, begins her post by responding to the "Big Six" homeschooling questions one often gets asked. I resonated with most of her answers. Actually, mine might be considered "same tune, slightly different words."
1. How do you do that?
Grace, creativity, solid curriculum, good pencils, library cards, grace, and a fabulously rich community of fellow home educators. Did I mention grace?
2. Why do you do that?
Lots of reasons but for those who are interested, I happily refer you to Most (un)Likely to Homeschool . I openly admit shameless self-promotion. It's endearing, isn't it?
3. You're insane--who would do that?
Apparently, the asylum is pretty crowded.
4. What about socialization/academic rigor/character/etc.?
Umm...this is where how I respond in my head isn't necessarily "positive, encouraging, K-Love." As my boy-men interact, intelligently and congenially, with a multi-generational crowd, I sometimes answer with a list of their activities, classes, service opportunities, books they are reading, etc.--essentially, their resume. But, I pray it's the low-hanging Fruit that answers those kinds of inquiries.
If I could find a winsome and gracious way to say, "How's that working out for the non-homeschooled kids?", I would. I did some theatre in high school. Maybe I could work on that.
5. Can they go to college?
Of course, they can. If they are called to do so. That might sound strange coming from a Professor and his wife; however, what is most important to us is that they love God with all their heart, mind, and soul--and seek His will for their lives. If college is in that plan, excellent. If not, so be it. At this point, they both have higher education in mind. Even if Mini-Hooper goes in the first round of the NBA draft.
6. I could never do that!
If I can, anybody can. Yes, you could--if you are called and convicted to do so. The home education lifestyle is not for everyone. My
hope has always been that I would be supportive and affirming of
whatever educational options my friends choose--and I trust that those
who know me best would call me on that, if my attitude were to ever
reflect anything contrary to that position.
Lisa Renee goes on to emphasize the importance of a vibrant homeschooling community, tons of books, art supplies galore, flexibility, "going deep", and to just calm down and relax! Ah, yes, 'tis the key. Confession: I have my "moments" of frustration, impatience, and "yick"--just as all parents do. A self-imposed timeout and a handful of "emergency chocolate chips" does wonders. As does perspective.
I owe a debt of gratitude to those who have entertained my questions, encouraged my heart, sent me helpful links, and loaned me obscure books no longer available online, but are somehow still "recommended" on the curriculum list.
For those who blazed the trail, before the days of curriculum fairs, online communities, and co-ops, I stand amazed. And humbled.
For all of those fellow sojourners--starting from the Memphis days of Kindergarten with He Who Is Now Taller Than I and a pre-school version of Mini-Hooper, who walked around the house chanting, "a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea" (Thank you, First Language Lessons of the Well-Trained Mind for the 2-for-1 deal in that instance). For the one who encouraged me to "go deeper, not faster" and presented me with one of the coolest homeschooling t-shirts I've ever seen--thank you, and you were so right! For those who walk this path, here in the rhinestone of the buckle of the Bible Belt (or may have gone East, but still South), the simple knowledge that we are in this--together--is priceless. And makes those emergent chocolate situations a bit more infrequent.
And for those dear hearts who encourage and support this adventure, no matter their schooling choices, graciously putting wind back into our sails when the salt maps have crumbled, you are appreciated. Deeply. Let me make you a "better than Sonic Happy Hour" milkshake as a small token of my esteem.
I mean that.