Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Fever

Spring is a whisper away but I am already hearing the perennial rumblings of discontent. We are emerging from our winter semi-hibernation state. I've been hearing a lot of restless moms and children lately; moms are weary of lessons and children are swelling like the buds on the trees, their pent-up energy causing them to want to burst out. This can create some friction and tired homeschool moms begin to question what they're doing and why they're doing it.

If you do formal school lessons with the traditional school season, you may sense the end is in sight and be in a panic about the ground you still have yet to cover. As you evaluate where you've been and where you haven't been in the present school year, you may be wondering if you should be on a different track. Maybe another curriculum plan would be more helpful, maybe you feel like you're going about this homeschool thing all wrong, who can tell you what to do differently - these are the questions that pester us. Guilt, doubt, and discouragement prevail. When we feel plagued with these thoughts, we flounder even more, we spend our time surfing the internet looking for new options. Perhaps we should go to a conference and get some inspiration, look at the hundreds of homeschool options out there, and even if we don't avail ourselves of those opportunities, we can spend hours at the computer screen investigating hundreds of websites, reading dozens of opinions about home education, gathering scores of book lists that might work next year.

What's a mother to do? A beginning friend embarking on the home school path years ago told me she felt like someone had dumped her in a rowboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's overwhelming without
a compass, sailing skills, even a map. There are just too many choices.

As Emily and I plan to attend a few conferences, hold a couple of our own, teach at others, I am keenly aware of these issues. My personal homeschool consultant, God's gift to me, is Charlotte Mason. She often
said, "a change is as good as a break." You may need a change, but before you jump from one sinking ship to another, let me suggest a few positive things you can do to stay anchored:
1. Take a coffee break with your husband and remember why you're teaching your children at home.
2. Remember why God has given you this responsibility. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Eph. 6:2)
3. Don't choose or purchase anything new before you ponder and write down your thoughts about the following three basic questions of a wise and experienced educator:
--Why must the children learn at all?
--What should they learn?
--How should they learn it?
(Charlotte Mason from Vol. I, "Home Education" p. 171)
Though I have been home schooling for years, I still have to make decisions about where to go next. I have this tremendous library holding multitudes of ideas in those thousands of books, but I still have to make hard choices. Though our family may have a steady course, we still need the break that this change in season provides. The peepers are calling. Their shrill piping from the pond in our backyard is signaling. Today we are going outside. There's raking to be done in the gardens, and another opportunity for my eight-year-old son to try to catch baby frogs. Spring only comes once a year. This physical change will clear the cobwebs and invigorate us for the seasons ahead.

For the joy of living,

Liz

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