Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We Live Learning

I am going to admit something to you that I am loathe to confess as I would like to keep the reputation of all Godly home schooling families intact. Sometimes we watch Tom and Jerry in the morning. We love those old episodes where Tom and Jerry chase each other around ad infinitum, usually ending up in a crumpled heap somewhere only to rejoin life suddenly transposed to their former unharmed state. We* love it. The children were hungry. I was preparing, as my son reverently calls it, "buttuh toast and cheese toast." They paused the recording in order to help mom bring everything into the living room. (Oh, did I forget to mention that? We regularly --not daily-- have a light breakfast in the living room while enjoying T & J.) Then, the countdown began, "18!  17!  16!  15!  14!....." and so on down to zero, at which time the pause was rescinded.

Our home, no, our lives beat with a heart of learning.  We want to know more about God and everything He created. We want to be able to label it, count it, and understand it all.  Our spirits yearn to know more and more.  I'm often asked how many hours a day we spend home educating, and that is a difficult question to answer as we live our learning. We wake up with it, walk with it daily and go to bed talking ideas, methods, and particulars.  We measure, count, consider. My husband and I use up untold moments of time, stopping to explain and define what we are doing; defining words in books we are reading to the children; answering questions that arise from just daily living. We pull out math books to practice and learn arithmetic. We sing the multiplication tables in the car. We play "Guess The Answer," a raucous game of everyone shouting out the answer to a math problem or a fill in the blank from a history sentence, a science snippet, or a part of the list of prepositions, linking, and helping verbs we are studying.

We do not have a set schedule for "classes."  We do sit down to study, but when and where that happens is dependent on our life at large. We just make sure that we get what needs to be done, done.  Some days we dawdle and don't learn or practice a lot. Some days we dig in and make astounding progress. Sometimes our children grasp an idea at the strangest moments, but we see them learning, and it is a joyous process. Education is life.  It is a life-style.  It is an attitude.  It is a purpose. If approached properly as the Word of God details, it is effective and enjoyable. (Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives God's design for the educational process.) Even the hard work is good, as we see our children struggle with their own challenges in learning to sit, focus and concentrate on a task when they would rather be outside shooting baskets. We have fun, and we make demands. It's just like that.  But overall, we cherish the journey together.

God set us free to mold our children as we see fit under His authority. We can accomplish this any way we would like. Some families love the structure of consistent mornings of class work and a guaranteed free afternoon. We prefer to take each day as it comes. We are free to pursue education within the parameters of what works best in our family. We truly learn when we do it the way that fits us. My children have memorized a one hundred sixty event history time line.**  We did it by reviewing it (sometimes) at dinner, (sometimes) in the car, (sometimes) laying on the swing....well, you get the idea.

WE LOVE LEARNING! And my husband and I continue to study and learn, too. God is so big. We cannot stop now!  Won't you join us?

*Author's Note:  The term "we" is used quite loosely, as the author herself very rarely sits down to watch anything at all, save those few moments when mom sits down with children to simply take a moment to relish in their presence. "We" really do love that.
**Our nine and seven year old know it all. Our five year old is still working on it.

The Call

My desk is piled high with work yet undone. I should be minimizing that pile. But I am not. I am writing. And so, I resign myself to the call....