As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Homeschooling: Rediscovering the Joy

For twenty-five years I have found tremendous joy in the journey of homeschooling.

And then this year happened. A year of health crisis. A year of busyness. A year of change. A year of challenge. 

And, yes, Bekah's first year of high school.

For the first time ever, I found my joy waning. 

Oh, I was never tempted to stop homeschooling. I am dyed-in-the-wool! Ron and I are convinced that home education is the best thing for our family. But I was discouraged about our progress, about my well-laid plans that were going to pot. I was discouraged that I just couldn't keep up. I could not execute my plan. We were getting behind and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it.

I even remarked that I had finally found a disadvantage to homeschooling: the fact that family life affects it directly. If my child is being educated away from home, school continues no matter what is going on in our lives.

But then the Lord used several things to refocus my thinking.

This comment: 

Karen Andreola left these kind and encouraging words when I wrote this post.
The cartoon may reflect how you feel but what the author of "Thinking About Home" says to me (between the lines) is that an impressionable ninth grader is benefiting from learning something valuable - outside of "hitting the books hard." She is Providentially learning what a loving and godly wife is.  
Those words were life-giving to a tired homeschool mama. They gave me perspective that I had lost, a right perspective!

This post

Staying on Track (via Living Books Library). The message was practical and affirming, including this thought...
All those "interferences" are part of my children's education, for the children studying at home are not removed from life in the artificial seclusion of a classroom, but are in the midst of its circumstances.
These distractions and diversions were actually a part of Bekah's education. Of course they were!

And this quote:

Found in one of my own blog posts, written five years ago.
Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.—We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room,’ should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking—the strain would be too great—but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy.  

The question is not—how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?
~ Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series, Volume 3

A full life and a large room. That is the measure of education.

It didn't happen instantly, but slowly I felt the joy return! 

Do I still have academic goals for my student? Is it important to me that a high school credit stand for something? Am I still seeking to equip her for the future? The answer to all of those questions: Absolutely! 

But the events that would take place in our lives during this current school year were not planned by me. Our lives are planned by God, the Master Designer and He is in control of all of the details. 

I believe that He planned this year, with all of its ups and downs, for Bekah's good. He knows what she needs to learn. His curriculum is the best. 

I have made peace with HIS plan. And joy is restored!


  1. Excellent! I agree that all of live is part of education. Our kids are getting lessons this year that we couldn't have taught without being totally dependent on the Lord in ways we never have been before. And really the Lord is teaching all of us these lessons, we are not teaching them!

  2. As always I have read such wisdom here this morning. I did not home school my children. I think if I were raising my children in today's world I would have probably done so. It's easy to see all the benefits of such an education. One of my DIL'S is knee deep in educating hers. These particular children are ahead in every area academically, and it frees them to participate in the food kitchen ministry that their church has once a week, where they are able to not only learn another whole side of life, but the joy of giving to the less fortunate. YES, their education is a VERY LARGE classroom, and I am sooo pleased. I do believe by deep involvement in their education those who do not home school can also be participants in teaching their children in many different areas and ways. The key is involvement...and day to day opportunities taken advantage of....and realizing that education is A LOT more then just their classroom. I am soo glad you have rediscovered your joy and direction. May God bless your efforts.

  3. Wonderful insights and wisdom on the whole learning process. I'm glad to read the joy is returning. It seems the key is to be at peace with His plans. The key for more than the classroom, too. Blessings!

  4. I cannot comment from a homeschooler's perspective but there is no doubt in my mind that Bekah has gleaned much from her mother... just watching her serve her husband and family during those difficult days. So glad you finding the joy in it again, Cheryl.

  5. I've always felt that an important part of homeschooling is being involved in the daily life of the home and all that is going on there. Imagine if Bekah had been off at school each day, how much she would have missed that went on this year. How important for her to both observe how you reacted and handled each situation, and to be involved in helping. For me it's understandable that you would feel a little less joy in homeschooling--so much to distract you into different directions this year! Glad you are feeling more focus and joy in the process and God bless you as you continue on. By the way, can you tell me what program you used to make the blackboard sign? Particularly interested in the lettering.

    1. Dotsie, I used PicMonkey. The chalkboard background was in the "School U" group (snowflake icon in the left sidebar) and it's the "Boards" texture. The word "homeschooling" is the font "Stroke Dimension." "Finding" is the font "Pencil Pete." And "JOY" and "JOURNEY" are the font "Sketch Block." All of the little graphics (pennant, dots, etc.) are a font that I downloaded to my computer. It is called "Bergamot Ornaments" and I can't remember where I found it, but I think I can track it down. I'll let you know when I find it!

  6. It is always wonderful when our joy is restored. We enjoy life, are thankful and can accomplish much.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  7. Thank you so much for this encouragement. As I type this, it is 4am and I can't sleep for my mind won't relax. My medically fragile, widowed mom is moving into our home. Her home of 60 years has to be emptied and sold. My 11 year old daughter is relinquishing her room to sleep on an air-mattress awaiting a garage conversion for her. Boxes and boxes of dolls, crafts, books, toys, and trinkets are piled all over the living room and my homeschooling journey feels very stressed. My 9th grader had to be dropped at the library just so she could focus while we finish painting mom's room a more "grown up" color. I know they see me loving my mom and they are loving their Nana but your words do encourage me that it is just a season and they are learning by watching me and how I handle this crazy time. Thanks for this post. It is most encouraging.

    1. Mama, your words went straight to my heart. What a challenging situation you find yourself in and I can feel your stress as I read about it. The right thing is often a hard thing. I know that the Lord will be faithful to you as you honor Him with obedience, and yes, your children will see! Please know that I will be praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind!

  8. Oh I am so far removed from these years; nevertheless, I find this discussion very interesting. We sometimes fail to remember that every day is a learning one whether it involves hitting the books or observing. It's why I cringe when there are discussions about year round school. Some educators are not wise. I am sure that some of Bekah's finest learning comes when she explores something that most interests her all on her own. Self-study works for a lot of us!

  9. And the Lord uses all of these things as part of your children's education. Think of all they learned, all those life lessons, when you were going through the tough and real times of life. I think homeschooling is wonderful and have never regretted the 21 years we homeschooled. BTW, exploring on their own is what got our daughter so interested in Italian via opera, our son in geography, via the huge world map above his desk when he was in high school, etc. etc. And then there's just life in general. God bless you, Cheryl.

  10. Reading this again after praying for your family at 3:39AM, I am blessed yet again by your words and God's faithfulness.


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