Before each school year, I try to take at least two weeks to prepare myself for the upcoming year. I double check our “system” (every homeschooler has some kind of system), do a lot of research and reading, and write out goals (personal and academic) for the new school year. All this after the books have been purchased and the curriculum issue settled.
Several years ago, I took a group of teens to a camp in southern China. While they were enjoying time in the mountains, I stayed in the city and worked. I had a whole week of uninterrupted time. I’m a people person and really a family girl, so I wasn’t sure I would like being on my own for so long. By the end of the week, I was amazed at all I had accomplished. I even wrote a complete home economics course for my high schoolers. Impressed? Don’t be. Let me just say, writing and research isn’t the hard part about a curriculum. It is the daily implementation of that curriculum into your schedule that is tough.
The week was amazing and I accomplished more than I imagined, but usually, I’m knee-deep in everyday life and can’t get away for an uninterrupted, focused trip like that one. I’ve learned that I have to make blocks of time in my day to get my prep work completed.
So here I am. About to start another year. “My” plans look great on paper (and even better in my head). I’ve learned from experience that a whole lot of living goes on during those 180 days of school and my plans sometimes have to be changed or totally tossed out because of it. Life can be messy. Teenagers can be emotional. Business can be demanding. Ministry can be discouraging. Foreign governments can be difficult. Language school can be time consuming.
My goal is to teach my children about life, not just academics. I would rather my 14 year old participate in a cross-cultural event so she can experience what it means to live your life transparently before the world instead of reading and writing a paper about what someone else did, once upon a time. I would rather my 16 year old study language, meet locals, and have meaningful conversation about Truth than have her studying just because it is a requirement. I’m glad my 12 year old is learning how to serve by working at our restaurant. I’m glad that opening our home to various groups teaches my 9 year old to share what she has with others. All of these activities and unexpected events in our life could be viewed as unwanted disruptions or we can look at them as future opportunities to learn how we ought to live.
We’re gearing up to start school next week. We will spend the next few days setting up our school room and getting all the logistical stuff out of the way. Monday morning, we’ll sit together and read about our Father’s awesome creation. We’ll study order and logic. We’ll read about mighty deeds of men and women through the ages and see terrible wars and battles as well. We’ll study and reproduce classic works of art. We’ll learn to put thoughts on paper and communicate our ideas verbally.
As we progress, I’ll try to remember not to frown when “my” schedule is suddenly non-existent because I’m needed at the restaurant. I’ll try to make the most of those unexpected opportunities (like a neighbor inviting us into her home)that make me feel like I am always trying to catch up. I’ll seek wisdom to know when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to things that beckon to our family. To accomplish any of this, I’ll need to seek my Father early and listen for His voice to guide me throughout my day.
Looking forward to the great things He will show us and teach us this school year.