Guest Post by Kimberly A. Vogel
I remember the lofty ideals I dreamed of when I first started homeschooling. Every activity would be meaningful and not at all standard. Real life learning would occur in every opportunity, including kids cooking and helping with chores. We would not settle on a curriculum, but would strive for the best. The evening would be filled with read alouds while we all knitted together. (Seriously, stop laughing! You know you had lofty ideals too! Maybe not the knitting part…)
We operated that way for quite some time. Learning happened in the kitchen, the backyard, and at the park. We did read alouds and my kids knitted. When the knitting needles were flung across the room in frustration we found out crochet was more the style around here. I picked the best curriculum for our family and we strived to finish every lesson.
Fast forward four years and I’m here in survival mode. The kids cook, but only to ease my load. We are so far behind when summer came we named it year round school and I only pray we finish this year. A read a-loud book hasn’t been read aloud in over a year. I can live in regret that my lofty ideals aren’t working, or I can change those ideals.
Your lofty ideals might need to change if:
- Your plan is not working.
- Your children grow out of the ideals.
- Your life grows out of the ideals.
I have teenagers.
Gone are the days we can load up the car and have fun at the park while calling it school. Here are the days where extra learning consists of SAT courses instead of ultra cool science experiments. Science experiments now require a lab, not just a backyard.
My oldest two work as a nanny for our next door neighbor. Because their homeschool day is cut short, it’s hard to find time to get it all done. Really, they could easily still get it all done, but now they work in their rooms and time management passed from my hands to theirs. Many life lessons right there…
While it’s hard and easy to get bogged down in the regrets of what’s not happening, I need to focus on the what is. Some days are cut short because they work, but look at the real life lessons they learn while caring for a toddler! They are no longer hanging out at home with us doing read a-louds while crocheting; instead they are hanging out with friends living what we only read about in books!
While my homeschool no longer holds the lofty ideals I pictured when we started this journey, it’s only because the picture changed as my kids grew up. My big ideas of not using worksheets but real life learning changed. Now worksheets help keep us moving through the curriculum so real life living can happen.
Instead of a list of what I want my homeschool to look like, I’ve moved to a list of what I want to teach my daughters before they leave home. That is more than any curriculum!
Kimberly shares God’s love for children through her writing, and encourages moms through her blog www.kimberlyavogel.com. She lives in Texas with her husband, Kevin, and four daughters. The whole family enjoys serving God as leaders in the children’s ministry at church. When she’s not homeschooling her girls, or teaching creative writing, you can find her spinning words into stories or twisting yarn or wire into crafty creations.