Tomorrow, we start our eleventh home school year. A big box of books came from A Beka Book a couple of weeks ago, and with that, reality hit. I cleared and cleaned the school room, double-checked supplies, stacked textbooks in place, and now, all that remains is to write the first day’s assignments on the small white boards I keep for that purpose.
My two oldest are freshmen, and my little guy is in third grade. We begin this year as we always do, with a bit of reluctance and excitement both—reluctant to get back to the hard work of school, but excited to get back into a regular schedule and spend our school days together. Our summers always seem busier than the school year; the kids have their 4-H projects to complete and show, and we always undertake some sort of home renovation project. This year, we worked on our mudroom, and all three kids were excited to contribute. They helped me rip out industrial carpet that had been glued to the concrete floor, and then scrape off the remaining adhesive, by far the nastiest part of the renovation. Then we cleaned the walls and painted. My husband installed some rustic boards to which we could screw hooks for hanging coats and ball caps, and I prettied up the space with some storage benches and rugs. We still need to install a new light fixture and stairs, but it’s 90% done, thanks to the efforts of the entire family.
As a final last-minute project, the kids also helped me add to my perennial beds yesterday, transplanting hostas, yarrow, daisies, ornamental grasses, Japanese anemone and other easy growers into a bed underneath some massive pine trees that we had limbed up earlier in the summer. I was so happy to complete the job in a matter of an hour rather than the several it would have taken me by myself years ago. My kids are growing up, and what a pleasure it is for my husband and I to see our older two transforming into kind, helpful adults who more often need guidance and advice, rather than rules.
That will translate into our school year as well, as my older two will be more self-guided while I spend more time with my youngest. We are all looking forward to the change, and the older two are eager to prove that they can be responsible for their studies without so much help from their micro-managing mom. But I am still looking forward to our classroom time together, which through the years has enabled me to know my kids on a level I might never have, had we not home schooled. What a pleasure it was to teach them to read long ago, and what a joy it has been to see their minds develop, to learn how they best learn, and to have thought-provoking discussions about our incredible, precious Lord and His Word. How exciting it has been to see my son grasping math concepts that I struggled with when I was his age, and to have him help teach a math lesson. How proud I have been to see my daughter’s passion for words, a mirror of my own. Though a sacrifice at times, teaching my children has been a privilege for me, as well as a learning experience.
So, while it still feels like summer outside, we are ready to begin the schedule that will guide us for the next 8 months or so. I’ll wake up, work out, eat breakfast, make a big cup of Earl Grey tea, and then head upstairs to the school room, ready to teach, and ready to learn something new about my kids once again.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:6,7