Monday, June 28, 2010

The Ebb and Flow of Family Seasons

If there's one thing I've learned in the years I've homeschooled, it's that change is constant. Just when I think things will stay the way they are, a baby is born, a move happens, or a once-loved curriculum doesn't work for the next child who might use it.

The way my four-year-old learns is worlds apart from what her fifteen-year-old brother needs. And my two Asperger's children need a different style of teaching and motivation from me than their siblings require. BUT, isn't that the real beauty of homeschool? I have the freedom to custom design education for my family's needs. What a true blessing!

Now, before any new homeschoolers read the above and despair, please be reassured that our individual family homeschooling styles can be lead and inspired by the Holy Ghost. Yes, the Lord really DOES care about what tools and timing we use for our individual children! In fact, we are entitled to this precious inspiration when the Lord calls us to bring our children home. Homeschooling is a wonderful-- though sometimes overwhelming-- calling, and like all such calls, the Lord qualifies those who are called to the work.

I have found comfort when viewing my homeschooling efforts in the perspective of seasons. Sometimes, lots and lots of learning gets done. The seeds of learning get planted, enthusiasm for knowledge sprouts and grows. Assignments get finished, and books get devoured. The homeschool harvest is abundant!

And then, at other times, life crowds in and changes throw rhythms into upheaval. I wonder if my children are learning anything at all! Babies need feeding, boxes need to be packed, children need to be run to rehearsals or multiple church activities. I look around and think, "What happened to all my well-laid plans?" But when I take a closer look, I can see that the lessons we learned in the days of abundance are being fortified, and are sinking into the soil of open minds and hearts. Spring will come again!

Another important discovery I've made in my homeschooling efforts, is that each individual child learns at a different pace and in their own time. Using the same methods, I have had early readers and later readers, math whizzes and confused looks. Quite often, the "one thing" that worked miracles with one child sends another child into fits of boredom or frustration. So I have to be flexible, be willing to take a few chances, and especially turn to our Heavenly Father for guidance.

It's amazing to me how often I will ask the Lord for help with a certain child, and I will find a friend who dealt successfully with a similar issue. Sometimes, I seek assistance from above in finding the book or curriculum I need, and I'll walk into a thrift store to find the exact item I needed sitting on the shelf. The Lord does provide!

One of the best gifts I have received from placing my family's education in the hands of our Heavenly Father, has been the peace that fills my heart and our home. Have things always gone smoothly? No. Are my children all perfect with high SAT scores and impressive college scholarships? No. (Not yet! *wink*)

But I have teens who love the Gospel, who help care for their younger siblings, who do dishes and make dinners, and participate in passionate discussions about the Constitution. I have little ones who love learning, who join in family scripture study and prayer, and who clamor for a good book to be read to them.

The plans and seasons that the Lord leads our family through have happened as gradually and beautifully as Spring eases into Summer. The ebb and flow of learning in our home goes in and out like the tides of the sea. Home learning, when left in the hands of the Lord, unfolds as beautifully and naturally as His greatest creations.

What a blessing, indeed!


  1. Beautifully said, my sister if I can just get my husband in board!!

  2. I've been thinking similar thoughts, but you expressed it so much better than I ever could. I've finally stopped "sweating" over curriculum and "best laid plans" and started focusing on goals, needs, and individuals. It is so exciting to see things ebb and flow as life happens. At least as home educators we have some flexibility that other families do not as they jump through public school hoops. Thank goodness we have the freedom to educate at home!

  3. Thank you Rachel. I needed a little reminder about seasons. Sometimes those "winters" just seem to last so long!

  4. Rachel~

    I don't really know you, but I am so glad that I found your blogs this evening! How I LOVED this post! You write so beautifully, and I found myself nodding along with each word! Thank you for your inspiring words of encouragement for me! :0)


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