Today, we will hear from lovely Kelly about her personal home school journey. Thank you, Kelly, for for sharing your story with us! If you missed the last Q&A post, April's encouraging response to the same question can be found here.
Question: Looking back on your homeschool journey, what are you glad you did, and what would you have done differently?
"Looking back over my homeschool journey, the early years were the sweetest. There are several things I feel we did well. I can boil our journey into 3 main points I am most grateful for: our morning devotionals, not having a T.V., and free unscheduled time.
The first was being committed to our morning devotionals. Our non-negotiable morning routine began with good habits, which entailed morning chores; we ate breakfast afterwards (2 Thess. 3: 10 “don’t work, don’t eat), and then had our family morning devotional. We read or memorized scripture or I presented to my children what I was learning in my own Bible study. Sometimes it was short, sometimes it was long, and on some crazy days that is all we got done. I wanted to model “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Not being an academic or intellectual mom I was convinced then, and still even now, that I’d never “make it” without generous portions of the Lord’s strength and His guidance and blessing. Through the early years, I read tips and advice on ways to do devotionals better, I searched curricula and fretted over doing them “right.” Now looking back I can see all I needed was the Bible, a little Spurgeon or Chambers and, if possible, some of my own quiet time with the Lord. If given the opportunity to start over, I would, without a doubt, do my morning devotionals again...even if it meant that was all we would get done that day.
The second element of our journey that I would do again is limiting screen time. I realize that this is more difficult now than ever. When our older two were young the only time they were in front of a screen was when I was desperate for a little extra time and they watched a video. Limited screen time was valuable for 2 reasons. First the T.V. and internet expose the viewer to images, ideas and influences that shape our thinking without us even knowing. I never wanted my young children to be introduced to something new without me knowing or watching too. Early on I saw my children’s hearts and minds to be empty gardens with fertile, soft soil. Whatever seed was planted would surely grow. It was a mission and passion for me to carefully watch over every seed planted in those early years. The second reason we did not have “screen time” in the early years was to provide plenty of time for mind engaging activities. My young children were not entangled by the T.V. or internet and they had generous amounts of time to read, play music, explore and create. Someone told me when I was a young mom that it was good to have bored children...that is when they begin to think and create on their own. That certainly proved to be true in my homeschool journey.
The third element that I would do over in my homeschool journey is not being overly scheduled in the early years. While outside activities are good, and it is often hard to choose, I would be vigilant over my children’s precious time. Unscheduled, uncluttered time outside or inside with a peaceful mom is never to be undervalued. [One outside activity that I would do again is early childhood music classes. Music has continued to be a blessing to us through the older years and was worth the time we spent.] Our unscheduled time was filled with reading, playing outside, creating, exploring, cooking, playing music, and enjoying being together.
There are a few things I would have done differently. Our family struggled to find a church home and therefore had a difficult time making long lasting friends and building a network of families to walk this journey with us. If given the opportunity to do this again, I would have looked over many of the issues we had with the churches we were involved in, get settled, and live in relationship with other families more intimately.
The other thing I would have done differently as a wife and mom is difficult to write about. Simply put, I would have prayed more and complained/controlled less. I am a passionate, sensitive and emotional person, and often times I would push my convictions and concerns on my husband instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work or give my husband a chance. This created an imbalance in our home that has not born good fruit. Ultimately, it is a trust issue. Do I trust the Lord to work out His purposes in our home? Do I trust Him to lead my husband? Is it up to me to “make it happen?” Do I really believe that He will complete the good work He has begun? Can I trust Him?
Looking back over my homeschool journey, I am so glad we did our devotionals, didn't sit in front of the screen and had generous amounts of free time. I regret not being committed to a church home through the years and wish that I had trusted the Lord more earnestly. I see the Lord working in each one of my educated, intelligent, thinking children in ways that only He can, and my family is beautiful inside and out. The journey isn't over, and it has been worth every sanctifying and satisfying moment."