Monday, January 25, 2016

Another Seed Planted

Last summer, just before school was officially about to begin, I was dreading starting back again.  The summer had been lovely.  Freedom.  Flexibility.  Exploring concepts and topics that I loved and, therefore, was enthusiastic about teaching and sharing.  We learned to play the recorder.  We read about the planets and did science experiments.  We studied the geography of the Old Testament.  But now, the ball and chain of "real school" was looming and I couldn't even pretend to be excited about it.  Life seemed to stretch out ahead ... a long, dreary couple of decades of getting out of bed day after day to slog through an exhausting "push" to get kids to do stuff they didn't really want to do.  Ugh.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not of the opinion that the "fun-o-meter" is the most accurate measure of the success of our homeschool.  And there is certainly value (much, in fact) in learning how to cheerfully face challenges and do things that are not your cup of tea.  There is benefit in teaching people to persevere and push through.  Mama included.

But there is also value in making careful, informed decisions about how to spend limited resources.  And at this moment in our family (seven children ages ten and under, including a nursing baby) one of the most limited resources is Mama's energy.  To be specific, Mama's cheerful-power - which is exhausted about 15-35% before the end of total energy expenditure.

Enter a chance conversation at church.  The son and daughter-in-law of friends were in town for the weekend along with their several children.  When I passed her in the nursery, I asked how she was doing and, providentially, we had a sincere and heartfelt conversation about the energy expenditure that is homeschooling.

There was too much to that conversation to record here, but the main idea is summarized in the book she recommended.  I got the book, but I didn't read it.  A least not then.  I was secretly worried that it would tell me to do things differently than I was doing them and that I would feel guilty, inadequate, overwhelmed or all three.  Looking back, it turns out, that was pretty ironic.
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

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