In a few short weeks my little tribe (which has shrunk from 5 to 3) & I will begin our 20th year of Educational Anarchy. It's not really anarchy anymore, but back when we started it sure was. The leader of our local park day (long before co-ops became the norm) had even gone to jail over her choice to home school. And we lived in California at the time and were proudly involved in the phone tree that shut down offices over HR6, written by Rep Miller, who was at it again just a short time ago.
We've home schooled through earthquakes, moves, illness, Dad working (& living) out of town, pregnancies (mine), puberty (theirs), travel (ours and theirs), times of lean and times of plenty, times of loss and gain, in the Southwest, Midwest, Pacific coast, High Desert and High Plains.
And, True Confessions, it hasn't been all fun and games. Some weeks, months, years, it's been downright hard and difficult work. Some kids,subjects and seasons have been more difficult than others. This spring was one of the most difficult. The process of sorting what was left of our worldly possessions after the fire that burned us out of our house and inventorying it all for loss and value was difficult at best. The death of my 48 yo sister 4 days later put the fragility of life in perspective even more. I spent lots of time really questioning how we've invested our time in the past 2 decades, and why. I asked my husband over and over and over again if the loss of whatever income I could have garnered and the investment of time and effort, money and supplies into this endeavor had been worth it. Again and again he said, "Yes." I truly for the first time lost my "Why" for homeschooling.
But he remembered and he kept reminding me of our "Why" and it is this: To give our children a firm foundation- academically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, so that they can be carefree during childhood, pointed True North all of their earthly days and in the presence of the One True Living God for all eternity.
Homeschooling's not gonna save anybody, that much is certain. There's no magic bullet as far as curriculum, or pedagogy or schedule or school room, (though I think some are more valid than others - ask me which = ), but it is a valuable and worthwhile tool in the hands of those who seek something more than average; those who desire a vastly different relationships with their kids than "normal;" those who hope to participate in a family that shares the deep things rather than run after the fleeting. Homeschooling isn't the only way to go after those ideals, but in many ways, its one of the easiest (but that's probably an all together different post).
As I've said already, we are in no way ready for fall. Our house is still a mess, the majority of our possessions are still in a trailer, we haven't ordered curriculum. Heck, my ds 15 isn't even done with 3 of last year's academic subjects yet. But, as my husband has stated to both of us over and over again this summer, "He'll make it up. We homeschool!"
It's been a hard year, that is for sure and for certain. But it would have been far more difficult if we hadn't been homeschoolers. And homeschooling allowed us to be together to grieve, cry, talk, share, work, laugh and pray during a season that has tested, and hopefully strengthened, every single one of us.
So, ready or not, here's to fall and the start of another year of learning and growing together. Of field trips and co-op and park days and books and and the joy of educational pursuit- at home, together. 20 years, and thankfully, more to go.