I am preparing for our third year of homeschool, and Owen’s first year of public school. He asked us at the end of last year if he could go to the public school this fall, and we decided that if he felt ready we would let him go. Of course there were several conversations, prayers and lots of questions that went into that decision, but ultimately, we knew that God had placed that path in front of Owen long ago, and now it was time to walk on it. I will never forget the fall morning God revealed so clearly his vision for my role in Owen’s life. I am called to pour the Word of God into him, so that he can be made ready to be a fisher of men. Discipleship begins with nourishment, and we have taken as much opportunity as we can find to make him full. He will be surprised I think, by the amount of homework and expectation that falls on him, but we will be there to back him up and hopefully, it won’t overwhelm us.
Ivan and Aron are happily unaware that school for them will begin at any moment. I am going through lessons and lesson plans meticulously as I venture into the daring idea of teaching them science from a combination of books and adventure that I am putting together myself. I have plenty to guide me, but it feels both exciting and scary to have a science curriculum spring up on paper, power point and old notes from my own elementary years. I do have a very good book as well, but I’m using a lot of additional materials to compliment the book and we are going to have a lot of fun.
As I type this, a mourning dove landed in her nest just outside the window and is cooing as she takes care of her little family. It makes me feel secure knowing so much of creation is at our disposal. We will be studying insects and birds this year. We will make nets for catching little flying creatures, and display butterfly wings and beetles under labels identifying their species. We will take our binoculars into the woods and watch quietly for the robin to return from her migration. We will sit on the back porch and listen to the songs carefully so we can identify the whistle of the cardinal and the sewing-machine-like chatter of the sparrow.
I did these things as a young student beginning in fourth grade and I enjoyed those moments of knowing. Knowing when I saw the little chickadee head pop out of the nest, exactly what he would say. Knowing when the flicker found the pear tree in our back yard that he would make a good neighbor. Knowing that the little bird that appeared lost and confused because he climbed down the tree head-first was simply a nuthatch with a good grip, who finds things other birds miss because he looks from a different perspective.
We are the nuthatches of education I suppose. Looking at the world available to us from another direction and often times finding things that were missed by the rest of the world. Planning, pursuing, packing in as much as possible in the 36 weeks of required education has indeed turned my world upside down, but I have found what I passed over before, in the moments of inspiration that come from seeing my children grow in wisdom, reason and expression. It is so much more than knowledge. I will never be one to argue that our choice to homeschool is superior, but I will always defend it for how it fits us where we are.