Friday, May 21, 2010

What the Teacher Learned.....

Last weekend I attended a conference with a sweet friend from church. We are about to begin our 5th year of homeschooling and this is my first conference, but is should come as no surprise that the timing was exquisite!
I have talked with moms who have gotten wonderful unit study plans and ideas, been inspired by new teaching methods and come home with a trunk load of great deals on new curriculum. I did not have my mind directed to any one path and was anticipating that God would meet me there at my greatest point of need - which of course He was clearer on than I was ;-) Well, I was not at all disappointed! I did come home with a few books - none of them curriculum mind you. I came home refreshed by the wonderful fellowship that we enjoyed and feeling that I had made some new "mom" friends - can never have too many of those. I came home tired and a little weary - sleeping on a camp bunk bed was not restful in any way shape or form. The thing that I came home with that took up no space in the car and cost nothing but that I believe will transform our homeschool experience from this day forward was completely unexpected but was of course what I needed more than anything and didn't realize it - FREEDOM!! A big beautiful, customized just for us, tied up with a gorgeous bow, dose of FREEDOM!!
Now let me tell you a little about me and my homeschooling methods, I am by nature, a rule follower - always have been. If a worksheet has 30 math problems we should complete all 30 regardless of how easy/hard they are, and we are not done or ready to move on to anything else until all 30 are done. Cross those T's and dot those I's - I am all about do it right and do it well!!
My paradigm got an extra large and less than gentle shift and oh my - Wonderboy could not be happier ;-) When I left to attend the conference we had about enough work to fill a week left to complete, when I arrived home Saturday night I announced that 3rd Grade was officially done, much to the delight of all involved parties.
Let me share with you the simple truths that brought me to this glorious place called Freedom. The beauty of this is in it's simplicity. Light drives out darkness. What matters most to us as parents who are raising our children for God is who they are not what they know right? Success in our eyes as Christians does not look the same as it does to the rest of the world. Sure, I would love for Wonderboy to excel at his chosen path and earn a good income, have a good life and not live in want, but more than that, I want him to be a man of godly character and wisdom, a man of heart who reflects Jesus in all he says and does - this is not any measure of success in the world in which we live. In the United States today, we educate based on a system that was/is designed to provide an abundant, compliant workforce that would bolster the economy and keep the machine operating at maximum capacity. We are not producing thinkers, we are telling our kids what to think. For more on this - and there is more, I would challenge you to read Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculm of Compulsory Education by John Taylor Gatto.

Andrew Pudewa was one of the keynote speakers at the Annual CHEF State Conference. I found him to be an engaging and inspiring speaker with an ability to cut away all the excess and get right to the meat of things. A homeschooling dad of seven, he is well equipped to share from many places within the homeschool journey and provide living examples of what he was 'ministering' to the audience. I always trust someone who has walked it out and can sight real examples over the long haul -several of his children are now grown and functioning adults. One of the things that he talked about that hit me smack up the side of the head was that if we are having character issues with our kids that we should deal with these before any academic training takes place. He spoke of one of his children that was struggling in various areas and how they chose to put all academics on hold while they focused completely on getting the areas of character where they needed to be. The result he says is a child who is self motivated and has a God given desire to learn because they want to learn not because they have to. This was a remarkable idea to me!

The idea is this - pray for your child and seek God's will for their life, allow Him to birth and direct their passions and be obedient to encourage and facilitate them. By allowing our children to pursue what they love we equip them with a love of learning that will last a lifetime and extends far beyond what is considered to be 'school'. This was huge freedom to me - and yes we will still do bible, math, science, language arts, history and geography BUT we will do it with passion and pleasure and not the 'have to' mentality which robs all joy from the journey.

Somewhere recently I heard/read that as we seek God and home educate our children that we walk completely in the center of His will. I want to be there and lead by example that this will be the way of life without question for the generations that follow.

Wonderboy is a complex and wonderful child, God has privileged me beyond words by trusting me with his care and upbringing. I so want to bring a smile to His face and be told "well done, good and faithful servant" when I answer to Him for our homeschool years. Seeking Him and allowing Him to guide our steps is the key to it all and although that is not new, the perspective is - Freedom Academy is now open with an enrollment of one.

That Saturday night when I returned from the conference, I told Wonderboy I had one last assignment for him to complete 3rd Grade - a list of things that he would like to learn about in 4th Grade. He sat a moment and launched into a list which I told him he would have to write down (you understand - it's an age thing ) the list included - Lewis & Clark, Sacajawea, The Titanic, China, The Salem Witch Trials, Slavery, Klu Klux Klan and several more that escape me at the moment.
I am so looking forward to 4th Grade - I certainly have plenty to learn!
Learning as I go,


1 comment:

Marsha said...

I got hit upside the head with many of the same truths, Leisha. I'm determined that I'm no longer going to be a slave of the curriculum. It's going to work for me instead! I love, love, love Wonder Boy's list of things to learn. It's the history major in me, I guess! Have a great weekend.

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