Is everyone tired of the word unprecedented? 2020, I’m looking at you!
So, let’s try something different. How about remarkable? Is that annoying?
Remarkable means worthy of attention, striking. Unprecedented, in contrast, means never done or known before.
What if we did an exercise in reframing? Maybe 2020 with all its unprecedented remarkableness could be an invitation? Instead of putting so much focus on the unknown, we could remember what we do know and pay attention to it. Please don’t hear me downplaying the difficulty and grief of all that we are encountering – some to degrees beyond my comprehension. What I am simply saying is that we have the ability to choose our focus. We can remember what we know instead of all the things we don’t. Everything doesn’t have to be unprecedented.
Most of us know how to love our kids and meet their needs in ways that no one else can. Many of us are looking at a year that could include the word homeschool. Just saying it may cause you anxiety. I’d like to offer some reassurance and hope. It might not be easy, especially for those who are trying to juggle a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be terrible. This could be an occasion to understand parts of your child’s education experience that you hadn’t previously and an avenue for deeper connection with them. This is true whether you are actually doing the homeschooling yourself – as in choosing their curriculum and teaching it, or whether you are helping facilitate their online learning. This year doesn’t have to be a drudge.
We are on our eighth year of homeschool. It has been wonderful and winsome in so many ways, but I wouldn’t use effortless as a descriptor. There are humans involved. It’s the push and pull every day. Our wills rub up against each other. Homeschooling has allowed me ample opportunity to instill larger lessons in my children that I’m still learning too. Oh, don’t worry, I know how to add and subtract and I can tell you a fair bit about the Enlightenment. What we are working on together is patience, grace, self-discipline, and so many other things that we fail and try again at every day.
Our culture by in large has reduced education down to the insertion of knowledge, but without wisdom knowledge is anemic. Wisdom is cultivated through love, compassion and humility. Wisdom is the framework of values that knowledge rests upon. It is taught most effectively as it is modeled. As parents, we are uniquely capable of giving these things.
So, don’t fret about creating the perfect school setting at home. Don’t stress over choosing the perfect curriculum. Do the best with what you have in front of you, and trust the one who created education to guide you as you seek to teach or help teach. Be diligent, but rest in His faithfulness and delight in the present. Julie Bogart says in her book The Brave Learner, “Connect to your children. The academics matter, but they follow. Your children’s happiness and safe, supportive relationship with you come first. Believe it or not, your children are happiest when they believe you are delighted by them.” And I would add that when they are happiest, their mind will be most open to learning. So, just stick with what you know. Love them well and nourish their imaginations. Block out the voices that are tempting you to make it more complicated or feel less than capable.
A reminder to all of us – education is a lifelong adventure. In its truest form it begins in wonder and ends in wisdom. Take a deep breath and notice the wonder around you. And in the words of St. Jerome, “It is our part to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot”
Grace and Peace to you this school year, I hope it’s remarkable!
PS – I highly recommend the podcast Read Aloud Revival. Enjoying books together is one of the easiest ways to learn.
Amy Spencer has been married to Ryan for 21 years. They have five boys ages 13-3. She dabbles in interior design and enjoys studying history. As you can probably understand, she never uses the restroom without checking the seat first.
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