The article linked here was interesting to read. It jogged a few memories for me.
FYI, this is very personal, I rarely share my beliefs on a blog that encompasses my creative work. You've been warned.
So please be respectful and think before you verbally react. Thank you.
As a homeschool mom I was always torn between offering large amounts of fort building time (they still talk about that) or insisting they finish their math (no fond reminisces there). I felt I would fail them if I didn't offer everything they needed to become mature intellectually stimulated preteens. (Reading Geo Washington's Rules of Civility didn't help. He copied them down as a teenager for crying out loud.)
Unschooling vs Academic Excellence. Charlotte Mason vs A Beka. So many options!!
I began as I meant to go on. I sought God for guidance, in terms of economy and their psyches. I continued to learn who my children were, listened for clues, watched the results, and adjusted as necessary.
One day I read a short piece by Donna Partow in our HS newsletter that solidified my choices. To roughly paraphrase; God is speaking here: "are you raising your child to be a genius who barely tolerates Me, or one who loves me and is a so-so student?"
Of course she, and I, strove for academic competence, but what a stress-release to work on the character first. So many times, in my own home, waiting was proven to be the best choice. Always. Each time they were able to bring their studies up to grade level in a very short time. I had the luxury to assess regularly. I only had 4 students after all. Also, who else in this world would care more than I for my children and their future decisions? No one. My mantra at the time was relationships before duties.
I had concerns; that we would embrace the ongoing HS sub-culture of judgment and superiority, of denying our struggles and projecting a false confident image, that my four daughters could lose their hard-won rights to be an equal voice in this world; pulled into the undertow of stifling, female submissiveness rampant in that HS culture.
I was less concerned over their spiritual lives. I left that up to Him. I exposed them to scripture, biographies, and the church culture; attempting to emphasize relationship over posturing. Sigh. The HS and church environments still fostered divisiveness and exclusionary tactics. You had to dig real deep for the gold; for Truth and genuine people. I hold fast to it, to them.
Missteps were made. I was learning here too. I wasn't even 30 years old yet. Every well-meaning adult gave input. Rarely did they trust my love for my children and my instincts for teaching them. I always heard (in a roundabout way) what even far-flung relatives felt about my decisions. Fear was battled every day when I considered what well-meaning people might do.
Trust me, this was no laissez-faire endeavor. Planning, research, verifiable evidentiary results, etc...went before every single decision. This is a 24/7 job, that I undertook for 14 years. Hey, what can I say?! I'm a dedicated kind of person.
(A sense of humor is not optional).
We may have looked like your typical HS family when we were in the trenches, but over time their individuality, and our personality as a family, emerged. This scared some families and our circle of friends changed and morphed accordingly. Que sera, sera.
Homeschooling did not create perfect students or perfect adults. It did create four adults who can communicate, reason, seek knowledge, debate, and care.
Their work ethic is amazing and their capacity to feel for others is incredible.
I never wanted our family to be typical anyhow.
Ciao for now,