As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School

The last day of summer vacation is one that always makes me feel grateful for the path the Lord has laid before me.  For the first two years that my oldest was in school, I remember this day being so bittersweet.  Summer goes by all too fast, even when you are not committed to anything and you think you're laying low.  I always felt like my time was just taken away, and that before I even had a chance to catch my breath it was gone, and I was handing them over to the school for another year.

Most people probably think that I started homeschooling for religious reasons. But that isn't the case.  In fact, if religion was the only factor in this decision, my kids would all still be at our local Catholic school.  The principal and teachers are all dear friends of ours, and the education they provide is steeped in Catholicism and academically excellent.  No, the biggest thing for me wasn't religion, it was that I honestly believed the environment of organized school was not what was best for my children.  Watching my intelligent five-year-old boy struggle to sit still in class for a whole year when his little body just wanted to be playing, getting discplined for causing disruption after disruption after he had finished lessons early and began doing what came most naturally to him at a time when he was expected (and for the sake of the classroom, needed) to be sitting still and being quiet made me think that I could offer him something better at home.  A day that moved at his pace, an environment where he could move on to another lesson as soon as he was finished, a school day that could be completed in a matter of hours and not an entire day, leaving the rest of the day free for him to be a child.  And that is when my husband and I embarked on this journey that has been such a joy for the past three years.

It has not been without its trials.  But what continues to surprise me is how much it has benefited me.  I am so ready for school to start tomorrow.  Why?  Because the routine keeps us all in line, and makes our household run so much smoother.  I am certain that my house will not be as clean as it has been, and that I will probably be trying to keep my composure at many points throughout the day as I am pulled in so many different directions.  But that brings out the best in me, in all of us.  Education around here is not about shipping them off to let the experts do their thing - it's about working together as a family, so that together we can learn the things we need to learn in order to live.  It's so thrilling for me to see how far they've come, and to know that I've been a part of it. Homeschooling constantly turns the focus of the family in on each other, and while it can be pretty crazy at times, only the best things come from it.  It is a journey we take together, and I am so blessed to share this life with these little ones I love so much.

In a matter of hours, summer vacation will be over and our third year of homeschool begins. I do not feel that my days have been stolen.  We lived a big, full, and happy summer - crazy at times, but making so many great memories.  Tomorrow morning the kids will wake as usual, have breakfast, and get dressed for the day ahead.  And we will continue to make memories together, and their little minds open and their little lives unfold before my very eyes.  I am heading off to bed feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

Thank you Lord for the many blessings in my life that come through the great work you have set before me.  May I keep you ever before me as I enter into this new school year, and never forget what a blessing and privelege it is to be the first educator of these beautiful little ones.

Our Lady of Schools, pray for us!

"Raising children can be considered a genuine apostolate. It is a living means of communication, which not only creates a profound relationship between the educator and the one being educated, but also makes them both sharers in truth and love, that final goal to which everyone is called by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (Blessed John Paul II, Letter to Families)

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