Monday, August 30, 2010

Butterflies or Back to School?

As a home schooling family, just like everyone else, we often get asked the question "When are you starting school?" This year, having the market garden which is still producing in it's bounty, it is rather hard to set a start date as we have done in years past.

This year, like most of the rest, our summer has been ripe with learning opportunities: Marketing & Math are excellent training for the older boys. The younger boys also have a myriad of learning opportunities as they observe their world of wonder, things that their older siblings have already gleaned.

Just one science project that the twins are observing is the process of a caterpillar they found change into a cocoon, then a chrysalis and finally into the butterfly that they have determined through research that it will become --- so much more fun & real & enduring than learning from a book. We review Math, addition & multiplication, happens in the garden while picking 5 handfuls of 10 beans or 8 sets of 3 peas -- then whispering to Mommy how many beans/peas they picked etc. The concept of dozens happens while washing & packing eggs into cartons. Temperature is watched closely on the computer weather website -- do we need to water the garden today or cover it because it might freeze tonight? Will we have a few dry days in a row to cut the hay & get it baled before it gets rained on? Of course, counting money is a natural after a successful day at the market -- checking the coins to find special ones to add to their collections is incentive enough to rifle through the change & identify each one!

Of course, as home educating parents, we also know where our students are at - what they are capable of learning and/or need yet to learn - so we can capitalize on those prime opportunities that God gives to input new information into their lives or emphasize facts, theories & character into our children. Each day God gives grace & insight, He is there to fill our gaps & to "take back the years that the locusts have eaten" when we fail. Though we try not to fail, being human, we often fall short. Yet, He has blessed us with each child. It is He on Whom we can rely to teach & direct each child into their strengths & purpose for which He has made them. He loves them all infinitely more than we ever could, yet He saw fit to give us the joy of loving, knowing & training each child. What an honor! We strive to be found faithful & look toward the eternal reward, to hear His words "Well done, though good & faithful servant."

So, in reality, we are always in school - the school of life. Our school never ends, though we do put away some books & scale back the academic schedule for the busy outdoor summer months, but we never need to go back to school. We're always learning - a goal we hope to instill on our children is a "love of learning" along with the skills to learn.

To God be the Glory!

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