Last September when I organized and planned for the 2011-2012 school year I did something I haven't done before - took a video of the kids. I asked them a few questions and recorded their responses.
Sitting there, on the trampoline, with my children - hearing their goals, dreams and inspirations I was reminded once again about the purpose of this homeschool journey - helping our children discover and become who they want to be.
Following that session with the kids I took a few moments to write a vision for this homeschooling year. It wasn't a sit-down planning session where I had thought for days and days to come up with a 5 point purpose for the year. The inspiration came, I took a few moments (really that's all the time it took) and I scribbled this so I wouldn't forget.
I want to learn to listen better to who my children are. I want to listen with open ears and heart to their ideas, dreams & desires. I don't want to superimpose my own inhibitions and negativity (my pessimism and doubt) on their dreams. I want to be the person, or one of the people, that opens their minds to the possibilities for their future.
I wrote it on a pretty index card (thanks Naomi for these) and stuck it in the cover of this year's homeschool binder. I really like binders with clear plastic cover sheets for this purpose. It keeps inspiration close at hand.
We think it's so complicated - curriculums, philosophy, resources, "socialization". Unschool, classical, Waldorf, Montessori - on and on. How do you choose? How do you know what's right for your child? your family?
You listen to your heart, you listen to your partner. You listen to your own dreams and desires (you know the family life you want - build your homeschool around that). You listen to your child. You listen to the Spirit.
There's a lot "out there" competing for our attention. It's distracting and pulls us away often from the answers we wil find if we stop to listen.
Today at Simple Homeschool I share this message of listening to your children, as one of the compass points in your homeschool. I'm also talking about love (being that it's Valentine's week and all) because love is the foundation of it all, and from that love we listen and trust and help each other grow.
One of my mothering mentors shared a piece of wisdom with me years ago that I need to remind myself of, nearly every day.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8
I can be so hard on myself as a mom. I think that comes naturally to us mothers. Mothers carry a huge responsibility for our children's moral and character development, bodily health and well being, and for us homeschoolers, our children's education on top of it all.
Not trying to scare you here, but mothers have the privilege and responsibility to mold lives - that's a big job. Want to change the world? If you're a mother you have that opportunity in raising your children.
That responsibility can feel like a burden and not the blessing that it is. I so easily lose sight when I strive for perfection (in mothering, homemaking, creativity, etc) and forget this vocation of raising children is a process not a product.
And when that happens, when I carry too much weight, when I mess up every day (I'm not being self depreciating here, I seek forgiveness from my children for something I've done - an attitude or action - nearly every day), when I go to bed worried and exhausted, when I've been less-than (less patient, less forbearing, less disciplined) what I want to be - I remember this: love covers a multitude of sins; mine!
I love love!
How hokey is that? But really, it's how I feel. I love this love.
Love that covers. Love that listens. Love that accepts. Love that forgives.
There is freedom and joy in this place.
Freedom for our children to grow, develop and learn. Freedom for me to grow, develop, and learn. Joy in the giving and the living of this love.