This year marks our 13th year of officially homeschooling and as I reflect back over this journey I am in awe and humbled by what has been invested, how our family has been impacted and how I have changed as a mom and wife.
A few weeks ago I was talking with Kelly about all of the things I have learned about our home, family, children and myself over these years homeschooling. The biggest being myself. Whether your kids are in school, you homeschool, your kids have moved out or you have never had children…I think at some point of this list you may see yourself. Life is beautiful in the ways it allows us to change and grow when we are open to it.
1.Start Before You Are Ready
This is the story of my life but it has served me well. I have dived into schooling and business before I knew what I was doing and I figured it out along the way. I have constantly adjusted the plan when necessary but also stayed true to the heart of why I was doing it and if I got off track (because it happens) you find your way back.
2. Less Is More
When the kids were little I had the games, art supplies, books, curriculum etc. I had ALL THE THINGS and that was fine but the older the kids get the more I truly believe that less is more. When we don’t get distracted by the “stuff” we are free to see the learning, beauty, and connection all around us.
3. Any Moment Is Good For a Restart
We homeschool and run a business together from our land, home, and studio. We are together a lot and that means that there are days that we are not lovely, to say the least. Any moment is a good time for a restart when you feel that you are off and that it is impacting your own behavior or those around you. You have no idea how many times I have stopped our day and declared a do-over. We made the conscious decision to have a different kind of day. It has also been a good lesson to live in whatever you are feeling but to go be by yourself when you are feeling that way. Somedays you just need to be by yourself and that is OK and good and healthy.
4. We Are Atmosphere Changers
I know that I am the biggest atmosphere changer in my home. I set the tone. That is an honor and huge responsibility. It also requires humility and honesty. The restart above I talked about is often me. I need to change. I need to ask for forgiveness or I need to take a break to not selfishly impact all of those around me.
5. Don’t Save The Best For Others
This is probably one of my favorite things I have ever learned as a woman, mom, and wife. Show the people in your home (including yourself) that the good dishes, linen napkins, good food, pretty silver, good music, flowers, and candles are first and foremost for THEM. Your list may look different than mine but the intention will be the same. Instead of storing the prettiest things away for special occasions find daily reasons to live with your beautiful things, use them up and lavish those in your life. We really use ALL of the pretty things. I want my family to know that each day is worthy of the “good stuff”.
6. Become Lifelong Learners
We read, we talk, we question and we listen. If our children do not leave this house having the skills to gather information, process and then question what is around them then we have failed them. Our job is to not just allow them to “agree” with us but for our children to know where we stand and then find their own way. Our education goals for them have always been to have them become lifelong learners.
7. Be Present
Have a plan but be open to it changing. This lesson has been a big one for me. I love checklists, schedules, and accomplishments. I have also come to appreciate and truly love being open to what the kids are open to learning, when we just need to shut the books and go for a hike, take an impromptu “field trip” and be open to unexpected guests. When the weather is magic to take advantage of it and when there is a snowstorm to stop to play. When a child needs to talk that I notice the signs and completely stop and turn to them. The being present part of life is when all the good stuff happens.
8.There Is Not Just One Way
We can all do things differently and respect that different things work for each of us. This can be a curriculum, schooling, politics etc. Being able to stand in our differences and loving each other beyond what we have in common.
9. Find Your Gifts and See It In Others
So many times growing up I didn’t feel seen for my own gifts. That can be so hard to not feel honored and then try to fit into the giftings of others to fit in. Having children, being married and homeschooling our kids has opened my eyes to those around me and how I want to truly see, honor and recognize THEIR giftings. I can notice when friends and family don’t acknowledge our business etc. but then I have to be honest with myself that maybe I haven’t been seeing what is going on in their lives. It goes both ways.
10. I Don’t Just Love You…I Truly Like You
The best part of being a mom and having this time with the kids is being with THEM. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but nothing compares to the deep knowing that they are extraordinary people. Each one with their own gifts, personality, love language, and struggles. Each one with their own dreams and needs. It has been my greatest honor to watch them become and to continue to watch them unfold.
11. Launching Your Children Out Into The World Is Hard. But We Can Do It.
No matter if you have homeschooled your children or not…launching your children out into the world is altering to your whole family. We had been trying to get prepare Jack to launch since the day he was born. When the day arrived I kept looking at him and only seeing a baby, a toddler, a little boy playing with Legos. I was not ready. I was not ready to let him go. I had no idea how to do this but because I loved him so much I had to walk it out. He was no longer a child yet he was not an adult. He was at this strange age of needing us and not needing us as much. It literally hurt. Then he was moved into the dorm and before we knew it he was showing up to classes, getting his homework done and making new friends and I exhaled. He was launching. He would make mistakes, break our hearts and his, he would not do his best and other times give it his all. He was doing all of these things without us and it was good. I was good. Our family was good. We still catch ourselves missing him in our home day to day but we are launching in our own way too. We have two children at home to prepare and there are a lot of changes coming in the years ahead for Kelly and me. I guess launching never ends.
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