Time. It’s one of those things I’ve been struggling with lately. Balancing homeschooling with outside activities, plus the tasks and monotony of daily life equals a mess without a routine…and sometimes meaningful moments with my kids fall through the cracks.
On my podcast about leading your homeschool in love, one thing I failed to mention is how easy it is for me to forget how important paying attention to those small cues are. You know, those cues when your children are nudging you with, “Mom, can we play a game?”, and your reply is “in a minute”, but a minute never comes.
I’ve been challenged head on, girl-to-woman, by my 10 year old daughter this weekend. This kind of confrontation doesn’t happen often with her because she’s my easy-going one. But when she speaks I tend to pay attention. She possesses an inner wisdom that takes me by surprise and sort of pops up in the form of wise observation when I least expect it.
So the other day when I asked her, “what kinds of changes would you like to see made in our home school?”, she came up with a list beyond anything I could expect.
“I want more science”, she told me. “Like gardening, and more experiments”. And for history? Lapbooking. Lots of lapbooking. (Honestly, I didn’t think she’d care that much about the format of our learning, but obviously it matters). And art history. Instead of just learning about American history, she suggested learning about the history of artists (because art is one of
“And I want to sew more things and learn more about how to make different clothing pieces.” (That suggestion alone sent us to register her for a local fashion design course in our area designed for students her age). “And while I’m learning about fashion design,” she mentioned, “I may as well learn about fashion history”. her favorite subjects).
Wow. See, now these are ideas I would never have thought of. When it all boils down to it, at the end of the day, I’m typically looking at our core subjects (math and grammar), but I would have never taken the time to consider some of these options she mentioned.
“I love art and piano, mom. If I could just play the piano and draw art pieces all day long, I’d be super happy”, she pleaded.
In all my motherdom with homeschooling and planning, even if I wanted to let her draw all day, I’d eventually reel her back in to some math and language arts. It’s in my nature.
As much as I love to relax, there is still a part of me that is traditional in how I view education- and I’m working on it. I’m working on relaxing more. I encourage others to relax more. But in reality, I could never be an unschooler. I try to balance the “extracurriculars” with the “core academics” too much.
So…I leave her plea to cling to her beloved art and piano as a step of faith that I have to grow into, and an open invitation for me to learn how that I, the teacher, can learn to trust her, the student…trust her enough to know that by exploring her passions more, she is learning what truly matters for her.
“I do like listening to the Daily Audio Bible Kids a lot,” my daughter admitted. “That, plus doing a daily devotional with you would be fun…but we don’t do those so often anymore. We used to…”
My heart saddened.
And she went on, “Mom, if we could spend more time together, just playing games together I would like it. Like, you’re always busy or at the computer or cleaning. I just want to play games with you.”
And that was all I needed to hear.
It was the only motivation, the only kick in the rear I needed to get myself on the road to freedom- the kind of freedom that stems from understanding our relationships and how important they are to us.
It’s the kind of freedom that understands our priorities and knows when to say “no” or “enough” of certain things. Only when I can afford to say “no” to cleaning or cooking or blogging or setting out clothes for the next day or doing the laundry long enough to play a simple game of UNO am I truly free of the chains I often place on my own wrists (under the guise of “homeschooling”).
In reality, those chains are there because we put them there. I told myself I didn’t have the time. I told myself I had too much work to do to relax. I pushed myself with all the busy-ness of life, and I’m the one who missed out on the moments, those relaxing moments that I could have had if I’d had my priorities in order to begin with.
Honestly, the dishes can wait. The laundry will be there tomorrow. Computers beckon us to come practically everytime we pass one. Cooking is a never-ending regime- there’ll be time to make another meal, yet again.
But those moments that our kids are young and asking for our attention- are priceless. There is no time in the world that can bring those moments back. So I want to take advantage.
Lord, help me to value the time you have given me. Help me to validate my children with the short time I have in their lives to mentor and love on them while they are still children.
Most of all, help me to honor You with my time.