You wake up with your day already mapped out like a cross-country road trip. Immediately, you proceed to conquer the day’s agenda. Shuttling one or more kids to outside classes or activities (Home schooling is a misnomer!), sitting down with your students in a “take-turns-this-is-a-one-room-schoolhouse” format, and getting breakfast and lunch on the table in a semi-healthy, quasi-efficient manner, you take a deep breath. There are still emails to answer, groceries to buy, as well as new shoes for growing feet, haircuts for unruly hair, orthodontists for wayward teeth—and minor miracles to perform before dinner appears on the table.
The evening is consumed with chores, family catch-up time, a little assistance with math problems, and –oh yes—some reading in the book you intend to use for “deep, rewarding discussions” (school or life-related) with your high schooler. Suddenly the day is over and you realize that you’ve been on the move all day.
“Home schooling,” I was told by a seasoned mom early in my own homeschool exploration, “is not something you simply add to your lifestyle.” What an understatement! Home education, in fact, becomes your lifestyle. And though we are committed to the task, stimulated by the challenge, and humbly grateful for all God’s blessings, there are times when we would love the chance to just sit around and do nothing. What happened to those good old days? Will they ever return?
Though we fully realize how few and far between these moments of unstructured time are, homeschoolers are undoubtedly in a better position than traditional-school families to capture and enjoy them. Those five minutes spent looking out the window together at the antics of the neighbor’s cat are followed, of course, by going out and playing with the cat and taking countless photos. The priceless spur-of-the-moment hour spent talking to your son or daughter (when, admittedly, you both had many tasks “scheduled” for that hour) builds a stronger bond between the two of you. The time spent doing dishes with your kids and getting the giggles over something ridiculous ends up becoming a freeze-frame of life that you’ll want to remember. As our kids grow and change so quickly, these are moments to make the most of spontaneously as they come along. Warning: they are always unannounced and unplanned!
As an “empty-nest” veteran homeschool mom, I have an enhanced appreciation for these motley but miraculous moments. Looking back on our years of home education, I smile at some of the creative, unique ingredients stirred into our own particular homeschool “recipe.” And I wish that we had taken even more opportunities to set aside the heavy books for a moment and indulge in dreaming, creativity, or even that mysterious magic of doing nothing, if just for an hour or two. The paradox is that on the surface, these moments look like “doing nothing,” but deep down, they can be rich and full if they serve to spark ideas, strengthen family relationships, or nurture dreams.
Even as we are immersed in school and life, let’s take these moments as they come, to appreciate the unique gifts of God that are children are to us, and to enjoy and savor some occasional time spent doing “nothing” together!
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