[This is a blog post that I began a few months ago, but didn't finish. The ideas are resurfacing, so I am leaving the beginning as is and updating on the end.]
As we are nearing summer, Emma has felt the pressure of her peers to be “finished with school.” I find the whole idea ridiculous. We are never finished. I am certainly not finished. I am always pressing forward, curious to learn more and more.
In the early years of homeschool, I felt a sense of starting and finishing a school year, normally by working through a scheduled curriculum with 36 weeks.
But when God turned our lives upside down with a few major upheavals, I learned quickly to hold on to my plans very loosely. Out of necessity, I had to change my outlook from an emphasis on checking off boxes in the teacher’s guide to one on forward motion. If we are learning — learning anything — then we are moving forward. And that is progress.
But my cover school requires some paperwork and letter grades to somehow assign a value to all we have experienced during the last nine months, and I will oblige. I learned a foreign language as an adult. I understand how to “translate” things into a language that the listener can understand. That’s all my paperwork is, really.
Now it’s the start of a new school year. With less than three weeks under our belt, I am amazed at how quickly the novelty wears off and Emma zeroes in on highlighting her completed assignments instead of enjoying learning.
I love to mark things off the to do list as much as anyone else. But if school is trivialized into a list of tasks to complete, then all the joy has been sucked out of it. This is not why we homeschool. She can do that at public school.
It is the difference between wolfing down a burrito supreme in the van and savoring a carefully prepared meal.
How can we encourage our children to savor instead of devour? How can we shift the focus to understanding and appreciation instead of completion?
I would love to hear your ideas in the comments. Do you see this conflict in your homeschool? How do you address it?
I’d love to write a follow up post in which I share my own ideas alongside yours. Let’s chat!