The Real Reason I Homeschool

IMG_00011Look, there are a lot of reasons people have for teaching their own kids.  Many of them are good and compelling.  But, for me, most have faded over time.  I see my kids growing up and I think, They were always going to be OK. 

And, anyway, homeschooling is hard and can suck the life out of a person, especially a person who used to carry a planner.  Our warm educational fuzzies have grown a little threadbare during these middle years, and the tender platitudes that used to spur me on now find me with my fingers in my ears and, you know, maybe rocking in my bathroom.

But, so help me, there is one thing that hasn’t changed–and that is my need to go slow through this life.  It turns out that a poet crawled into my head and, having rattled around there, came back and wrote a poem that exactly describes my Actual Real Reason for doing this life the way I do.

To wit:

Leisure

by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

That’s my reason, folks.  What’s yours?

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Big Rocks

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What matters to you?  For me, the answer is simple:  other than my relationship with God, my family matters most to me.  To get more specific, how I guide my kids through the gauntlet of child-and-teenhood is of utmost importance to me during these brief years.  And that sounds great, right?  Many of us might say the same.  But the thing is, I get so distracted by all the good/interesting/fun/educational/creative/ministerial things I could be doing that I forget to keep my priorities straight.  Like the raccoon who can’t extricate his arm from a trap because he’s clinging to the shiny bit of tinfoil, I can hang on to activities or ideas I think are good even when they’re causing me to neglect the “main things” in my life.  A wise woman, teacher, and author, Sally Clarkson writes about the temptation for moms to get distracted by all sorts of things and forget to mother according to their most cherished ideals.  She reminds us that we only have a few big rocks (main things) we need to fit into the jars of our lives, but many little ones (everything else).  If we put the little rocks in first, you guessed it, there’s no longer room for the big rocks.  I don’t know what your big rocks are, or even if you’re a mother with kids in the home.  But I’d like to encourage you (and myself) that whatever matters most to you, whatever you know-as-you-know should be a the top of your life list, focus on that.  Give it priority, keep it out in front of you.  Don’t get distracted.  In the end, I think we’ll all be glad we kept the main things the main thing.