It’s been interesting to reflect a little as I both packed up our last four years of homeschooling portfolios and prepared for our annual homeschool evaluations (which we did last weekend). A lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same.
Our curriculum choices haven’t changed that much. Tim started the girls with Singapore math but eventually switched to Christian Light Publications. Science has gone from Sonlight to other stuff and back again. Sonlight Cores have been a constant. Language arts… well, I’m all over the place with that. But what has really changed is my attitude. I no longer worry (much) about whether my kids are keeping pace with their public schooled peers. It’s like I’ve told them from the beginning when they asked if their friends knew more than they did: “You’re learning different things. There are some things that they know more about, and there are other things that you know more about.” I’ve realized that it’s okay if my kids can’t write as long a paragraph or essay as the PS kids in the same grades, something that used to bother me a lot. But really, why does a 3rd grader need to be able to do that, anyway? To pass the FCAT? Not my kids. As long as they are developing the building blocks for those kinds of skills to be in place when they actually will need them, I’m satisfied. And they are doing that.
What my kids are learning right now isn’t multiplication, or verbs, or outlining, or the American Revolution. What they are learning is how to get along (or at least how not to kill each other), how to get rid of (almost) everything you own, how to say goodbye well, how to prepare for life in another culture. We haven’t “done school” for weeks, but we all are learning these things and more every day. And to me, that’s what homeschool is really about: learning what you need to learn, when you need to learn it. Dates and grammar can wait: we’ve got more pressing things to learn about right now.
I am really looking forward to the day when we’re settled in our new home in Thailand, when we can get the books out again and continue our more formal studies. But in the meantime, the school of life is keeping us plenty busy with its lessons.