All through this time, a verse has popped up in my head every now and then.
Matthew 11:28-30 (Amplified)
28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
On the way home from Mardel's yesterday, God did it again. I had taken A1 and our basket down to the homeschool aisles. I filled it with every conceivable curriculum that I thought might be a good choice for us. The basket was full! We, then, headed to the Thomas the Tank Engine table where A1 cruised around and around the table, while I flipped through books and curriculum. (this is where I'll mention what looked like a great book for new (or confused!) homeschoolers - Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles by Gena Suarez).
I finally figured out what a "relaxed homeschooler" is and realized I'm not sure if I wanted to be in that category. And I read a section on Charlotte Mason and Ruth Beechick. As I read this section, I felt comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. Not the "I feeeeeel like having an ice cream" or "I feeeeeeel like not doing anything today" kind of feel, but a rest. I'm already very familiar with Charlotte Mason's views on education and I agree with her, even only knowing about her ways for a couple of years. The funny thing is, apparently I agree with Ruth Beechick, too, and I've had her books on and off my shelves for YEARS! I never got to them. Maybe I wasn't ready for the rest at that time. Maybe I wanted the hard, harsh, sharp way, because it is all I had ever known.
For so many years, I fought the urge to have an ecclectic choice of curriculum. I would look at friends who chose different things, instead of a boxed curriculum, with a sort of envy. I wanted that freedom, but I didn't know how to get it. There was a time when I used Konos, but the planning got to be too much and my children weren't retaining. Other than that, I've bought boxed curriculums. I would even say that My Father's World was boxed, because everything was included, except LA and math, and I even used several of their recommendations for that.
This year I'm adopting a new motto and philosophy that doesn't tie me to ANYTHING but Christ - Simply Free. It means that I'm simply free to break the chains of bondage to a particular curriculum, to the "traditional" classroom methods of education, to return to the old paths that God laid out at the beginning of time. See, Charlotte's and Ruth's methods may be new to us, but they aren't new to God.
Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 5And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. 6And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] 7You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.8And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. 9And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
These things which God was telling them to teach their children were natural and they were taught in a way that the children could remember them, through feasts and traditions, etc. Not because He wanted the feasts and traditions to become rules to be followed, but because He wanted them to KNOW them, internalize them, and makes these truths their own.
We are educating our children for life, not for a job, or for college. I don't want to enslave my children to textbooks. Now, I realize there are things that they must know and do in order to follow that path with God has given them. C13 must take science courses even though he doesn't like science. He has to have a few courses for college credit to go on and do what he loves - teach HisStory.
Simply Free means that I can choose a textbook for my child if it will help him in his God-lead role, but I don't want to hinder him with textbooks. Blah! Simply Free means that if I choose to use flash cards to teach B5 his letter sounds (which I won't), I can. Simply Free means P10 doesn't have to go to college, just because every other homeschooler we know goes to college (or she could and do College Plus like C13).
Simply Free means - Get off my back, Satan - you have no hold over me!
Joshua 24:15 (NASB)
15"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."