One day, a few years ago my daughter, then only eight or nine years old, asked me to sit down on the sofa so she could play spa and massage my feet. I’m sure I was busy, but how could I refuse such an offer from my sweet little girl. She played relaxing classical music and used fruity smelling lotion, the whole works. But while she was pretending to be a massage therapist in a soothing spa, she had to remind me several times to relax. Finally, she exclaimed in exasperation, “Just RELAX already!” Then we both burst out laughing! It’s a funny notion that we might have to be reminded to relax in the midst of what should be a pleasant experience. Interruptions to our plans can be an unwelcome disruption or a joyful interval.
Seven years ago my son wisely interrupted my plans when he asked me if he could stay at home to learn. He was going into the fourth grade and it was a mere two weeks before the new school year was about to start. “Please Mom, will you teach me at home?” he pleaded, “After all, you were home schooled.” And true enough, I had been taught at home and I loved it.
Initially we had sent our children out to be ‘salt and light’ in the public school during our daughter’s Jr. and Sr. Kindergarten and our son’s kindergarten through third grades. But finally, when our son interrupted that plan and asked if he could be home schooled we had to stop and think and pray and focus on why we were doing what we were doing. And why not do what I had enjoyed so very much growing up and what our own child was now requesting from his parents?
The timing could not have been better for this interruption. Well, okay that’s debatable, if I had it to do over again I would have kept them home from the start. Our daughter had just graduated from kindergarten where she had been assisting the other children with their alphabet and phonics, since she had been reading already for a couple years (taught by her own mother at home… go figure). Her teacher had no other suggestion for us (not wanting to skip her ahead) than to either send her to a French immersion school where she could learn the same things she’d already covered- again, only in French… Or perhaps to teach her at home, which of course, she added, was probably an unlikely notion… Or was it?
So it was at the suggestion of our daughter’s public school teacher and in response to our son’s request that we decided to give home education a try. Just for one school year. If it went well, we’d consider renewing our commitment. Almost immediately we knew we’d be continuing this joyful interval of learning at home for the rest of their school days. We have been on this home learning adventure for nearly seven years now and I can confidently say that my children and I love it! My own amazing mother’s one piece of advice to me as I teach my children at home is only this, RELAX.
And that is the point of my writing. I am always grateful for words of honesty and encouragement for home educating parents, mostly moms, to RELAX! Those words might come from a young person, like my daughter or an older wiser woman, like my mother; or perhaps from a friendly blogger, like me? to encourage those of us who are on a similar journey. I’ll be honest; I can be very relaxed at times… and very stressed out at other times. But I know that God will use me to do the amazing things that He has planned for my own children and I to experience together, if I just RELAX and follow His lead. Besides, as my son pointed out, I was home schooled and I turned out just fine. *grin*
Some ways we love to RELAX is to listen to audio stories together, or make up our own stories and tell them to each other. We also like to RELAX and take ‘hug breaks’ in the middle of the school day or just stop everything and hop in the car and go for a drive; and perhaps listen to history on CD or make multiple stops along our winding way just to take that perfect photograph or pet some friendly horses or even splurge on ice cream cones simply because the sun is shining!
As the designer of a Living Education for my children I have the pleasure and privilege of spending each day with the wonderful children God has given me to nurture and educate for His purposes and glory. I am blessed to be able to RELAX and enjoy their company as we experience this joyful interval together.
What do you do to “Just RELAX already!”?© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2012.