"Please don't make me take [that writing class] again this year!"
Such was my daughter's plea after doing a year-long writing class with our homeschool co-op last year. (My apologies to her teacher if she is reading this!)
The class actually was a good experience, and despite my daughter's complaining, she admits she really did learn a lot. But she couldn't get excited about another year with the same curriculum, and I had to agree--not because of the class itself, but because I know my daughter's weakness: grammar and mechanics.
Although she is a fantastic and voracious reader, for some reason the nuances of writing protocols seem to have escaped her notice, and being an English teacher by training, this exasperates me more than I'd like to admit. The truth is, I haven't had the chance (before now) to give as thorough of an education in this area as I would have liked...although, to be honest, that may have actually worked in my older children's favor, as I may well have been an overbearing teacher, using the same draconian techniques that were drilled into my own head as I wrote and rewrote rules I already understood and applied as a young student myself.
Back to the story. My daughter agreed that she would do whatever I put before her this year, acknowledging her weakness and desiring to improve in this area. And so the Grammar Guides were born!
This project has morphed into an entire course for our local homeschool co-op, and seeing the need, I have made all the lessons and even teaching videos accessible to other folks as well. If you think this would be helpful for yourself or someone you know, take a peek and see! The introductory price is L-O-W, and it's going up very soon!
We are finishing our 15th "official" year of homeschooling! It's hard to believe, and yet, as my daughter hangs up her freshly steamed wedding gown in the room next to me, I realize that it's true...I'm actually one of those seasoned homeschool moms who has been doing this so long it's "easy."
HAHAHA!! Who am I kidding?! I remember, when I was a mama of three kiddos three and under, looking at moms in their second or even third decade of homeschooling and being in AWE of how they seemed to have everything all together. Their homes ran like clockwork; they had systems in place; their children were well-mannered and looked adults in the eye while having an intelligent conversation with them. These moms had a patient, gentle spirit and wise words for any question I threw at them.
I couldn't wait to someday "have it all together" the way these moms obviously did.
Let's just pause a moment, shall we, and have a good laugh together?!
Because now...I know better! NO ONE "has it all together." (My apologies to the moms I put on a pedestal all those years ago, but I think they'd be the first to agree.) I believe years of experience allow us as parents to recognize what is truly important, to focus on the eternal rather than the daily check list. We have the opportunity to play to our children's strengths as well as to slow down and take time to work on their weaknesses. And I'm talking about spiritual formation and character development, not just academics and life skills.
Oh...that spiritual formation and character development? I should clarify...
I'm talking about me!
OK, maybe my kids, too. But this homeschooling journey isn't easy, and as many families have realized during these last few months of COVID-19 lockdown, it's not for everyone. (I do believe it's for more people than may want to admit it, though!)
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be "schooled" by my kids, who are unwitting vessels of God's grace, clearly used by the Lord to teach me my own daily lessons! Praise Him!
(Picture notes: The above photo is from 2013. We were living in Naples, Italy, and I was pregnant with our 7th child. The kids loved piling on our bed for our read-aloud time in the evenings, often done after the little ones were tucked in bed. The photos below show our oldest daughter from early in her homeschool journey to her graduation celebration two years ago.)