To me, teaching is more than delivering content. It is more than facilitating learning. It is about connecting with the soul of the child and inspiring them. The true value in homeschooling is in the opportunity not to direct their learning, but to kindle their fires and breathe life into their passions.
This year has been about rebuilding for our homeschool journey. After six years of treading water in the wake of my son’s death, I finally feel able to set goals, plan and carry things through. That isn’t to say nothing happened all these years, but we were on a kind of autopilot while I focused as much on getting through the day as I did on reaching my children’s hearts. This alphabet challenge has been good for me as I go through the reasons we homeschool and try to catch some of that vision I once had.
But it’s been hard as well. It’s been hard to see where I’ve gone astray. Where I’ve replaced relationships with worksheets. Where I’ve emphasized routine over creativity. Sometimes, giving grace to myself is the hardest of all.
Still, we’ve always maintained a commitment to supporting our children in their passions. In a world that seems dominated by apathy, I have always wanted to inspire my children to reach a little higher, push themselves a little further and strive for a little more. As a Christian, I ultimately want to see that passion and energy and fire applied to Christ and His work. But their own interests can be a path to capturing their hearts as much as they can be used as tools to capture the hearts of others.
We are starting to see the fruits of that in our eldest. After my son died, she was, for a time, lost. She was angry over losing him, angry (I think) over losing us and angry at being alone when she needed someone most. But she had always had a passion for horses. She wanted to become a veterinarian so she could work with them. She devoured books on horses. All she thought about was horses.
And I think one of the hardest things I have ever done was buy her a horse. After losing a child in a household accident, putting another child on the back of a 1500 pound animal was no easy task. But I swallowed my anxiety and found a horse.
Somewhere in the middle of her algebra book, she realized she would never make it through veterinary school. Horses, she loved. Math, she did not. She started to focus her career goals on education until the farrier came out to trim the horses’ hooves and mentioned by the wayside that she was about ready for farrier school. Something clicked in her mind. It was as if this were what she had been waiting for. And now she is down in the Ozarks, spending all her days shoeing horses and learning the art of farriery. And so far, doing quite well.
How was I to know that the death of her brother and the gift of that horse would eventually weave themselves into her testimony? That those would be the reasons she ultimately would pursue a career working full time to reach children for Christ? And that she might use her love of horses to make some side income to make her missionary work possible?
To light a fire only takes a tiny spark. And I pray that we are able to help each of our children find their sparks to kindle their own fires.
This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!