Friday, July 18, 2014

the magic of margin

so i'm about to enter my third official year of homeschooling.

that actually doesn't make sense to me, because it still somehow feels like i am in the middle of my very first year. there is still so much to figure out, so much i want to be doing.  the world is so big, the book lists are so very long and the philosophies are seemingly endless.  the trivium? classical education? memorization? history timelines and holistic learning?  oh yes, that sounds amazing.  Charlotte Mason? nature journals? fine arts studies and classical music and handicrafts?  yes, yes and yes.

baking soda, colored vinegar and eye droppers.  fun, fun, fun. 

there are cottage schools and writing classes.
there are history programs and charlotte mason co-ops and art classes and literature studies and really?  you could homeschool your kiddo in the heart of colorado springs and never actually be home at all.

i'm kind of a mess when it comes to all of this.  when it comes to settling my heart down and seeing what God has for us, for this year.  i want it all for them, ALL of it.  the best education, the best curriculum, the best life experiences, long hours of reading on the couch together in the late afternoon, creative, messy art projects, friendship and structure, imaginative play and free time.....all of it.

i was catching up on shauna neiquists blog this morning and she encouraged readers to take a minute and write down times where you've felt truly ALIVE and at PEACE at the same time.  and then strive to make choices and boundaries that allow for that to happen more in your life.

this practice was super easy for me.  i feel most alive and most at peace when i'm sitting down with my cup of coffee in the morning after a run, staring into the days schedule and a smile creeps across my face when i see that we have no where to be.  during these days we can loosely follow the routine/rhythm that i've slowly set up for ourselves over the past few years.  i can say "yes" to one more book, i can say "yes" to getting out the paints, "yes" to getting dirty outside, "yes" to sprawling out legos all over the play room floor (everything is awesome).  during these days our school takes longer, but i believe it is better comprehended and takes deeper roots when we're not just trying to get through it. it doesn't matter if math takes longer or if avery wants to play hangman after language arts.  we have space, we have margin.  and in my short three years of homeschooling i've come to believe that so much education happens in the margins of our day.  

ann voskamp has those daily task sheets that you can print out and fill out in the mornings before your kiddos wake up.  they are meant to keep you on task throughout your day and remind you of the most important things that need to get done.  i am drawn to those types of practices.  and i used to have maybe 4 or 5 items on my "to do today" list and after a quiet revelation from Jesus, that list now contains just 1 item.

be kind.

i realize that i desire to be kind to my kids more than i want the laundry to get washed, more than i want the math lesson finished, more than vacuumed floors and tidied play rooms.  if i can go a whole day of speaking kindly and choosing love and gently leading and disciplining my kids, even if my house is messy and school is undone, i can consider it a successful day because i finished everything on my list.

i'm laughing at myself, because i'm rewriting 1 Corinthians 13 for homeschoolers in my mind right now:

"if i complete math and language arts and have a fantastic history lesson and a hands on science experiment all in one day, but do not love I AM NOTHING.
if i do all the research and have a full proof schedule, if i'm up to speed on the hottest curriculum and philosophies but do not love I'VE GOTTEN NO WHERE.
if i read The Well Trained Mind and devour For the Children's Sake, but do not LOVE, IT'S ALL FOR NOTHING."

i think i'm realizing more and more that i'm drawn to homeschooling because of the lifestyle it can create for us.  one of LIFE and PEACE.  education and the best philosophy and the greatest curriculum, while i LOVE all of those things and i will not stop researching and reading and changing and tweaking, they are not my main focus, they're not the end game.

i want our home to be a place of kindness.  a place where we broadcast the love of Jesus and where my kids are secure and confident in their identity in Him.

as i'm thinking through the fall, i want to be sure that we have several days at home during the week.  days i can say "yes" and let the margins of our day do their magical work.

all pictures in this post taken from "yes"days with plenty of magical margin. 


Courtney Cassada said...

i ADORE this. this is what my heart screams. i'm always trying to "find" more margin!

Miss G said...

Mandy, this is so, so great! I think we could sit down and have a huge long wonderful chat about all of this! But not if it means overscheduling our families to do it. :) Kelly