Learning at Home, Life Examined

Freedom to mourn.

A photo by Charlie Harutaka. unsplash.com/photos/Gacd_XeSGQk

One of the reasons we teach our children at home is so that our family can move through life in a way that makes sense to us.  Bad days, difficult seasons, sickness, and death are all natural parts of living.  It’s nice to be able to step back from the race during these times and take care of ourselves and each other.  Much is learned through adversities such as these, though it rarely has anything to do with the 3 R’s.

Sadly, our family has gotten to experience the benefits of this freedom just weeks into our first year of homeschooling.  On September 29, my grandma was killed in a car accident.

It was sudden and unexpected.  Torture to have to break to the girls.  Heart wrenching.  I am shocked and speechless, still.  I’m angry and appalled at the idea that such a life as hers could end so ungracefully on a rainy Thursday morning on her way to pay her taxes.

I’ll never forget sitting there on the back porch with Grandpa’s number ready to be dialed, frozen and unable to press the button to call.  He had bad news, he had said in the message.  I figured as much, since it was he who called and not Grandma.  He needed me to call him back, but it was hard to bring myself to do it.  I’ll never forget the distinct feeling that once I hit that button to dial, my life would change forever.  I knew I was positioned within a chasm.  There was a huge part of me that wanted to remain there, forever “safe” within my ignorance.  Moving forward and dialing the number took all the will I possessed.

Of course, our life came to a full stop in that moment.

Deep breaths and moving one foot forward at a time is the name of the game around here lately.  I’ve been mourning in snippets.  Little moments I can grab where I step inside my bedroom, shut the door, and bawl my eyes out.  It’s not that I don’t want the kids to see me break down, it’s more about needing time and space to breath and process.  Grief is just so… crippling and confusing.

The kids are okay.  Jyllian is still grieving over the tragic loss of a friend over the summer, and now this.  She didn’t get to tell Grandma that she made it into chorus and art enrichment, and she’s having a hard time dealing with that.  Katie is sad because she won’t be at her birthday party now.  This was the only thing she could think to say when she so bravely offered to stand up at Grandma’s funeral, though she had prepared a beautiful speech beforehand.

It’s been a blessing to have the freedom to walk through this in our own time. It’s just really hard to give a crap about fractions right now.

Learning at Home

An education manifesto.


“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”  Deuteronomy 11: 18-20

We are family first – but also fellow human beings, destined to discover the beauty and wonder of this world together.  Relationships drive our days.  Love covers all.

We educate the whole person, knowing there is so much more to life we need to know than just head knowledge.

We value progress, not perfection.

We find God in it all.

Our to-do list – while a guide – is not our authority, and therefore does not rule.

We are eclectic in our methods.  We believe that time in nature, a great discussion, a good book, or a well-timed giggle session all have the power to teach us much of what we really need to know; textbooks and worksheets have their place, too.

We seek to serve our world, our community, each other.  We do our part.

The goal is compassionate leaders, voracious readers, world-changers, lifelong learners, and independent, responsible people who love with wild abandon.

We live and learn one day at a time, knowing that each new sunrise brings a fresh start; a new beginning.

Photo // Unsplash