This is another of those posts that I’ve been trying to pull together for awhile, and it’s been even harder and slower to write than the frugal post. What’s made it hard is trying not to say exactly the same thing I’ve said so many times in different places: in homeschooling, simpler is better not only because it saves money and space, or because it’s more creative or more flexible, but because of heart.
I could write at length about how you teach with a bagful of yard sale stuff, or about how many math games we can play with a pair of dice and some file cards, but in the end, it comes down to heart. I kept circling around with ideas, trying to figure out what the “heart” of what I was trying to say—and I realized, that’s it. The best part of homeschooling is the heart part, and without that, nothing matters.
That’s why Crayons and I can just be sitting on the floor together finding numbers on a hundred chart and then reading “The Jumblies” for the umpteenth time, and I suddenly realize (for the umpteenth time) that this is exactly the way it should be. It’s about the neighbour we barely knew inviting us into her back yard to see her twenty different kinds of pterophyta (if you missed that one, pterophyta literally means “wing plant”—ferns). It’s about The Apprentice offering to help Ponytails put one of her birthday-present craft kits together. It’s what I wrote last year about coming home from somewhere and seeing dad legs and girl legs sticking out from under the car. It's about sometimes letting lessons go because Crayons is busy with Rhymes for Annie Rose and Ponytails is exploring an old adding machine that was given to us yesterday.
It’s about the Squirrelings’ growing familiarity with the photos on our ancient-history timeline; by the end of the year, Cleopatra and Homer and the Rosetta Stone will have become friends instead of strangers.
It’s about thinking through an education that is based on the knowledge gained from a wide reading of the best minds, in knowledge of God and His world, past and present. It’s about nurturing an educated conscience that is able to make moral decisions, act with wisdom, and show leadership. It’s about growing as good speakers, listeners, writers, thinkers; learning to follow a logical argument and discern a poor one. It’s about gathering all those little practical skills and bits of knowledge that help us function in daily life.
It’s about taking what you know and sharing it with others.
It's about knowing that there are bad days and even bad years and that it's still worthwhile.
And if you think this is on the short side for a post that's been percolating for awhile, let's just say that simpler is better.