This past weekend, I began the arduous task of cleaning out my schoolroom. In the blitz of raising my 7 children, and educating them, I stashed too often and sorted too little. There was just so much action, so many needs, so much that was more important than cleaning. And it looks now as if time stood still in my schoolroom, while the years ticked by and the children grew up.
As I sort and toss the broken crayons and the random multiplication flash cards, I am encountering sweet, scrawling handwritten reports and notes from those beloved children who once made this room so full of life and learning. And drawings and project plans and dreams. Oh, I hope I spent my time with them teaching what really matters! I hope my focus was in the right place.
While you are deep in the homeschooling years, it seems that it will go on and on. It seems that there is time for lots more geography and years for English. Truly, it flees so fast! Shockingly fast. And those little hands that struggled to hold their pencil correctly now wear wedding rings.
It is hard for me to clean out this room. It is difficult to part with those little phonics readers that each beloved child learned to read on. And the adventure stories so attentively listened to while I read them aloud to a rapt audience of shining-eyed children. A whole childhood of training seems condensed into this room.
So what matters? Not the things I worried about for sure, such as getting into college or learning grammar or Algebra. Not to discount those issues, but they aren’t the main thing. The main thing is to help raise a person of integrity and goodness. Kind. Faithful. Trustworthy. Pure. Full of love for God, family and freedom. If that is the result of your efforts, you have been a very successful “homeschool mom” indeed.
Homeschooling allowed me the opportunity to infuse truth and testimony into every subject. Science is the masterful organization of God’s creation, revealed in the world around us. Math, the order and patterns by which the universe works. English: the gift to express, uplift, commune, influence, testify. History: human lives lived in every circumstance and few as favored as ours. The realization that there are no new sins, and that virtue is never out of date. As homeschoolers, we teach a worldview, not just academic subjects. The children learn to see the world through the window of our values. Transfer of values: the first and foremost subject.
What a wonderful project homeschooling is! What a noble thing, mothers, to dedicate your strength and energy to! Louisa, 15, is still homeschooling, but as my last child moves through the high school years, I know our days together are numbered. I have other interesting projects—things to do—but in pondering, I feel nostalgic because there is no career as meaningful and far-reaching as shaping our children’s hearts and minds. There is no project that packs half the power. If you are there right now, in the busy schoolroom stage, know that your efforts really matter. You are making a tremendous difference! Do your best, and make sure you enjoy. It matters.