From Our House to Yours
Finding Joy in the Journey
About two decades ago, I began my homeschool journey. My nephew, Cole, was actually my first homeschool ‘student.’ Several days a week, Cole would come to “Aunt Julie’s” house while my little son, Wyatt, was napping. Oh the fun Cole and I had! His bright little eyes were full of wonder, and he was just so excited to learn! I looked forward to those times so much. There was much joy in the start of my homeschool journey.
Finding Joy in the Journey with My Own Little One
Fast forward a few years later, and I began homeschooling my own son, Wyatt. He was full of energy and smart as a whip! I loved homeschooling him! The only difference was, well, I was harder on him. We’d have such fun doing Heart of Dakota‘s Little Hands to Heaven together. There was joy in that part of the journey. But, the rest? Well, I just made it way too hard for my little guy. If we went on a nature walk, I wanted to ‘help’ him draw a perfect replica of the flower or frog we’d found. When he learned his letter sounds, I made him write all the letters – every time. I had him sing the alphabet pointing to the alphabet mat. If he forgot one, we started over! Oh my. Poor child!
Losing the Joy in the Journey
Fast forward several more years, and Wyatt was on to Bigger Hearts for His Glory. Riley was doing Little Hands to Heaven, and Emmett was a baby. One day, Wyatt began dragging his feet, doing his lessons super slowly. The day was getting long, and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. In exasperation, I asked him why he was taking so long. What he said I still remember to this day… “Mom, if I finish early, you just give me more work. So, I figure, why work quickly? I just get more work, so I’m just going to take my time – no reason to hurry – just makes my day longer.” Oooh, that hurt. But he was right. Where had my joy in the journey gone? I told him from then on, we’d enjoy Bigger Hearts, and when that was done, we’d be done. Totally. He was all smiles!
Be careful of joy stealers!
There is much joy to be had in homeschooling, but there is also much that can steal that joy. Be careful of joy stealers! Adding, adding, adding more to the homeschool day is a joy stealer. There is much joy for both child and parent in knowing that when the plans in the HOD guide are done, the homeschool day is done. Rushing, rushing, rushing from one outside activity/errand/appointment/co-op to another, so that there is really no time to be home and homeschool is a joy stealer. There is much joy in having the time needed to truly do school happily each day. Questioning, quizzing, and searching to see if kiddos really ‘learned’ the lessons by asking incessant questions and requiring more and more ‘proof’ learning occurred is a joy stealer. There is much joy knowing the work children do in each guide is ‘proof’ enough they ‘got it.’
Back on the Road to Finding Joy in the Journey
Today I am back on the road to finding joy in the journey. I’d love to say that moment with Wyatt so many years ago was the only joy stealer I’ve had. But, that wouldn’t be true. The difference is I’m on guard for joy stealers, and I put an end to them when I discover them. The other day I found Wyatt’s first nature journal. I saw a frog I’d drawn perfectly with labeled body parts spelled perfectly. I also saw his little frog erased in the background. And his big letters erased and written over with little letters I’d written and had him trace. There were only a few journal entries and then a lot of blank pages. It made me cry. Definitely a joy stealer. Praise God He showed me it was time to change!
Are you a joy stealer? Take heart. Today can be the day you put joy back in the journey! Change is always possible. There’s no need to add, add, add. Heart of Dakota is enough. There’s no need to rush, rush, rush. Each day can have time enough for homeschooling if you make it a priority. There’s no need to quiz, quiz, quiz. The follow-ups in the plans are enough. Let us find joy in the journey! It is well within our reach.