Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The homeschool garden

JULY/AUGUST--School planning. The clean slate. There are only so many hours in a day, already neatly spaced and pre-arranged for you. Consider them. Admire them ... and imagine the endless ways you can fill them with curricula and resource and amazing activities that will enrich the lives of your children.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER-- It feels so good to have those few things that made it past the planning stages in place. You've culled the best of the best from a field crowded with resources that clamored for your attention. You've been careful.
You've only chosen the things that will work best with your family and fit your unique needs. You've left growing room--space between subjects and time to enjoy the good things that don't make it onto standardized tests. And, oh, man ... does it feel good to see those little squares of time filling up with such good stuff.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER--Things are taking off now. You've gotten the feel of the year, and so have your kids. There have been a handful of flops pulled out already (who picked that awful science text, anyway?!) but by and large, success is the name of the game. You enthusiastically learn along with your kids and relish the f
un. Homeschooling is fantastic! It's amazing! Could it be that you only get such a limited number of years to teach your own?

JANUARY/FEBRUARY--It's kind of boring, this whole homeschooling thing. Same thing day in and day out, actually. A little too routine.You wonder what's on the other side of the fence some days. Maybe if you had selected some more exciting curriculum? You've always wanted to try unit studies. Maybe you should have
taken the plunge. Or maybe you should just put your kids in public school. That might just solve it.

MARCH/APRIL--You just have to put your nose to the grindstone and work through it sometimes, you know? You reaffirm your commitment to the hard work you've undertaken. Discipline is re-established. The children are back in the swing of things and enjoying the day-to-day. You can see the sun starting to push through
the gloom of winter. And wait a minute--is that a blossom of knowledge just just starting to open?

MAY/JUNE--How in the world did things get so out of control all at once? The school year has exploded in a fit of tangled, overlapping books and activities competing for your time. The extra-curriculars are suddenly waaaay too much. When will the
y be over, anyway? And how did you not notice all of those little extras that still need to be checked off of your list? Where has that neat, tidy little homeschool ideal gone? You need space. Margin. Let's just write this year off and get started planning for the next one. And yet ...

Look closely.

Deep in the brambles of your homeschool year.

In places you are so familiar with that you barely even examine closely anymore.


Not fully developed. Not ready to be clipped from the vine. But being nurtured, day by day, under your care.

As you set about your planning for this fall, remember that the garden we so selectively plant is still very much under the control of God. Perhaps 2009-2010 will turn out exactly as you hope. Perhaps it will be neat and orderly. Objectives will be met. Lessons will be learned. Test scores will skyrocket.

Or perhaps God has something different for you. A new baby. A child who needs more character rooting that novel reading. A marriage that could stand a deep watering. A teen who suddenly feels his life's call pressing in and asks to set aside your carefully selected books for some real education.

Be open to His plan above your own. Withstand the heat, the cold, the occasional discontent. Rejoice in the days and see His love for you in every story read and every head you can kiss as it bobs over the table (try that in a classroom).

And be ready for fruit. Lots of it.


April said...

I love this post! Very well put!

Hall Family said...

I Ditto April!

Ashley said...

what a beautiful analogy! every time i pop in, it seems you've written exactly what i need to hear in that moment! thank you!

Kerry said...

What a delightful and encouraging post!

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I noticed I was more drawn to to those neat little boxes than the jungle of growth at the end . . . just like our home school. It looks so nice and tidy on paper, but, yeesh, in practice it gets messy. I needed the reminder that the mess is part of the growth, and the only way to get to the fruit.

Thanks for the reminder.

SevenSmiths said...

Wow, thanks for this great, encouraging analogy this evening--complete with pictures. I needed that! Some years I get very discouraged, and I need to focus on what God has in store for me while I look more closely for the fruit and for what He wants for our children. My school year may not be everything I dream of, but if I am faithful, there will be fruit.

Diana said...

Wonderful! I need to chew on this one for a while, and focus on the fruit more than the neat little boxes.


Renee said...

This is such a GREAT post! :o)

Benny said...

Very good. I talk to you daily and I am still amazed and impressed by the ingenious nature of the analogy. Very nice. :-)


Susan said...

Thanks for the reminder!

Mandi @ Doodles' Place said...

Ooh, I love this! We just started our first ever year of official homeschooling, and I also planted my first garden this year, so this analogy was perfect for me. In fact, I think you wrote it FOR me. Knowing the challenges and feelings that will come in the months ahead is at least half the battle, right?


The Hayes Zoo said...


I'm going to print this out and hang it above my 'desk'. Or maybe kitchen....or SOMEWHERE.

SUCH fabulous imagery.

Karen of TX said...

OK, I'm sitting here at work with tears in my eyes. My homeschooler just graduated, and I'm mostly back in the working world. I pray that fruit will be revealed over the next few years! Thank you for a wonderful post.

Erin said...

Gorgeously written analogy! I really needed this.. thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Very clear and TRUE analogy! Thanks for the visuals as well, as you spelled HOPE with your pictures of the fruit. I know this in my mind and in my heart--this is real to me. And, actually, my garden, here in Kathmandu, looks just like that crazy squash vine that is out of control right now, squash and all.

Robin's Reports said...

Amen!! The parables of Mary Grace.