I hope to share with my children the gift that homeschooling was for me. I want to spend our days together, uncover mysteries together, and learn to love God each day, side by side.
I don’t know how my life or my family relationships would be different today had my parents not made the decision to homeschool, but I do know that I am forever grateful for the relationships which have been built upon this decision.
More than anything, I treasure the time we all spent together. Those days can never be replaced. Even while one sibling may disagree with another, or struggle to find common ground as adults, we nevertheless have something bigger which unites us and overcomes our differences. We have our faith, our family, and our memories.
Most of our ideals and memories are ones which unite, rather than divide us. I think that we have an understanding of one another which runs deep, and is rooted in the hours spent together in our home. Yes, we may have yearned for independence and freedom during adolescence, only to discover in our twenties that all that we really wanted was to be back together again, this time with our spouses and children, and to continue the story of our lives side by side.
I can’t help but wonder if this same desire would be there in my heart, had I spent the majority of my childhood developing friendships with children other than my siblings. Would I still desire their company in the same way, or would we have been more likely to go our separate ways and find contentment in other avenues?
I don’t claim that either situation is a better one in itself, but I do treasure the fact that all of my siblings hold the same desire for closeness in our hearts, whether or not it is possible for this desire to be fulfilled. There is great comfort found in the knowledge that you are needed and wanted by your family, and that the circle is not quite complete without you.
A Storied Past
It is with fondness that I think back on the days of long afternoons and evenings snuggled on the couch in one room with my family while my mom read aloud to us. These are the same stories I hope to read to my own children. From Hilda Van Stockum’s The Mitchell’s, or the Chronicles of Narnia, or Lloyd Alexander’s trilogy, these characters and stories influenced my imagination each day.
The time spent reading together cultivated a peaceful atmosphere which engaged both our minds and hearts, and gave us ideas to value and carry on in our own lives. Is it not the case that we learn to love what is presented to us as children? Who does not think back to their favorite traditions and memories, and desire that the same memories become a part of their own family?
I am grateful for the unique opportunity which homeschooling gave me to learn from my parents. Being in their presence for the majority of the day, I had the chance to be part of all of the life lessons which happen in a large family. We learned together and struggled together, and watched our parents rejoice and suffer through the happenings of life.
As a young child I absorbed many conversations which were happening between my parents and older siblings. Is not he life of the family a vital education in itself? Do not these conversations daily affect the development of the mind of a young person?
Unconditional Love in Family
I am glad that the only kind of peer pressure I was subject to was that of a competitive or teasing sibling. Deep inside you always knew that your brother or sister was there to support and protect you, rather than deceive you. There is strength and self-confidence given to a child by knowing you are loved unconditionally by those people who are your playmates, companions, and competitors. Going through struggles together at home helped to strengthen the ways in which I can relate to my siblings now as adults.
Truly, friends share a life in common. I believe that homeschooling blessed me with a deep and lasting friendship with my siblings, one which was based on a shared life. We lived the days and years together, working and playing, and grew to love and value the same kinds of things.
Through literature and education, we together came to understand the meaning of virtue and vice. By growing in our relationship with each other, and with our parents, we learned what it means to exhibit sacrificial love and a patient spirit.
These are ideals which I strive to imitate for my own children, and I am constantly grateful for the example given to me from a strong and loving family.