You’ve heard the story…a little boy is placed in a room with a huge pile of, well, manure. Rather than crying or trying to run away, he dives right in – digging through the muck with his bare hands, poop flying in all directions! Those watching are baffled – what in the world is he thinking?! They run to the room and ask the child “What ARE you doing???” Grinning, the boy responds: “With all this manure, there’s just got to be a pony here somewhere!”
That line often pops into my mind when I’m stuck in a seemingly impossible situation, but I’ve also adapted it as kind of a motto for our homeschool life: “With all this manure, there’s just got to be a LESSON here somewhere!”
As far as academic matters go, we homeschoolers are typically pretty good at using everyday household activities to teach lessons: we can turn baking cookies into a discussion of fractions, or tending a garden into an example for our science lesson on life cycles. But academic lessons, while important, are not the only ones that I want my children to learn.
Part of the reason I choose to educate my kids at home is so that I have the time and opportunity to teach them life lessons, both practical and spiritual. As homeschoolers, we share life with our kids. Our lives are an open book in many ways: our children are witnesses to the good and the bad in our lives. When a ‘situation’ arises, there is no ‘I have to deal with this before the kids get home from school,’ no ‘let’s worry about that tomorrow when the kids are gone.’ And that’s a good thing: we can and should take those situations as opportunities to teach, even in the midst of the manure!
So when we’re five hours away and get a call from home early one morning that there’s six inches of water flooding our basement (true story!), we remind ourselves: “There’s just got to be a lesson here somewhere!” And there are, many of them: from the practical, like how to dry out the entire contents of a basement to avoid mildew, and how insurance companies function; to the abstract, like how to keep things in perspective when faced with unexpected news, and how we can live out thankfulness in all circumstances.
If you feel like your homeschool plans have been derailed by some ‘poopy’ situations, hang in there! Look for the lesson in with the manure – it might just prove to be the most valuable lesson you teach this year.”
Dawn is a third-year homeschooler to four lively children ages eight, five, three and one. She’s married to a youth pastor who keeps her young, and in her spare three minutes a day enjoys scrapbooking, quilting and photography. Dawn blogs at Two-Handed Mommy.