As concerned, intelligent home educators, we all put a lot of time and effort into choosing the tools and supplements we feel will best enable us to teach our children. We worry and fret over our educational philosophy, our curriculum, our homeschool space, our schedule and our extracurricular activities.
As I was looking at our homeschool this year, reassessing the decisions we made and planning for the next year, I began to wonder: What if a homeschool was more like a cake? What if instead of planning, I was baking?
If a homeschool was a cake, where would my educational philosophy and curriculum fit into my cake? Surely something so important must be the flour, right?
Actually, I think the homeschool choices we spend so much time working on are the icing.
Icing is fun, it’s visual and it can completely change the way a cake tastes. After all, what would German Chocolate cake be without all that golden coconut? Without the cream cheese, carrot cake just wouldn’t be the same. Icing makes the cake. But without the cake, the icing is just a bunch of sugar. Few of us would serve a bowl of icing alone.
So, if the things that are so important to our homeschool are simply icing, what ingredients make up the cake? How do we bake a homeschool?
I would argue that the flour of every homeschool is relationship. Let’s face it, parents, we can’t force our kids to do anything. Those little people have their own personalities, ideas and wills. The very best we can do, as teaching parents, is to come along side our children and help shape them. It is only through our relationship with those precious kids that we have any hope of positive lasting impact on their lives.
No cake is comprised of flour alone. Likewise, our homeschools must be carefully baked with a few other ingredients. I submit to you, my recipe for baking a homeschool. Let me know what you think!
Will Feed Your Whole Family
The quality of the ingredients in this recipe will determine the outcome.
The night before, blend and set aside:
Careful Attention to Each Child’s Needs and Temperament
Consistent Response to Children
Whisk together thoroughly:
Beat on medium speed until well blended:
A Healthy Relationship with Each Child
Sprinkle liberally to taste:
A Servant’s Heart
Hugs and Cuddles
The Occasional Surprise
Baking a homeschool is fun, challenging, and humbling. In all likelihood, it will land you on your knees more than once. The most important part of baking a homeschool is to remember to prepare your own heart, and to maintain the relationship with your children. You can never force a homeschool to rise, cook evenly or brown. Instead, you must focus on combining the proper ingredients. It’s important to remember that you have no idea what the finished result will be. Only God knows the plans He has for you and for your children.
Once your homeschool is baking, smell the delicious aromas, and enjoy the time God has given you with your children. Your homeschool is a gift that you and your children will cherish for decades to come.
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. As a mother of four children, a homeschooler, and a follower of Jesus Christ, her desire is to see us raise thinking kids. You can find her at Thinking Kids, on facebook at Danika Cooley, Author or in a number of children’s magazines, such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr., and Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets. On March 13th, you can find “Redemption” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters. Danika co-wrote “Redemption” with her daughter, Amber Vanderzanden.