Recently, the cover of TIME magazine gained the attention likened to a reality show or the likes of the National Enquirer! You can relax, because I’m not here to discuss the “ins and outs” of whether or not one should breastfeed or for how long. While I, too, have definite opinions about these topics; there are more than enough of them that have been expressed. Sadly, some of them to the detriment of women everywhere. If you think about it, the opinions and reactions to that cover aren’t any different than what we face every day whenever we make a choice to pursue something outside of “the norm.” Here’s the bigger challenge: exactly what is “the norm?!” I can say that I’m going to pursue the education of my children. Immediately three options come to mind: Public education, the private sector, or pursuing education at home. Within each of those categories, you are faced with a plethora of options, factors, and decisions.
On this awesome team we refer to as Hip Homeschool Moms, I would be the reigning matriarch of the group. Or yes, I’m “old.” I view my fellow mom writers here as Queens ruling over their own courts. Yet, we come together to communicate a shared vision of the Kingdom called “EducationWithinTheHome.” The common ground, if you will. It’s a place we all need to look for, seek out, and rest in more often; because it, along with other topics of discussion, is losing ground quickly to factions, bickering, and arguing within American culture. Don’t get me wrong! I love a great debate. True debate, however, serves a purpose and honors structures, etiquette and the other individuals participating. So how does this apply to my home educating experience?
There was this kid.
He was born for greatness and tremendous mission, just like every other human being to have ever graced this planet. How do I know this? Because I believe in a God that thrives on uniqueness and individualism rather than mass production. Look to nature with species, breathtaking colors, geographies and varying topographies if you doubt this.
He was a normal kid, with normal problems and challenges. Re-read that sentence. Twice.
He had a speech impediment until he was nearly 11, he didn’t read until the age of 10, and he was not overly social. He had his family and a handful of people he loved.
Flexibility wasn’t a character strength.
The challenges here, should be clear to see. He wasn’t a great formula or conveyor belt model. In fact, if I had a dollar for every individual that came to me and asked if I knew my child couldn’t read…I would have quite a sum of money in the bank!
If you add to this, every opinion ever given by well-meaning individuals, about how we should be “dealing with these things” within our home, his life, our family culture; we would have quit. Not just schooling, but cultivating. Amidst all of the discussions about curriculum, learning styles, methodologies of teaching, and the “how-tos”, whys and what-fors…are people. Individuals. Lives destined for greatness!
Back to this kid.
One day, through a very spontaneous unscheduled phone call received from a dear friend; he met William Shakespeare. And it rocked his world.
Then, he got up on a stage, and rocked ours.
Never, ever, ever, in a million lifetimes of motherhood, could I have anticipated this.
Guess what he did, when he unearthed this passion?
And he watched.
And then he did the above over, and over and over again. Rinse and repeat.
In the meantime, I was the mom. I chose to cultivate relationship, reinforce values, and convictions and celebrate his uniqueness. I never did this perfectly. When I sweat, and gave in to those around me that were still doubting, or didn’t understand, or wanted to give advice, I went to my incredible husband. Why? Because we are building this family and culture together, by the grace of God. And those other people? While I love them, they don’t live here…each.and.every.day. We do.
One of the greatest privileges of choosing this form of education, is the growth, challenge and instruction that it affords me. I hope you notice that. It’s me, not them; and the curriculum is life. Life and the culture that we are afforded as a unique, one-of-a-kind family.
So in February, after years and years of reading, watching, writing, studying; “this kid” went for an open call. He was amongst those possessing college degrees, and cards that afford them the privileges of being associated with the Screen Actor’s Guild. He went looking for experience, and possibly a part.
What he came away with was a lead. As you read this, he is in the middle of a Shakespeare season, playing Proteus in “Two Gentleman of Verona.”
So here’s the take away…for me and you.
Let’s celebrate the common ground; which is mothers and fathers committed to forging relationships in order for greatness to shine. There’s diversity in style, methodology and identity in that commitment. Let’s honor the institution of families that are willing to say, “We’re in this for the long haul, because we believe in the culture that we’re creating together.”
When we do that, we will testify to love; and love changes the world.
That, my friends is the curriculum!
Teri is a believer in God, family, community, and lover of leadership education the Thomas Jefferson way. Teri writes and also speaks about lessons learned on her educational journey with 5 rambunctious sons, ages 22 down to 9, one hero Hubby, and celebrating day to day life with lots of humor, within the human race. You can find Teri blogging at Tommy Mom.