In my first post of this series I talked about my discovery of what school really means and how I yearned to have a new direction for our homeschool. Once I decided to try this course, I went on a search for a curriculum or program to help me implement leisure and to focus on truth, beauty, and goodness.
What I found set my Type A self, who loves boxes to check off and lists to cross through, on my heels:
THERE IS NOT A CURRICULUM FOR THIS!!!!
Cue panic attack and shortness of breath.
The more I tried to find a checklist of things to cover the more I encountered other scholé homeschoolers who refused to be forthcoming. It wasn’t because they were trying to be rude or standoffish, but because teaching from rest and searching for truth, beauty, and goodness is not a checklist or curriculum. It’s a process.
A classical homeschool mom explained it best:
You will see your children live a life changed, shaped, and molded by virtuous things. Heroes, wisdom, beauty, truth, knowledge, skills, faith, wonder -- nobody spends their day seeking these things without being changed. You will be changed, too. This type of transforming growth does not come by workbooks and canned curriculum. You can start with somebody's list, but if you aren't open to the spirit leading you and the rabbit trails being of greater worth than the plan, then this style might not be for you. If you can't listen to your child explain in wonder how a book has changed his life (with all the connections and lessons he's learned, just pouring out of him, as he becomes your teacher for the moment) and follow that by tossing your study guide out the window because the student has obviously learned all he needed to learn for now...then this style might not be for you. If you are not interested in spending your spare time reading and listening and thinking and learning and praying so that you have more to pour out in the unexpected moments, then this style might not be for you. But if this style is for you, and you are ready to tell the world that college and career ready skills might be a by-product of your child's education but they will never be the goal, and you thumb your nose at the standardized tests and you no longer yearn to be rich enough to send your child to the "best" prep school, and you know that truth leads to more truth so you have time to figure it out and you have the diligence to pursue it...you will reap what you sow Sow these things into your children and into your own heart and you will reap a beautiful and bountiful harvest.
When I first read this, I felt like someone had sucker punched me. This learning style was so beautiful, so perfect, so pure. I printed out the entire post (this is a part of it) that this mom had written and now have it in my homeschool binder. It inspired me to continue with my journey to teaching from rest.
I finally grasped the idea that no one was going to enter my home, nor could I purchase any specific materials that would guarantee a scholé education for my children. This was both freeing (no more searching for the “perfect” curriculum) and overwhelming (this is all on you, Chelli!). I decided to start with baby steps and look at our homeschool with a fresh eye and
BLOW AWAY THE CHAFF.
I pulled every program and curriculum off my shelves and placed them on the table in front of me. Now I looked at each one and asked myself these questions:
1. Does it show truth, beauty, and/or goodness?
I used this question to judge most of my curriculum choices. I really wanted to determine what the focus of the program was.
2. Does it contain a message of truth, beauty, and/or goodness that I can relate to godly principles?
I used this question to determine our literature choices.
3. Does my child respond well to this program?
This question was pretty much a no-brainer since most of the things my kids don’t like are long since gone.
Once I had my homeschool items narrowed down, I now went back through them and asked one very important question:
4. Is this curriculum restful for me to teach and use?
This is where I had to get really honest with myself. Just because something fit the criteria of the first three questions, doesn’t mean that it is restful for me to teach or use. At this point I had to say goodbye to Heart of Dakota for our family. It is NOT restful for me to use. All of the boxes kick my Type A self into overdrive wanting to check everything off. I push, push, push to complete the work and the leisure of school is just a memory. I also finally understood why so many scholé homeschoolers hesitate to share specific curriculum. Because what is restful to me and my family might not be to yours. In fact, a mom who uses Heart of Dakota told me not too long after I’d decided to quit using it that she loves HOD because it IS restful for her to teach and use.
There is no curriculum to achieve what I wanted to achieve. For most Type A folks this will be the most difficult part of trying to teach from rest. We have to let go of our pretty lists, schedules, and plans or at the very least, do a major shift in how we view them. However, I will share in some future posts exactly how and what curriculum leads to leisure in our homeschool, but before I could really start using my curriculum choices in a new way, I needed a little inspiration from a Michael Jackson song to kick this new direction in our homeschool off correctly. I’ll talk about that in the next post.
Swinging from panic to peace in the tree house,