Learning as a Vibrant Ecosystem
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
I used to think homeschooling was serious. After all, my child’s entire future was at stake and it was entirely up to me. Now I understand it’s as serious as it needs to be.
In the early days, what saved me was changing my thinking about “school.” Instead of sitting at a desk for hours a day, I came to appreciate a learning lifestyle. We moved from desks and worksheets to a more experiential approach. Whenever possible we made things, got messy, and pursued hands-on learning. Not everything could become an experience, but we did our best to try.
Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional learning things like textbooks, workbooks, and disciplined assignments. But learning doesn’t have to end there. Those things can become a starting place. Education can truly come alive through doing and experiencing. When you think about it in this way, everything becomes a learning opportunity.
When we can let go of our limiting views on what makes “school” meaningful, real learning meets joy. Christ invites us to find that same joy in Him. From John 10:10, Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I believe Jesus invites us to have enriching homeschools that can be life-giving to our families. After I surrendered the idea that homeschool has to be exactly like traditional school, learning became more lovely for our family.
Everyone comes to homeschooling from a different place whether it is by choice or by default. However, we can all agree that we love our kids and we want to give them the best education they can experience. With love in mind, we can imagine education as a rich feast of learning. Our hope is to nurture the very best from a character, a soul, and a mind unafraid to learn anything. Learning can be everywhere and in everything.
It’s powerful to challenge our students with doing hard things, but not everything about learning needs to be complicated. It’s perfectly wonderful to have some fun learning too. For our family, we cooked and baked on a regular basis in the middle and high school years. Despite the fact that I had a teenager who was perfectly capable of reading on his own, he loved to be read to over meals. I would pick some books or articles that we would read over breakfast or lunch. It continued to be a point of connection and conversation during the teen years.
There are so many excellent ways to allow learning to come alive. Perhaps it’s watching historical documentaries on Netflix for a family movie night or taking a nature walk to practice art, nature journaling, and observation skills. It might include mowing the lawn for physical fitness or learning about career through volunteer work, service projects, or mentor connections.
Find the things that foster a nurturing style for your homeschool. Even when things get busy, keep something fun like a puzzle, Legos, or an art activity for your child to putter with when they have time. Even when they are stressed out over intense academics, invite them to go on a hike to breathe and relax. Think about things that would be enriching for your child in ordinary, simple ways.
With a little creativity, you can create a vibrant homeschool ecosystem that makes everyone’s hearts sing.
How can you foster a life-giving ecosystem for homeschooling?