Learning Happens When?

Angie Warren // on Homeschooling + Life

"The question is not, - how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education - but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” 

- Charlotte Mason

When you go from six years of traditional schooling (both public and private, both incredible schools), to planning for your next adventure of school at home, changing your mindset of how learning happens, proves to be really, tough.

For many years now I've done the school year routine: spending my summers intending to be ahead of the game come fall, deciding I'll make lunches the night before, and saying confidently that uniforms will be washed, dried, folded, and put away by Sunday night. I buy Planet Boxes and new organizers at IKEA. I try, oh I try.

Except, that happens for like a week. 99% of our school year is spent in a mad dash, a mad rush, a mad mama, and a chaotic week. My stomach hurts so many mornings after dropping my boys off, remembering how frustrated I was peeling them out of bed, slapping lunches together, and begging them to "hurry up" for the twentieth time.

Then 3 o'clock rolls around, and it's time to pick them up. We do car line, and wait for the space in between one getting out and the other. We come home to do homework. Papers are flying, tears are flowing. Dinner is, not cooking, I am, flustered and stressed and, by the time the dishes are cleared away and I cross my fingers that homework is finally finished, I'm barely able to sit down for five minutes before having to tuck small ones into bed.

When that's what you've done (give or take a lot of working from home, personal projects, teaching for two years, losing a mom to cancer, moving, the whole nine yards), for your children's entire schooling experience, it's righteously hard to change the thought patterns that tell you learning happens in between all that madness.

That after the mad rush of getting to school, but before the mad rush of homework - those are the hours for learning. Right?

I'll never forget something my husband said to me during our decision making period. He said, "you don't have the energy to do things with the kids as it is, how will you when they're home all the time?"

That one gutted me. Because the reality of it is heavy. I immediately, softly, spoke to him the truth of it all: we're just so busy doing, we don't allow ourselves the freedom, space, to pursue things we love. I don't have the energy because I've been fighting this mad dash for the better part of the decade.

So many home school veteran friends have poured words of encouragement and blessings into my life. Something I keep hearing, repeated throughout the strands of their melodies is this...

Learning Happens When?

Always. It happens always.

So last week, after realizing she won't be returning to Pre-K in the fall, instead, she'll be doing it at home with mama and her brothers close by, my Quinn absolutely ran with the idea. "Mama, when can we do our HOMESCHOOL?" she begged.

I smiled, nodded, but inside wanted to yell "NO! Mama isn't ready! I need all summer, it needs to be perfect! I haven't printed things I meant to print, I don't have a plan, I'm not ready! Can't learn in THIS environment!" referring to the mess and clutter of the house.

Did she see it that way? Nope. She didn't.

In fact, she saw a bunch of string, some googly eyes, and stickers - and immediately, designed her brother on the hardwood floors. When I walked over and saw it, my eyes filled. I could hardly believe she had taken a pile of leftover art supplies, and her little mind went there. To create a replica of her oldest brother, right there on our floor.

It hit me. It was ingrained. I understood.

Learning Happens When?

Always. It happens always.

I got it. I realized what that meant, those well-meaning words from the mamas who have gone before me in this path. It can be early morning, mid day, evening. "School holiday", weekend, on a bus or a car or a boat or a plane.

It can happen anytime and anywhere.

Boy do I have a lot to learn! I think shaking the boundaries of the traditional schooling we have known will be tricky for us all, especially come the fall. My boys are creatures of habit, and though I believe heavily in routine, I'm aware that the change in routine will be interesting for a bit.

But in that? With that change comes the beautiful, glorious, freedom we are so blessed to get to experience. As their mama, I have to remember and hold tightly to this truth, even when notebooks are put away and pencils back in their place - learning is fun and it's meant to happen no matter what time the clock says it is.

Can't wait for the adventure, absolutely can not wait.