High School…Wrapping It All Up!
- Cindy Rushton
- 2008 18 Jan
Looking back over our family scrapbooks is such a treat! Can it be that this time REALLY has gone so fast? It is unbelievable to look at those pictures from our "First Day of School." So many great memories! So much fun! Funny to see Matthew as an eager 5-year-old kindergartener—in one picture all dressed up, complete with his shirt tucked in! In the next few moments he transgressed to his "water-boots" ON THE OUTSIDE of his pants…shirt untucked…and his "standard" camouflage baseball cap! So funny! Yet…now…
Now, this little boy has turned into a young man right before my eyes! Shirts are tucked in probably because he now works so hard to exercise and keep fit! Those water boots have lonnnnnggg been traded in for BIG tennis shoes that I "lovingly" trip on as I cross the room lovingly because I REALLY know it won't be much longer that I will get the treat of tripping over his shoes. And…no more baseball caps either! Matthew is now as particular as his father about his hair, even though this year we found his very first GRAY HAIR like his mom! Now…
Now, we are wrapping it all up after 12 years of homeschooling. High School is reality now! But only for a little while longer!
Days are full working through those last few school requirements, learning real life skills alongside of Mom and Dad, and best of all - much more of real life companionship than ever before. While Matthew finishes his last required credit before graduation and a full slate of extras that we wanted to be sure to include in his curriculum, we have been looking back and looking ahead with a whole host of emotions. We are wrapping it all up to get ready to pass the torch!
So, wondering about what Homeschooling High School is like? What it looks like? What really needs to be taught in these last few years at home? Come home and join us right-smack-dab-in-the-middle of our journey!
Family-LIFE! Wrap High School Around Your HOME Not School!
As we enter into the High School years, we enter into a time of great pressure! Not only do we want the very, very best education for our children, but we find that our days are more limited than ever to accomplish this great task. Then, add to this the external pressures that come from every angle. It gets VERY tough to discern which way to go or what homeschooling in the high school years should really be like.
Instead of cramming "school" into these years, God has a better plan! During these last few years it is even more vital than ever that we develop our homes and our family lifestyle. These are the years that we must continue walking step-by-step into the great design that God has for our family! More than ever, we need to include our children in our daily life, mentoring them so they will be prepared for their life. As we do, all else will fall in place…the choices, the schedule, and the struggles…all will fall into place.
Want to make learning a lifestyle but have no idea how to begin? First, look at ways to encourage RELATIONSHIPS. Wrap all around your family. Set a priority on family life. Set up a family schedule that begins by wrapping the day around your husbands' schedule. Balance all else to fit in around their daily schedule. Then, it will be easier to guage whether other things such as extracurricular activities, studies, work, or apprenticeships can work into the family schedule. With our family many, many good things have not fit in because we simply could not balance the demands with our priority of a strong family-centered life. These are small losses in view of eternity!
Secondly, find ways to work together. Academics in high school only take a small part of the day. It is easy to either let them get out of hand, monopolizing life OR lose track of every day. Make a concentrated effort to work together, teaching them what you know. In our family, this means that Harold includes the children while he builds, repairs, or welds. For me, it means that Elisabeth and I are spending hours sewing, crafting, and baking. No one is stuck off working by themselves. When we added our new offices for our ministry onto our home, we planned the offices so that everyone could work together. These are just a few of the little things that we are doing to work together and learn together. Find ways to work and learn together in your family!
Finally, think of how YOU learn! We have noticed through the years that the very same ways that Harold and I continue to learn topics of our interest as adults are the best ways to encourage our children to learn.. When either of us want to learn something new, we read all that we can find on that topic. We research the topic using all reference materials that we have available to us (books, magazines, newspapers, Internet, Encyclopedias, reference books, PEOPLE, etc.). We access people who KNOW and LOVE the topic that we are interested in. We get busy "doing" hands-on what we want to know. If you think of how we learn, you find that these are the OLD WAYS that students used to learn before education became so progressive. These are the OLD PATHS. If you are like Harold and me, you will find that some of your learning techniques are as old as the sun. But, these are some of the best ways to teach your children how to learn now and—even better--encourage your children to become lifetime learners.
"Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it."
The word train means to disciple or dedicate our children. This gets good, so stick with me… What are we to train them up for? We are to be discipling and dedicating them in the way they are to go, which is using their spiritual gifts and natural bents. Great calling, but this is TOUGH! So much battles against us! Curriculum. Trying to prepare for college. Tests. Lesson plans. Eek…where is the time? Oh, and how on earth do we even do it?
Sure, we KNOW that our primary role as parents is to train our children up in the way they should go. But, this mandate is a life calling! It requires, first of all, getting to KNOW our children! Really knowing them! Studying our children to find their spiritual gifts, natural bents that they gravitate toward, and "the way they should go" so they will be prepared for that call in which they will not depart. One of life's greatest blessings is getting to KNOW our children!
Their gifts and bents are not that hard to spot if they have ANY time to themselves at all. My daughter has always been the one to spot anyone's needs and find ways to encourage or serve them. My son is never happier than when he is researching a topic or sharing what he has learned along the way! Getting to know them and their special gifts has enabled me to do the NEXT thing - let them develop their gifts and bents!
Talk about scaring a parent! This can terrify a homeschooling parent. You probably have heard the debates: should education be teacher-directed, curriculum-directed, or delight-directed??? I believe that there is a debate because none of these is complete! Our ultimate goal is to be a purpose-directed homeschool! God wants for us to become balanced. He wants for us to seek to pattern our homes and homeschools after His design. Think for a moment how He leads us spiritually. He uses the Bible - curriculum-directed. Oh, but that is not all! He also uses His Holy Spirit - teacher-directed! Oh, still not done! He also uses our delights and desires - aha! Even delight-directed! Confused? The whole purpose of education is not to determine a philosophy of education, but to lead our children toward living a life of purpose.
God wants us purpose-directed all of the days of our lives! Let's dedicate this time to train our treasures in the direction of their life-purpose, looking to see who they are, what they are called to be, and how we can disciple them each and every day toward what they are called to do!
Prepared for Life!
What is it that our children REALLY need for us to teach during these last few years? What do they really need to be sent forth from our homes? If they were arrows, being shot forth to hit a mark, how would we prepare them?
Harold and I have thought and prayed about this over the years. What is really needed? We first had to discern what on earth we were preparing our children for.
Growing up, all of my classes were "college prep" courses. The "goal" was to prepare me for college! Perhaps that is why I had NO idea how to boil an egg when I married! (No laughing out there now!)
Our children need preparation for LIFE, not college, or even a career. College is not the end result! College is designed to prepare students for a particular career. Not all careers receive the best training in college. However, it seems that we all have a tendency to work, without question, toward preparing our children for college, even if they cannot receive any training at all for their particular field in those colleges. Not to mention the effort that is placed on preparation for college to the detriment of learning real life skills. Our children need a wide and varied course of study in the high school years.
They need preparation for LIFE. They need for all of their studies to sharpen them to make a difference in our culture. They need answers to the tough questions. They need to study the different worldviews and how they affect behavior in our world today. They need to study and prepare for their roles in their own families. They need to do the things that help direct them toward their life purpose, whether those things are mission trips, apprenticeships, jobs, family ministry, life studies, hobbies, business opportunities or even time spent with us (or the grandparents). These are the very things that tend to get "in the way" of the traditional homeschool schedule. Yet, these are some of the most important things our children need for a full education.
Go for it! Give your children preparation for their life. Don't be in bondage to the credentials that our culture has set for completion. You can have a higher standard! When our children are in the midst of their daily duties, there will be just a few things that really matter. Make those things your focus. As you do, God will make homeschooling easy as you wrap it all up!
Seize this Time…Pass the Torch!
One of my favorite "parenting" passages in the whole Bible comes from 1 Chronicles 28-29. Just for space, I will not clip it in. I recommend that you read it now.
In my opinion, this is one of the most tender and precious passages of Scripture between a parent and child in the whole Bible. In this passage, we see David, the man after God's own heart, passing the torch to his beloved son, who would assume the position of king over all of Israel. No small calling there.
From his early years, David had a vision for a tremendous work for God. As David stepped up to his call, he was faithful to hear God step-by-step. He begged God time and time again to allow him to build a temple of worship. God had a different plan. He wanted David to BUILD HIS OWN HOME. As he faithfully built his own home, God gave him the plans, directions, and even the resources that would be used in building the temple. But, there was a catch.
Yes, David had all that was needed to build the temple, but God did not allow HIM to build it. God's plan was for David to pass the torch to his son, Solomon. David was to build his home and his son, gather provisions and plans for the temple, and prepare Solomon to take the torch and reach for the vision!
You know the end by now. There has never been anything that could hold a candle to the temple that Solomon built. It goes down in History as one of the greatest accomplishments of all time. Not only was a "building" erected, but also the very presence of God inhabited the temple. Of all the History of the Israelites, there has not been a greater time of praise and worship of God. Yep! Solomon picked up the torch and faithfully stepped up to the call!
Here, the challenge lies for us. As we are wrapping it all up, preparing our children to pick up the torch and run the race, are we ready? Have we built our home—restored the foundations? Have we carefully prepared the directions and equipped our children with all they need to step up to the call? Are they ready to step up to their life-purpose?
The time is here! Standing before us is our legacy! It is now time for our arrows to be shot forth! Ready! Aim! Shoot that arrow forth!
Copyright, 2004. The Old Schoolhouse™ Magazine. Cindy is a prolific author and speaker. Some of her titles include A Charlotte Mason Primer, Nature Study ... The East Way, and Notebooking! Yes, You CAN Be a Binder Queen Too. She has a wide array of books, tapes and other teaching materials. Cindy also publishes a couple of magazines in her spare time - Homeschooling the Easy Way and Time for Tea Magazine. To learn more about Cindy and her family's ministry, contact them as follows: Rushton Family Ministries, 1225 Christy Lane, Tuscumbia, AL 35674, www.cindyrushton.com, [email protected].