Over the last 6 months as we were gearing up to homeschool (J is in 1st grade this year), I was so excited! I researched curriculums, set up a ton of supplies (thanks to my mother-in-law and her former teaching days) and a desk and table in our "school room," and even joined the local homeschool group. A friend and I had already been meeting weekly with our kids to do library runs, work on school work with the kids together, and just generally prepare for this year. Technically last year we homeschooled kindergarten, but as we spent so much time on the road we used the roadschooling approach. That basically means we did studies of geography/history/social studies/science based on where we were and what we were being exposed to. We read a ton together and he is reading a ton to us. We integrated math into lots of games and occasional worksheets and cooking. In my head, last year didn't count. I mean, we weren't sitting at a desk hours a day. I didn't have a planner filled out for the year, or at least semester. We weren't sitting doing calendar and weather each day. It wasn't "real school." (Disclaimer-this was my opinion towards myself, not toward this kind of education approach) Then I read a few books last spring about different theories of school. And the reality set in-I do not function in a traditional education setting. That is not my personality. That was not how I best learned, and it is certainly not how I best teach. And quite honestly, it isn't the best learning environment for our kids either. I thrive in flexible, fluid moments. I teach naturally all the time using real life all around. It comes without me even thinking about it. And my kids love it. Ty and I tag team together often. An example is when the tsunami came up in Japan last year. We were praying as a family and to make it more tangible to J we watched some video clips together. He wanted to know why it happened so we ended up spending a few days learning about tectonic plates, seismic activity, and tsunamis. We learned a bit about Japan itself. And then we related it back to volcanic activity since he remembers all the mountains and visiting Mt. St. Helens when we were in WA. It wasn't exactly normal kindergarten material. And yet, it made it much more real and tangible to him. And the fact we could use it all towards how we were praying as a family resonated deep within Ty and I as that was our main objective.
I've had to come to the realization though, that my dream to teach and have an orderly classroom and use a schedule and lesson plans months in advance, is not my personality. I am not a scheduled person who plans detailed organization months ahead. There is nothing wrong with that kind of tendency, but I know it's not who I am. J requires more structure than I do though. He's not a rigid kid by any means and definitely loves going with the flow. He does need consistency though. So I'm seeing that while my lifelong dream of teaching is here, I'm a teacher, officially according to our county! I also will probably never live the dream I thought I had of having a perfectly put together classroom we sit in scheduled out every minute of every day perfectly. It's been a strange process letting go that ideal in my head, while embracing the gifts that I do have, and who God has made me to be. And with embracing those gifts and tendencies comes a new realization. I have always been a teacher. I didn't have to have it look just so for that to be true. I've been teaching since my sister was born and I began to teach her things. I've taught all the kids and their families I've worked with for years. I've taught many people in Bible studies and church classes. And I've taught friends who come with questions/problems and I can help.
I've been processing a lot lately with dreams I have and dreams God has for me. Have you ever had a dream you held so tightly, but when it was realized it looked totally different? It's kind of a funny feeling. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm off to go work on tentative plans for next week...we'll see what unfolds in our world around us for the rest!