Our job is not to raise perfect children. We are raising adults. The next generation is here now, and it is our job to show Jesus to them. So we pray for these future adults, and we do our best to follow His lead.
For a long time, I tried to homeschool in a way that would please a well-meaning relative. She is a wonderful woman who cared for and taught many people. She also was one of our state’s unsung heroes: a public school teacher. From the moment we chose to not enroll our kids in public school, there was no way for me to please her. I finally quit trying.
Then I tried to do things just the way that Susan Wise Bauer suggested. That resulted in a To Do list that was too long, a kid who refused to do anything that involved a pencil in the hour his brothers were actually all napping, and a constant headache for me. I started looking for a different plan.
Then I discovered Charlotte Mason, and I tried to do everything in my house just as she would have done it… you know, if she had had babies and toddlers and was pregnant and trying to keep everyone not-filthy and not-starving and the house clean enough to not cry if there was company ringing the doorbell. Then, my sister and I started a playgroup that grew in two years into a hundred family group of associated nature study groups and book clubs, and we were trying to please all of those people. I was exhausted. My kids were happy and getting plenty of outdoor time. We were reading aloud great stuff. But I was spending more time solving other people’s problems than I was spending schooling my own kids.
Then a friend introduced us to Classical Conversations, and my family decided to try it out because our older son needed some help learning how to function in a group setting that wasn’t outdoors. At that point, I had read enough Charlotte Mason to know that there were things about the program that she wouldn’t like and that there were other things about it that seemed to mesh with some of her ideas. We just finished our ninth year in CC, and it is a fit for us as long as we keep Charlotte’s principles in mind at home.
It took me a couple more years to finally wrap my head around the fact that neither Leigh Bortins or Charlotte Mason was going to come to my house and tell me that I was doing things the wrong way. There was, of course, a good chance of my well-meaning relatives telling me that I should leave this folly behind and put my boys on the big yellow bus, but that was pretty much guaranteed no matter what I did.
I finally realized that I only needed to figure out the things that God was calling our family to do, and then do those things to the best of my ability. I don’t need to please anyone else. No one knows my kids like I do. And it is my job to figure out what they need and how to give it to them.
And so I decided I’d better figure out what our purpose is so that I could order our day to reflect what we wanted for our kids.