Homeschooling Hermits

This is not what homeschooling used to look like, say about 10 years ago. It used to be a dining room table piled with books and dry erase boards and three kiddos vying for help on a math problem or grammar assignment while simultaneously demanding a snack.

It used to look like this, and I’d highly encourage my young homeschool mom friends to read how Liz is dealing with homeschooling three children with the added bonus of a toddler on the loose. That particular season is not for the faint of heart. I remember those days well, and don’t really envy too much about them except for those precious learning and “light bulb” moments. Oh, and the afternoon snuggle-and-read-aloud-time on the couch. I really miss that part.

My own homeschooling these days is pretty much the opposite of what Liz describes. Most days I’m trekking upstairs to the bedroom my boys used to share just to see if Kayla is still alive. She’s become a homeschool hermit.

I don’t know if you can actually find her in this picture with her stealthy camouflage, but at least you can see her workspace.This little extroverted hermit is one of the most organized yet laidback people I know. I think her personality displays itself well in her bullet journal: one part beautiful creativity and one part detailed discipline. Here’s a little peak:

And this is not something I asked her to do! We did not have a knock down, drag out over being organized and completing all work by Monday afternoon, since she has Classical Conversations on Tuesdays. No pencils or notebooks were thrown across the room, and I didn’t have to run out of the house and hide in my minivan screaming and sobbing over the extreme frustration and despair that trying to homeschool little ones can cause.

Ahhhhh….it’s a different season for sure.

She even uses a productivity app that encourages her to stay off her phone and keep focused with the promise of growing a beautiful tree.Kayla has recently gotten really excited about her senior thesis. Each Challenge IV (senior year) student has to choose their own topic, write a research paper on it, submit it to a team of local pastors and professors for review (and scrutiny), and then give a defense at the end of the year.

It’s really kind of like a PhD defense in which the team of adults will ask challenging questions about the student’s research, even playing devil’s advocate, and expecting a response that shows a thorough knowledge and logical argument for their position. And even though the students do tend to fear this major presentation with an audience beyond the pastors/professors, the atmosphere is meant to be very encouraging and friendly.

Here is Kayla’s thesis:

Play is crucial to proper childhood development and many children today

suffer from a lack of it.

I think it stemmed from hours and hours of babysitting and observing young children, and really just delighting in their vivid imaginations and hilarious conversations. She become a strong advocate of free play in childhood, and staunchly opposed to too much screen time for little ones.

And because Kayla has become a hideaway homeschool hermit, I’ve been able to do a bit of the same. Since she doesn’t need me as much (really, hardly at all) I have some time to dedicate to my own “homeschool” studies. (And a million church-related things.) I am thoroughly enjoying my New Testament I class. The readings and lectures are fascinating.

You’d think after all my years of “classically educating” my children, I’d have grasped the full historical context of the New Testament. After all, we spent a lot of time reading about Greek and Roman times and historical figures. I definitely think the exposure helped – not to mention my recent trips to Greece and Turkey – and I could probably now give you an overview of the intertestamental period with its battles and rulers and what was happening with the Jewish people throughout. I love it.

So, yes. A very different homeschool season around here these days, and so, to any mamas wanting to throw in the towel, I’d say: Hang in there. Give yourself grace. Rest in God’s care for you and your kiddos. And know that this journey is so worth it.

Happy Friday from the Homeschooling Hermits!

(Hopefully you’re not taking me too seriously, and thinking of leaving me a comment about the need to be socialized and not hermitized, because I will have to…well, I’m not sure…invite you to spend the week with us? Refer you to every other post on this blog? Alas, I do still find myself having to give a defense of my own thesis on a regular basis: a hospitable home and a healthy church are the very best places for proper socialization!)

9 thoughts on “Homeschooling Hermits

      1. Some initial thoughts:
        Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (about outdoor play/connectedness)
        any book about the Forest School movement (same)
        Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom
        Playful Learning by Mariah Bruehl
        Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids and Let Grow movement-

  1. She should use an excerpt from “The Sound of Music” of Maria asking the Captain when the children were allowed to play…and then later she makes play clothes from the curtains. “Do Re Mi” is the result of the children playing and having “the time of their lives” as Maria later told the Captain.

    1. What a great idea! I told her she should open her presentation with this movie reference. 😉 Maria knew instinctively what have now been scientifically proven!

  2. LOVE THIS! In the earliest years, breaking through reading with a child while the baby cried and the toddler destroyed something was a special kind of torture. And my husband would say ‘but they can go to school if you’re overwhelmed.’ But it wasn’t the school age child that was driving me up a wall and around the bend.

    Now that my youngest is 3, and my olders have gotten routine and discipline and loads more chores in their day to day school, it is wonderful. Lovely. Not hermit like here yet, but that day will come. And I will treasure it as much as reading The Hobbit and James Herriott in the afternoon after the days bookwork is complete.

    1. I always said that homeschooling with a toddler at home is no different that homeschooling with a baby mountain goat on the loose. Every time you turn around, they’re on top of something or scaling the bookshelf. And yes, you are entering such a lovely time! Thanks, Cassi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *