Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Line Between Selfishness and Joyful in Grace

I have finally setteled the debate within myself that my calling to homeschool is just as much for my benefit as my children. I do believe it is good for them, based on the knowledge that I have aquired, the best at this point and time.

But it may be better for me. Some people say that they are too selfish to homeschool. I am too selfish not to.

I don't like strangers dictating my schedule. I want to be the one to choose what they learn and how they learn it based on my evaluation of them. I want to know what they have learned. I want to influence them based on our family values and beliefs throughout their learning.

But even more, what I have gained personally from this venture is better than a college degree.

Take the subject of History for example.

I thought history was memorizing a few facts and dates. Oh my word. I would have never known the difference without being involved in their learning. History is comprised of stories. Real stories that make up who we are now. I realize that it doesn't take a genius to figure this out, but if the goal is passing a test instead of actual learning, this may be the conclusion, period.

And it can be so simple. Our first stop on our way to Oklahoma last week was in Arkansas City at the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum. We had a "treasure hunt" to complete within the museum which was exciting in itself. We were able to actually see so many of the things we had already studied or read about, like the yoke for calves Almonzo got for his birthday. As I explained it to the girls, another young boy walking by said, "Hey, I'm not the only one that read 'Farmer Boy'!". We saw a blacksmith's station, anvil, bellow, and all. But my most exciting find was a telegraph after learning about Morse Code.

The prize they got for completing the treasure hunt was a Cherokee Rose rock that is found at the end of the "trail of tears"

One rock, that forms dozen of questions.
Like, "Why were they so sad? Why did they cry?"
Which also set a platform for our visit to the Chickasaw Nation and Standing Bear Park.

"Why did they have to move?"
"What was it like?"
"Why did they get in trouble when they left the reservation?"
"Why wouldn't white people think Indians weren't human?"

But what I saw from both of these adventures was not staying in tears but persevering and determining to hold on to their culture yet embracing the present to work out what it best for their people. I am not saying I agree with everything, but I have the utmost respect for a group of people that stand for what is right, and are willing to share it with anyone willing to learn.

If you were to ask my children about our Oklahoma stay, they would probably tell you that there is red dirt in Oklahoma.

They would also say that we got to swim in the hotel.
And they might mention that they got to dance with "real Indians".

Even though it may not come to mind, I believe we all have a better idea what Oklahoma, meaning "Red People" in Choctaw, is all about.

And in my own life, and my children's, history seems to settle uneasiness about who we are as well. My children have felt uncomfortable when they are the only ones with brown skin. I have been frustrated with being a Mennonite farmer's daughter. But History changes things. It improves understanding, it increases appreciation, and it gives a satisfaction to who we are. And it even challenges us to ask, "why am I here, at this time, with this history?"

Why did God call me to homeschool? I don't think it was because he wanted me to indulge in my selfish desires. I think he might have given me this challenge based on my history and personality, knowing it is what is best for me...and my family.

1 comment:

  1. Good observations. I hated history when I was in school. Now I love it. I was pondering just yesterday with a friend the audacity of white people (of which I am one).