It's said that homeschooling changes everything. Most obviously, we homeschoolers experience a stunning paradigm-shift in how we think about learning and what it means to be educated.
But homeschooling also changes how we think about home.
I have contemplated at various times throughout the life of this blog changing the title from "homeschooling" to "unschooling" or "learning" because we are not school-at-homers. But each time I have thought this I resist. Because even though so much of our learning comes from the people, places, and things in our community, home is the linchpin. Home holds everything together.
Our homes are powerful places. They nurture and nourish our families. They grow our dreams and "protect our dreamers." They cultivate creativity and invention. They warm us, shelter us, and gather us together.
At this time of year, as the indoor days of late-fall and winter take hold, I take comfort in home and grow increasingly awed at what we are able to produce, to accomplish, within these walls, as a family. Our homes can be extraordinary places of production. We can transform flour into bread, yarn into clothing, paper into masterpieces.
At times I can find myself growing overwhelmed by bellies that are always hungry, laundry that always piles up, floors that always get messy. I can feel pulled in many directions, as someone wants me to read a book, while someone else needs help spelling a word, and someone else wants a sliced apple, and someone else needs a fresh diaper. "You should be a squid," my five-year-old says to me, acknowledging that it would take 10 limbs to meet all these needs.
It's at these times that I try--as best I can--to take a deep breath, pause, and remind myself that this is all important work. The most important work. For in our homes, we are caring and tending, nourishing and nesting, creating and guiding. We are turning our homes into places of production, and not merely consumption. We are raising children, building a family, making a home.
In our homes, we are protecting dreams and dreamers.
The most important work.