How does one explain a ‘lifestyle of learning’ within the realm of homeschooling? The concept is hard to put into exact words. After searching for a way to describe it most succinctly I found this description:
“Home Education is a lifestyle. Learning does not begin at 8.30a.m. and conclude at 2.00p.m.Learning is life- all of life- from the time we rise up, as we walk and talk, as we visit, as we read and study, as we play a game, as we cook, as we drive, as we prepare for bed. Deuteronomy 4:5-6 tells us that as parents, we are never off the hook. We are to be leading our children all the time. – “Follow me as I follow Christ,” says Paul and so should we.” –quote from design-your-homeschool.com
While there are many more sources available which expound further, honestly, that quote sums it all up!
Initially I began learning about this methodology from a few online homeschooling groups. One of which was Tina Farewell, founder of “Lifetime Books and Gifts” company and well known homeschooling speaker, who attends the FPEA’s statewide annual convention. The movement was coined ‘Lifestyle of Learning (aka LOL)’ by Marilyn Howshall as a ministry and a book titled ‘Wisdom’s Way of Learning’ teaches the concepts. Barb Shelton’s website, which is dedicated to Marilyn Howshall’s teachings, is another place I spent an enormous amount of time (seriously… hours and hours with tea in hand…) learning what exactly LOL meant.
Additionally, other resources that encouraged me in my walk of understanding these ideas were Cindy Rushton’s website and Mary Hood’s book the “Relaxed Homeschooler”. God chose to use each one of these God fearing women to bring me to a place where I no longer strived to be like everyone else and to stop comparing my family to the ‘idea’ of the perfect homeschooling family. I began the process of finding joy, and peace, again in the homeschooling journey.
The take away from all of this learning, which I had spent months immersing myself in, was that I began to truly seek what God wanted for our individual family. What did God want me to do with my, I mean His, kids? How did He want me to teach them? How did He want them to learn? What schedule did HE want my kids to be on? Not the schedule that other curriculum vendors touted, or the perfect appearing homeschooling families said were ‘the’ formula for educating. I stopped asking am I supposed to have ‘school’ from 8-2, 9-3? Am I supposed to use unit studies, Abeka, Bob Jones, Saxon Math, MUS, TOG… what? What exactly was the right, the correct, the perfect way my kids were supposed to be taught because I didn’t want to fail them, I didn’t want them to miss the boat, I didn’t want my kids to have a ‘below the bar’ education. I finally began to embrace that seemingly elusive freedom in homeschooling! Thus began the journey we decided to take – we would do our book work at night and use our days for field trips, cleaning, and spending time with the principal of the family, dad. Had we not changed our understanding of learning the kids would never have seen their dad or been able to spend time with him. He works the graveyard shift of the county school board so he goes to work from 2pm-2am four days a week and works a second, sometimes a third job, during his off hours in order for our family to remain homeschooling. We were able to have a good life, a family life, where we ate a big lunch, early dinner, with dad and ate a small dinner just the kids and I. Was it a ‘normal’ home? I don’t believe that there is a definition for ‘normal’ especially in the homeschooling family.
There is so much more that can be said regarding living a Lifestyle of Learning but nothing can describe, explain, or paint a picture of it perfectly… the only way to truly understand what it is would be to embrace it and experience it for yourself. Watch and see the amazing things God will accomplish when you get out of the way like I did!
Go ahead… you know you want to try it!
By Nancy Robbins, FPEA Relationship Ambassador. For most of the past 15 years, Nancy Robbins has run a night school. Not the back-to-college kind, though — the Robbins family’s homeschool has taken on an unusual look because of Nancy’s husband’s night-shift job. With an 18-year-old daughter graduating this year, and with a 17-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, the Robbins family lifestyle appears to have worked well.