Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom
With the coming of fall, we tend toward stories and learning activities about apples and pumpkins. A study of Columbus or the Pilgrims naturally fits well during this time of year. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s no shortage of learning to be done.
But there’s another kind of season that fits naturally into our homeschools: the seasons of life.
Life, Death, Sickness, Health, Richer or Poorer — they’re seasons we all walk through. As we certainly can’t ignore them, they provide learning opportunities, whether we are purposeful about them or not.
I remember hearing a mom lament her family’s past school year that had seen them walk through both serious and terminal illness with family members. She felt guilt over her children’s lack of academic instruction that year.
It gave me pause as I remembered the year my high school French teacher died. Monsieur had battled a long illness, and we students had had a long series of substitute teachers. Our French instruction was certainly lacking that year, but we got an education about life and death. We were able to catch up eventually with a permanent French instructor. And yet, we were changed in some ways beyond the textbooks.
As I listened to this mom recount her school year, I realized that these seasons are an opportunity to teach our children in profound, experiential ways–about our world, about social practices, about science and math in real life, and about God.
We learn about the world.
My children have welcomed baby siblings, said farewell to their grandmother, and walked alongside us through debt, illness, and financial recovery. They know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Grandmas shouldn’t die of cancer, and families shouldn’t go broke. Likewise, they’ve also witnessed blessings in new babies and renewed financial stability.
They’ve seen good and they’ve seen sad. And yet, they get a chance to learn about these things with us in a safe environment where they know they are loved and cared for.
We learn about social practices.
The days of reading through etiquette books seem to be gone. Instead, we teach our children social mores through example rather than by a textbook or course. When we walk through difficult seasons, we have an opportunity to show our children what’s acceptable in each situation.
Families with new babies, illnesses, or other major life changes need our help. As we are helped or help others, our kids learn how to be compassionate and how to help their neighbors.
We learn about science and math in real life.
When we’ve welcomed new babies or struggled through illnesses, our kids get a first-hand look at how textbook science and math interact with the real world. We discuss medicines, dosages, xrays, and baby care.
They learn about hospitals and doctors — and they see that what they learn in our homeschools is helpful, often necessary knowledge in real life.
We learn about God.
As our family has walked through good times and sad, my husband and I have had ample opportunity to trust God with our future. Will we have more babies? Will Gramma beat cancer? Will this baby arrive healthy? Will we pay off the debt?
There are so many what-ifs in life, plenty of chances to put our faith into practice. As we learn, so do our kids. Trusting God amidst challenging times is a teachable moment — for us and for our children. Our kids learn to love and trust Him as we do.
Never let your schooling interrupt your education.
Life happens. And we learn from life. And if the math lesson doesn’t get done on a given day, that’s okay.
We’re still learning.
How has your family been intentional in discussing the seasons of life? How have you walked through the good and bad together?