Peter’s Corner: A New School Year

Well, I guess it's that time of the year again, so let me say Happy Homeschooling to all of our Tree of Life families! I really mean that; follow me. My sense is that many families choose homeschooling among other reasons, for the flexibility and individualization possible at home, and for the opportunity to create rich and fulfilling learning experiences. Therefore, we should hope and expect that our homeschooling, as with other family routines, will be accompanied with joy if we approach it with the proper goals in mind. Am I being idealistic? I don't think so. This is not to say that there won't sometimes be struggles, frustration and tears - both for the child and parent - when the rubber hits the road. Life's hard and sin abounds. However, the opportunity to learn with our children in freedom and to the glory of God should be appreciated and celebrated in whatever ways possible.

In the Lindsay home, we are no just formally embarking on the homeschooling journey with our oldest daughter, so you could say that we are still very green. Today, I just came back into my office from enjoying a little poetry teatime with my family. We read Robert Louis Stevenson and ate biscuits and heart-shaped pieces of watermelon. This is something my wife plans to do every Thursday at snack time; we heard the idea from more than one source and found it delightful! Shouldn't we celebrate good literature with our children and make such moments special and memorable? This is one way to build a culture of learning: celebrate and live the ideas you are studying. Now I fully realize that not every moment in our homeschooling day will be so prim and artsy, and maybe the poetry tea will lose its allure, but I hope not. There's too much great material out there.

So, there is an idea to celebrate the privilege of homeschooling or at least make the beginning of this year a little more special. Just use caution before implementing this routine with teenage boys!

In other news, Tree of Life has been busy gearing up for the new school year, helping folks make last minute curriculum choices, ordering materials, enrolling for courses, etc. You can always call or email with any requests or issues you may have. Let me also mention that we are excited to be piloting a new online system, called NEO, to manage some of our discussion-based classes this year, including the Great Ideas and the 5-week book discussions. This goes along with some other upgrading to our online architecture planned for this year.

Stay tuned! And again, Happy Homeschooling from Tree of Life!