And it's great to share ideas. But it's also a slippery slope. We can peer into each other's homes, see all the good things happening there and start to feel very insecure--and covetous. The truth is, we all have different gifts and abilities. We all have different shortcomings. We all have different temperamental nuances. We have different budgets. And, most importantly, we all have different husbands and children. The beauty of home education is that it's not one-size-fits-all.
What works in Leonie's home of seven boys (where some are grown and gone) might look silly in Alice's cottage of six girls and one boy, where the oldest is twelve and the youngest was born just a couple of weeks ago. In either home, if they tried to duplicate the other, a golden opportunity for a unique and beautiful education would be lost. I can't imagine Leonie without her down-to-earth unschooling approach which is tailored so well to each and every boy, where she spends so much time talking with them and planning with them. And I can't imagine Alice without the faith and grace and beauty and excellence that is the life and breath of the cottage and everyone in it. And I sheepishly admit to wanting to have been one or the other of them at various times over the last seven or so years.
And really, neither approach--taken in its entirety--would work very well here. We all have the same number of children, but we are not all the same.
This is the crux of the whole thing. Our selves and our families are God's design. It's one of the few things we can know for certain. God made us and He knows intimately the way we are. Furthermore, knowing the way we are, He has put people in our lives (primarily our husbands and children) to help us get to be the way He wants us to be. He gave us these children (whether by birth or adoption). It's His plan that we educate them. And so, we can only be doing His will if we work with that whole complex of self and family together. We can glean ideas, but we can't outright copy the work of our friends. This is our own personal journey to sanctity.
That's why this time of year is so tricky: even the veterans start comparing and looking at each other's work and they can be sorely tempted by the devil. We have to sift all the good advice and information in light of our own family circumstances, our own kids. If we don't discern prayerfully, the tricky Evil One quickly has a foothold on leading us astray. He will take something good, like the fine examples of our friends' home "schools," and twist it in our brains late at night and make us forget that we are not created in the image of those good ladies. We are uniquely created in the image of God. And so are our children. Together, we journey to heaven, choosing the tools for shaping minds and souls very carefully, because the mission is to answer God's unique call for us, and us alone.