Last night was Connection Sunday, our church's monthly small group get together. This year, our family is hosting a (not so small) group, which meant 36 people at our house for an evening of fellowship, praying for each other, talking through what we've been learning from God's Word, dinner together, and lots more visiting. By the time the last friends have left, the house is tidied up, and the kids finally get their showers, Connection Sunday inevitably means a later-than-normal bedtime for kids who have had a busier-than-normal Sunday, which leads to a sleepier-than-normal Monday morning.
As it was, because we homeschool, I was able to let them have an extra hour of sleep and then have an hour of quiet play upstairs while they came around. Instead of tired, not-really-ready-to-learn kids who were forced out of the house early, I now have well-rested children who are refreshed, thrilled to have built their best train track ever, and ready to tackle some slightly more "formal" learning.
Homeschooling gives me the freedom to embrace what is really important, opening up our home for hospitality and fellowship without worrying about the time on the clock, knowing that I can adjust the schedule to ensure that the kids will still get the rest they need to be at their best for learning.
Having 2 very able students who need to be pushed and challenged and 1 struggling learner who requires almost constant interaction and supervision means there never seem to be enough hours to get in all of the "learning" written into my lesson plans. I don't always do a good job at relaxing and choosing relationship over schedules, but when I do, it is such a blessing!
As we finish up this school year and I begin drawing up plans for the 2013-2014 school year, one of the challenges I have set for myself is to more fully take advantage of the freedoms that a "homeschooling lifestyle" offers, like the blessing of not having to choose between hospitality/ relationships and well-rested/well-educated children.
Disclaimer: The fact that I (usually) love homeschooling and occasionally blog about why I love it and how it blesses our family in no way means that I believe that everyone has to homeschool their children or that you are not acting in your child's/family's best interests if you choose not to, so please don't send me nasty e-mails or post snarky facebook comments about us "judgmental" homeschoolers :-)