My thoughts, Poetic Homeschooling

Aha Moment

My oldest daughter and I enjoy watching some episodes of the science series by Steven Johnson titled like one of his books, How We Got To Now. We watch it through Netflix. I imagine they are available at other TV providers. I think you may be able to watch them here.

In the program, Steven Johnson takes us back to the time when a world changing break through or invention were made. In the chapter titled Cold, he repeated that inventions and ideas are seldom the product of just one person, and they don’t come in “aha” moments. They are hunches that sometimes can spread over years to catch, to culminate in a tangible life changing device or discovery. Most times, discoveries are made and the ramifications are not seen immediately, or they can not be applied for lack of, what he calls, a network. The circumstances and mentality of the times have to be in line for the ‘change’ or new thing to be tried. Many people copyright lots of ideas, it’s not the ideas alone, but the one with the vision of what to do with them, what makes the difference. One person can buy lots of those patents and be the one setting up in motion an artifact that can change the course of history. That happens very frequently.

With Edison, we saw the importance of marketing an idea, creating an expectation of something so that others can invest, and then that something can be truly invented or developed. (Yeap, he invited reporters and showed them his “long lasting bulb” -not to mind it was being replaced every time a new reporter showed up, because it was not an long lasting bulb at.all. Once the public was all excited about the idea of having a bulb lasting a good amount of hours, the interest brought the funding and the minds under his command, and team Edison produced the first long lasting bulb.

Another constant source of ideas and connections has been to me some food and chef documentaries I watch. Chefs are under a lot of pressure to make a name for themselves, while they are most times having to work under the tutelage of other famous chefs. Not all those tutors are the same, some allow their younger or less experienced chefs to be themselves, others will slave them. The chefs are all confronted with a dilemma. How am I going to respond to the situation? What am I going to do?, continue working in France, New York, or any other place that’s not their place? When to imitate, and when to follow my own intuition?

As a homeschooling mom, I have been blessed to learn from others (I still do). One should not try to do this alone, specially without Him. But nobody should attempt to be like this or that homeschooling mom either, and that’s all I tried for such a long time. Inspiration is invaluable, but at a time when we are not yet mature to know it’s OK to have our own ways, it can be a source of discontent, and we can get overwhelmed by all we see and hear about around us.

How many people does a homeschooling mom to feel good into her own skin? How many years of reading books and blogs, learning different philosophies of education, listening to podcasts, does a mom need before she realizes this is not about checking boxes, or becoming expert educators? It took me 11 years (I started reading about homeschooling when I was pregnant with my oldest. It doesn’t have to take you that long. I don’t think one needs to know Greek to read and understand Homer (but that’s altogether a different topic), but I’m convinced that, to have peace at home, to teach and live from rest, one needs to listen (and listen I did not).

I’ve been hearing about rest for some time but I never listened. I desire rest in my life, in my homeschool. yet I’ve been restlessly looking for it, and, in my haste, I’ve only managed to chase it away. I did not understand anything about what rest in the Lord means, or what rest in our home education involves. Over some time, my ways of learning and looking for rest started to change, and now I see that it all worked to become my personal story from running the rat race, to dwelling in His promises. This is my story. It has taken me six years to gain a real insight about what being at rest means. It’s an exciting time, a freeing time. For the first time since I was pregnant and reading about homeschooling,  I feel that same joy but none of the anxiety and doubts.

Rest in our homeschool is something I was almost about to give up of ever achieving. I saw how others enjoyed their days of learning and living at home, and I felt a painful yearning. We were not that family.

If I was going to aim for a rigorous education, there will always be tears and rejection, the only way of not having children who resist my teaching was letting them do whatever they want. I never thought there could be a balance.

There was a time when I covered all my doubts and anxiety with advice (for others), and with an incessant quest for the way to meet the scheduled plans. I wrote about not doing this, doing that, but the writing, my advice, my twisting and turning plans and stuffing more and more content, books, experiences, classes, and what not, was my way of escaping the reality of a family life that needed attention, a home atmosphere that was abandoned.

Then, something started to happen. A devotional on rest, a book (Teaching from Rest) I resisted buying despite of being highly recommended by many friends, the realization it was time to leave online presence to be present at home (even if that meant cutting communication with dear friends), my decision to be more involved with other moms locally (we joined a co-op), and that notion of rest took shape and presented itself as reachable.

Read this words by Oswald Chambers with me:

In spite of all our sense of uncleanness, in spite of all our rush and interest in the work of the world, and in spite of all our logic, the implicit sense of God will come and disturb our peace.

I was looking for my peace, and God was disturbing it and pointing me toward His peace. Not only, I was pretty restless too looking for peace on my own terms.

More by Chambers:

To “rest in the Lord” is the perfection of inward activity. In the ordinary reasoning of man it means sitting with folded arms and letting God do everything; in reality it is being so absolutely stayed on God that we are free to do the active work of men without fuss. The times God works most wonderfully are the times we never think about it.

And reading Teaching from Rest, Sarah Mackenzie nailed it when she writes:

It’s important to remember that rest is not ease. This isn’t idealism. It isn’t simple and peaceful in the sense of being easy or gentle. Teaching from rest is meaningful learning and growth -but without the anxiety and frenzy so common in our day. Contrary to what you might think at first when you hear “teaching from rest,” teaching from rest will take diligence, attention, and a lot of hard work.

She calls this restful diligence. Rest involves surrender, the idea of less of me and more of Thee.

And this, in our homeschool, translated into low key, humble consistency. I finally knew what we ought to do. I had to quit, once and for all, looking around, comparing and measuring by worldly standards. I had to simplify our days, stripe it of all the unnecessary  (materials, activities, books and lessons my pride added), and work, happy in the thought we are who we are, and we are doing what needs to be done at that time.


5 thoughts on “Aha Moment”

  1. Thanks, Silvia, for your honesty! It's hard to not feel like you should be doing what others are doing or that you're missing out (or your kids are) if you're not doing XYZ. I've heard about that book Teaching from Rest but haven't read it yet. I'm not sure we can get much rest during our homeschool day with a 2 year old 🙂 It seems always hectic. But I'm also learning to find what works best for your own family in the season in which God has you. Since seasons are always changing, they will rarely look the same from year to year sometimes, but Jesus is always the same and I'm looking to Him to guide us 🙂


  2. Kim,

    Thanks for stopping by, it means a lot.

    I'll gladly let you borrow the book. And the author had toddlers and babies -even when writing it, ha!- Rest is not the ceasing of activity, but an atmosphere, a state of mind and soul, a rest in His promises, as you say, because He's our Rock.

    I have seen you grow into a humble, beautiful, and wise mom, and it makes my heart sing to see moms like you embracing this journey and leaving Him be the guide and authority.


  3. Hi Silva,
    I read your blog occasionally (I go on-line occasionally) and am so happy to read this post. I commented a while back and have spent time praying for you. Joy in the home and in our relationships with each other and with the Lord, which then spills out to joy touching others through us in the outside world. This is to be filled with the Spirit and to give Him the burden – to rest in Him and allow Him to direct our steps. Blessings to you and your family. Grace


  4. Grace,

    Thank you so much for the prayers, and for what you wrote in your comment. I'm writing your comment in my commonplace book, to meditate in your prayer and the thoughts you shared, “to give Him the burden, to rest in Him, to allow Him to guide our steps”, as you say.

    Blessings to you too, Grace.


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