Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I've had so many new people stop by that I need to do another explanation of Sunday Afternoon Tea. I've been doing this most Sundays since February of last year. Tempus is fugiting my friends. Here is what I wrote back then...

One legacy Edith Schaeffer created (and continues at Swiss L'Abri to this day) is that of Sunday High Tea. Tea is served as the background for hospitality, family, friendships, community, teaching, sharing, discussions, etc.

How I would have loved to be a part of those High Teas at L'Abri.
So I was thinking...each Sunday, I will share Tea within the living room of this little corner of the blog world. As you can see from the picture, I'm even letting you use my Royal Albert Lilac Rose dishes. :)

Imagine we are sitting around the living room, drinking Earl Grey (or your favorite tea), eating hearty sandwiches (for this is High Tea), hoping no one is watching as we go for thirds and fourths to the dessert tray (they are small, you know), and chatting about...Life.

I've enjoyed this very much. It has given me a chance to share various ponderings, some serious and some silly... many having to do with home, school, and family. This past week has found me pondering a great deal what education means to me... how we "educate" in our home. I guess it started with the California homeschool ruling and continued as I read comments regarding it online and listened on the radio.

I have a rather unique walk as a mother as far as education goes. One child went all the way through public schools and the other was homeschooled (mostly) after first grade. Also, one started her first day of University the same day the other walked into his Kindergarten room for the first time. That wasn't planned. It was God's sense of humor and His timing.

I used to tell people that if I can homeschool, anyone can... however, I have come to realize that is not true. What I was talking about at the time were circumstances (especially homeschooling with a chronic illness). I've seen too many people who homeschooled for the wrong reasons and the results were not good. What does it require? Who succeeds at homeschooling?

Those with a calling, commitment, and a passion. It's hard work. If you are not called, don't do it. Believe me... it is hard work. Especially if any of your children have challenges. I can still remember Christopher around age seven... locking himself in his room, kicking the door, and screaming at the top of his lungs while I sat outside his door sobbing and ready to drag him to the schoolhouse (which was just a block away) and tell them they could HAVE him... thank you very much.

But I would have missed so much if I'd given up when he was still so young. I'd have missed watching him grow in his love of great literature. I'd have missed the many, many nature walks in Midwestern parks as well as Michigan shorelines. There would be no memories of books open in the middle of the living room or science experiments in the kitchen. There would not have been the "year we studied WWII" or the "two years that was all about the Middle Ages". I'd never have developed a relationship with all those important channels on my TV... The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Military Channel, National Geographic Channel... you get the idea. :)

I would have missed all the wonderful (however imperfect) people we have met through co-ops and other homeschool functions. I'd have missed my students that I taught at the co-op. I wouldn't have known what the homeschool world was like, knowing the other likeminded (however imperfect) people whose lifestyles are challenging today's culture. Sorry world, that is not how my family wants to live. It's hard challenging culture, you know. You get tired... very tired. But it can be so rewarding and... fun!

We did get past the kicking and the screaming of the early ADHD years. We survived the years of oh, so slow reading... through to French and Russian novels. We both learned persistence and patience, as well as politics and history and literature and math and science and theology and geography and all that other "stuff" one accumulates in the years (and years) of family chats.

The outcome has been fantastic and he is a great young man (imperfect... but amazing considering how we started). The same kid who was in remedial reading and on Ritalin in his few years of public schooling is now making A's in trigonometry, graphic arts, biology, chemistry, and advanced english at the community college.

He works hard and studies hard but he has learned that contrary to what he was labeled in public schools... he is not stupid. He is just different. Our decision to send him to the community college his senior year was purely so he could get accepted more easily into the University for a curriculum heavy in math and science.

Some Christian kids handle public school just fine, like my daughter. My son-in-law is one of my favorite people and he spent K-PhD in the public schools. But what the judges in California don't get is... it is not about credentials. I learned a great deal from my parents, both of whom finished school in the 8th grade.

No credential takes the place of a mother and father who love their child, who will go through fire for that child, who would give up their own life for that child (and homeschooling mothers feel that way at times), and who know what makes their child tick more than any piece of paper.

No teacher in the public school system would have spent day... after day... after day... after frustrating day... teaching Christopher without drugging him. They refused, so we took him out of the public schools and taught him ourselves.

Someday we will all stand before God and account for our roles as parents. It doesn't matter whether our children grew up in the public schools, the Christian schools, homeschooled, or even... unschooled. What matters if that we ran the race God gave us even if society didn't agree. Each race will be unique for each family.

We are finishing our official homeschool journey once this summer is over. Unofficially we never stop educating our children just as we continue to learn from them. Thankfully, one doesn't need a teaching certificate for that...


Bren said...

WOW! Great tea time!! I so enjoyed "listening" to you share about your home school journey. I am inspired.

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) I enjoyed this so much! You are a dear lady, and I am enjoying getting to know you a little here.

Wow! Finishing homeschooling this! What a wonderful way to have spent these past years.

Our hs journey will continue for quite a while. It is such a joy (and a challenge :)

Thanks so much for the encouragement you shared today!Love, Q

freetobeme said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful time having tea together!
You are a great lady! I would have loved home schooling but it wasn't being done yet when my children were small. Thank you again, you're a delightful hostess.

Patsy Clairmont said...

You know I'm a wanna be tea aficionado.

Thanks for your sweet comments on my site.

Your blog is very attractive and tea-ish.

Congrats for investing so directly into your children--the dividends will be unending.

Tea Girls Rock! Patsy

Brenna said...

Brenda, this is well put. I agree with so much of what you have said. Home schooling is HARD, but it is an act of love and obedience. I love this time with my daughter.


Carrot Top said...

Thanks for sharing your homeschooling adventures with us. It is fun, and frustrating, and rewarding, and...

We have cable for the first time in our lives now. We have incorporated some Discovery shows into our science class. So I'll think of you and Christopher as we watch my boys' favorites, "How it Works," "Mythbusters," and "Smash Lab."