Thursday, July 10, 2014

Late and Last: Looking at Words

I believe that two of the most overused words in the English language are "late" and "last."

Think about it. So many ads in print and on TV blare out the importance of coming in to their stores before it's too late! It's your last chance to save big! These savings won't last! The sense of urgency spills over into other areas of life. These summer days won't last! Better enjoy them now before it's too late. We can't be late or we might miss the most important part of (fill in the blank)! And who ate the last cookie?

There is finality in these terms. It appears as if nothing will come after.

As a homeschooler, I try to remember that nothing is final. It's never too late to learn something new. There is not a last chance for anything unless I choose to give up. Just because a child doesn't read before kindergarten doesn't mean they are doomed to fall further and further behind. Just because a child doesn't grasp basic calculations the first time doesn't mean they are doomed to never do well in math. I learned to understand the beauty of math by teaching it to my oldest. I thought history was boring until I learned it alongside my children. There is not one good time to learn something, there are several opportunities over a lifetime!

There are last chances in schools only because there are fixed schedules there. You must learn x, y, and z in a particular year because the teachers for the next grade don't have time to go back and teach it. They must always move everyone forward on the assembly line. That is what it is: linear education.

As a homeschooler, I don't need to follow that straight and narrow path. I can allow my children to have a relaxed and more purposeful education. Learning is meandering. They can wander off after an interest, look back, jump ahead, and sometimes walk beside me. It doesn't make it easy for me in a state where I must report, but I knew what I was getting myself into. I chose this. It won't be the last time I choose to choose it.

And I can bake more cookies.


Paula Vince said...

Hi Cristina,
Those are excellent thoughts. I wonder if this terminology we're always getting from the media adds to rushed feeling so many people struggle with.
Homeschooling is a different lifestyle. It's meandering and relaxed, giving people a chance to become themselves. I also like it that if the kids find they don't like a particular subject, we don't have to push on with it, like unit studies in school.
Thanks for the reminder.

Inner Elder said...

I got a lot out of this blog. It applies to many areas of life and I needed to hear it today. Let us hope that the homeschooling lessons of exploring without deadlines and pressure will translate - for your children - into a lifelong adventure in learning. Love you lots, Mom

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