While warm weather, garden vegetables, and vacations all herald the onset of summer, the surest sign summer is here to stay is the annual invasion of grasshoppers. These harbingers of vegetative destruction gnaw on grass, strip bushes of their leaves and bark, and decimate young trees. I can’t sit on the porch swing without one jumping at my head or crawling on my leg or neck. These insects are annoying and destructive, and I despise them.
Another unwelcome summer visitor is the tendency to second-guess our decisions about teaching our children at home. In the less hectic days of summer, I have time to look through stacks of homeschooling catalogs that have accumulated over the past months. With all of the new, flashy programs, my low-tech techniques suddenly appear less effective. “Should I try this new science program?” “Look at all of the great materials that come with this history program. Surely the kids will learn more from this than our current practice of reading and discussing good books.” “This next year I think I will do more unit studies or lapbooks or notebooking or…"
These negative thoughts are like grasshoppers in my life. They often arrive a few at a time, but left unchecked, they have the power to cripple and destroy our family. This year, instead of spending the summer months planning a “better” way to homeschool, I am determined to take time to relax, enjoy my children, observe their interests and passions, and build relationships with them. We will work on projects, try out new recipes, craft together, visit friends and family, and spend time laughing and having fun. I will put my Sharpies, schedules, and endless lists on the shelf, and if I feel compelled to re-evaluate my home education plans, I will remember that while academics have their place, life skills and relationships are what really count in life.