As I taught the vocabulary and spelling lesson that Friday afternoon, I kept my head buried in the teacher's manual, trying to stay focused and get through the lesson. I paid no attention to the clock but knew that the hours were waning. I wrote on the dry-erase board, "C followed by an e, i, or y, makes an s sound. Just like the words city, century or cymbal." I lacked my typical enthusiasm as I dreamily looked out the window to a sunny May afternoon. I saw each nine-year-old take quick glances to the window too. It was a lovely day outside. The fidgeting began. Fingers tapped, chairs tipped, and bare-foot toes wiggled. With the uncapped green marker still in my left hand, I leaned way back in my chair, glanced right & then left. I paused. "Guys, how would you like to learn to plant a garden?" "Sure!" they giggled in unison and tore out of the room...
Uh-oh. Once again, I struggled with my impulsive nature, thinking, "Great. I know nothing about gardening, but it just seems like the perfect day to plant a garden." I reasoned that the decision made total sense; we've already done school for four or five hours!
Enter Mrs. Melissa, our next- door neighbor and gardener extraordinaire....She just happened to be out back that day! In previous years, the boys had helped her pick myriad green beans, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes which seemed to grow effortlessly in her weed-free soil. Certainly, she wouldn't mind briefing us on what to do?
Turned out that (that very day!) she helped us till a 3' x 8' space right in front of the shed of our 1/2 acre backyard, coaching the suburban mom and students about which plants were best for Maryland soil. She gave us tips needed to cultivate and maintain our new plot.
That summer, we enjoyed tomatoes, zucchini and green peppers. A pretty quick reaping from what was sown that gorgeous May afternoon. I realized that perhaps I had made the right decision in cutting short our vocab lesson. We learned a lot more from Melissa than from the textbook, and eventually finished the vocabulary lesson on another day.
In contrast to the quick-growing garden, that very spring we were given a tiny Apricot tree from another gardener friend, Mr. Parker. He communicated that there wouldn't be any fruit for three to four years. Three to four years? That's a long time to wait! Once again, he assured us not to look at the tree and think that it was dead just because we didn't see fruit.
Here's the point: These two friends, Melissa & Mr. Parker, taught me a valuable lesson. In homeschooling, we're giving 100% of ourselves, teaching faithfully every day. Whether it's academics, manners or spiritual truths, sometimes we might feel that the teaching is endless...like stringing beads -- only with no knot at the end! We may even doubt ourselves when we don't see results. But just because we don't see outward signs doesn't mean that nothing's happening! We just can't see the growth. Things might be dormant, but eventually, there will be fruit! It might be sooner (like our little garden) or later -- like the Apricot tree.
So, keep on! Stay faithful. Keep teaching!
Remember, there will be fruit!
lots of love,