The other day, my daughter and I went to the beach as somewhat of a “last hurrah” before school starts. Of course we will be going back during the school year, but after several weeks of planning and prepping for the upcoming school year, a day trip was certainly in order. When we arrived, someone was flying a kite. It is nothing unusual to see kites flying on NC beaches, but with a the start of a new school year on my mind, I looked at it in a different way.
Some people make kite flying look effortless. Those folks are casually holding on the string with one hand, while sitting in a chair sipping on their favorite beverage. Then there’s the other people. Running this way and that, just trying to get the kite off the ground. Once it’s up, the kite seems to have a mind of it’s own twisting and twirling, ending with a massive nosedive. Over and over, they repeat this process longing for success, even if it’s just for a few moments.
While I’m no expert kite flyer, I do know you need a few things: open space, the kite, a person to fly the kite, and of course, wind. As we embark on a new school year ahead, I had several thoughts cross my mind as I watched the kite float with the ocean breezes.
Wide open spaces.
Just like you need wide open spaces to fly a kite, you need wide open spaces in your homeschool. I love the saying, “Not all classrooms have four walls”. Homeschooling lends the opportunity to go far beyond the classroom. It took me a while to realize that truth. Our very best and most memorable learning has happened outside our walls. As my kids are getting older, I have never regretted going on the nature walk that I didn’t think we had time in the schedule for. I’ve never regretted going to that same museum five times. Now that they are in high school and the workload is greater, may I remember not to pass up opportunities for outside the box learning, or simply doing something we enjoy. Time is value, and academic value is not always the goal. The kite needs plenty of room to fly, just like they do.
The kite and the handler.
Have you ever had a kite that was difficult to launch? Or one that launched quickly, then twirled around wildly in the sky, and ended it’s short flight with a forceful nosedive? I have. My husband enjoys flying kites, and he has had his share of difficulties! Here’s a short clip of a recent trip to Jockey’s Ridge:
Homeschooling can be similar. Some kids can be hard to “launch”, or some take right off. Is he ever going to learn to read? Some leave you wondering, “what are they are thinking”? Then there are some that crash. Will she ever understand algebra? You just have to do what any kite handler would do – pick it up and try again! The person flying the kite has the job of getting the kite off the ground, and keeping it steady in the sky. The string needs to be let out and pulled back at times. So it is with homeschooling. Our kids need some freedom, some lead-way. It’s our job to give them some line. Recognize that when things aren’t steady, the line may need to be brought back a few loops. The kite handler is always making adjustments for successful flying.
Of course! There must be wind, and the kite must fly against the wind. When choosing the homeschooling lifestyle, you are going against the wind, or against the “norm” so to speak. You will not always get the support you wished for. Your family may cast doubt, your mom-friends may think you’re crazy. The neighbors may label your family as weird. Your own kids will ask questions, and wonder what it’s like to “go with the flow”. Sometimes the wind will be strong and make you want to give up.
Several times when flying a kite there is rarely a steady, gently breeze, but you know what? Sometimes there are perfect days. The days when those accomplishments can put you on cloud nine. I can say the same goes with homeschooling. Variable winds will pose a challenge. It seems like so much work, so why would one choose to go against the wind? I hope the answer is obvious: TO FLY! When you are in control of the string, and can finally sit back and relax, something magical happens:
As the kite proudly flies, not only you, but others can look up at the beauty in the sky and smile.
Go against the wind.
Be the kite handler.
Watch them FLY!