“Ready or not, here I come!”
When our children were young, we heard these words countless times—often accompanied by excited giggles—echo through our home whenever they began a game of hide-and-seek.
Afterward, as they moved from room to room to find their siblings, we’d hear a cheer when they were successful.
“Let’s do it again!” echoed the cry, before dissolving into a countdown of “1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . ”
Over and over, they would repeat the game until I called them to the table for a meal or redirected them to another activity.
Advice for Foundations Parents: Welcome to a Life of Hide and Seek
In the introductory pages of the Foundations Curriculum, one quote at the end of Leigh’s welcome letter to parents has always been impactful to me: “Welcome to a life of hide and seek.”
For years, I pondered what this eight-word sentence meant to me as a parent of elementary-aged children in the Foundations program.
Now that our children have all graduated from or moved into Challenge, I can tell you four things that I’m grateful we hid from and sought as a family during those precious years within the Foundations program. Here’s some advice for parents in Foundations gleaned from my own experiences:
Hide from Schedules and Seek Routines
When we first began homeschooling, one of the things I thought would lead to success was a rigorous and vigorous daily schedule.
I sat down one day and wrote out a parade of events beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m. . . . for my 5-year-old. 😐
Unfortunately, I considered curriculum, books, and family field trips, but the one thing to not cross my mind was the nature of a five year old! His greatest needs were to nap, to eat snacks, to snuggle on my lap and read, and to dig in the dirt, among other things.
Eventually I developed a rhythm which was much more hospitable not only for my children but for me as well. For examples of rhythms to inspire, visit pages 75–78 of Classical Christian Education Made Approachable.
As you do so, keep in mind that someone else’s rhythm may not fit your family’s needs. Adjust as necessary to discover one that is both fun as well as fulfilling.
Hide from Others’ Expectations and Seek Growth Opportunities
When others found out we were homeschooling, they were quick to offer me a multitude of opinions and advice:
“What about socialization?”
“Do you have desks for everyone?”
“Do you think your kids turn out weird?”
After nearly two decades of homeschooling, I can assure you that socialization is not a concern, every surface in our home has been used as a desk, and my children are delightfully “weird” in every way we would wish them to be.
One of the most difficult obstacles for me to overcome as a new homeschooler was divorcing myself from the words of my friends who thought they were being helpful. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I have for parents in Foundations: filter others’ opinions through the lens of Scripture and weigh them carefully on the scale of Truth. If God called you to this path, He will be faithful to equip you to walk it with grace.
Who knows . . . your kids may turn out to be as wonderfully “weird” as ours are!
Read: “How to Socialize Homeschool Kids”
Hide from Worksheets and Seek Experiences
As a former classroom teacher, I had an unhealthy attachment to worksheets as a form of busywork and assessment for my young children.
The realization that I could assess them through activity rather than solely on paper occurred to me one day as I stumbled across our eldest lining up his toy trains by engine number.
“1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . ” he counted as he studied each one.
That day, I began to intentionally decrease busywork and instead pray for teachable moments to weave both work and play together.
Worksheets fulfilled different needs for our family as our children grew, but I’ll be forever grateful for the early days filled with discovery through playful activities and experiences.
Read: “Stick in the Sand”
Hide from Isolation and Seek Community
As a homeschooler, it can be tempting to go it alone.
As a matter of fact, during a transitional move from one state to another, our family did just that for one solitary year.
I learned from that experience that community was much more valuable than I had realized, and that homeschool was more doable when I did it with my friends.
When we rejoined a local community the following year in our new state, I breathed a sigh of relief as we began forging lifelong relationships with our newfound friends. Never again would we choose to go it alone—community was far too valuable to do without, for both me and for our children.
Read: “The Power of Community”
Advice for Foundations Parents
As the community year begins, a life of hide and seek may help you discover more than you had ever hoped or realized for your own family on your homeschool journey.
At the end of the year, may you echo our children within your own community: “Hide and seek? Let’s do it again!”