My husband and I spent some time over Christmas in Washington, DC celebrating our anniversary. Although it wasn’t our first visit to DC, we nonetheless found ourselves excited as we explored the energetic streets, admired the beautiful buildings, and toured the numerous museums.
Four hours later, we were ready for a change of pace from the jostle of the crowds. As we approached the grounds around the Washington Monument, the buildings began to take on a more spacious expanse, displaying their immensity against the evening sky. Park benches lined the 309 acres of land. We relished a few moments to sit, adjust our scarves, and reflect on all we had seen.
Soon we were ready to begin our walk back to the hotel and rejoin our place in the rush and excitement of the District along with the other pedestrians who were getting off work, heading to the corner grocery store, or starting out on a jog. Why did it feel as if it would take twice as long to get back than it did to get there? Is this how a race horse feels after completing the race and then is forced to take a few more laps around the track? Although our return journey wasn’t quite as fast out of the gate as it was a few hours previously, we put one foot in front of the other and began to pass familiar landmarks we had viewed just a few hours ago. Even though it took effort, we encouraged our tired legs to do our bidding and, notably, we observed details we had missed the first time around. The anticipation of knowing there was a warm meal and cozy hotel room waiting spurred us on! We had enjoyed our break on the park bench and were now ready for a quicker pace.
Home education also involves a change in the pace and activities of learning. The fall season brings a wild flurry of new books to behold, memory work to recite, and presentations to prepare. And then comes winter break. Ahh! How ready we are for a few weeks to bake our favorite cookies, linger with friends over coffee and playdates, prepare Christmas music for church, and yes, catch up on math. Thankfully, the change in activities is refreshing, even if it is at times vigorous! Before long, the Christmas decorations begin to find their way back to their worn boxes and the Nativity set is snugly nestled in tissue paper for a year-long sabbatical. We find ourselves face to face with those long winter months looming ahead. Will spring ever come? Will we survive until then?
Spring semester is a time to begin again. In our home, we invest some time reflecting on the conversations and events we experienced over the break. What were our favorite activities? What memories were made? Then we take a few afternoons to intentionally look ahead. We preview a sort of trailer version of the next chapters we will be covering in science and peek at the coming attractions of our Challenge debate topics. Dates for music recitals, dance classes, and church activities get sprinkled onto our new calendars still fresh from our Christmas stockings. With the confident care of a composer, we place one note in front of the other and begin to feel the rhythm and hear the whisper of the melody our spring semester studies will bring. Before long, we discover that we are indeed moving forward, learning, living, changing, and being sanctified.
Life-long learning embodies change. There will be natural rhythms of beginning, strolling, sprinting, resting, waiting, and discovering. As we practice embracing each season of learning, we benefit from the growth that each season brings. Thankfully, we can be sure to find purpose and joy in this God-ordained journey.
Ephesians 2:18 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.