Homegrown Life ~ Pauses by Jill Houle

January 24, 2011

Today we are joined by the amazing Jill Houle of Homegrown Life. Jill shares a beautiful post on the need, as parents, to honor the natural pauses that each of our children require in their daily lives, and to listen closely to the individual needs of our children in the present moment. We hope that you enjoy, and Happy Monday to you all.

One of the benefits of a home education is the opportunity for breaks in between lessons. Today it felt as if we paused in between each one and that it was much appreciated by each child in their own way.

Seeing my children have these pauses during their school time each day makes me realize just how much they need them. Their desire to play, build, draw, knit, jump, ride bikes, go for a walk, build a fort, write (or e-mail!) a friend and simply be a child is so very strong and it is with great joy that I am able to afford them with this ‘luxury’.

I have to remind myself that this homeschooling journey that we’ve started on cannot be rushed. It takes time to learn and to love learning. One of my favorite quotes about education by William Butler Yeats reads:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

It takes time to light a fire. It too cannot be rushed and must be met with just the right amount of resources, time and patience. If we want a fire to burn long and with strength than we must tend to it very carefully, stocking it when needed, being careful not to simply ‘throw just anything’ into it’s flames but instead to choose what will enable it to serve it’s purpose.

Sometimes I fall back into my old habits of wanting to be a ‘list checker’. There is something so very satisfying to me to put that ‘check’ next to the assigned task and just be done with it. I have had to remind myself that we are homeschooling so that we don’t have to check everything off of a list and that we are doing this so that each child can learn what he needs, when he needs and how he needs.

Following the lead of a very dear friend, I have begun praying for each child and asking what they need most right now in life- from their parents, their siblings, their environment- that will help to fulfill their deepest and most significant needs. I pray that I am able to stifle my own intentions and motivations and perceptions long enough to hear what is truly needed.


Jill Houle lives in Connecticut with her husband and four homeschooled children. She strives to find simplicity and beauty in the mundane, dreams of a homestead life, a spare moment to create and write and seeks to live out her life’s vision with intention and grace each day. You can read more about Jill on her blog, Homegrown Life

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Elizabeth January 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

Jill, this is so so nice. What wonderful reminders. It is easy to get too busy, perhaps not even in the actions of daily life, but even in one’s head. To pause, and pray or meditate over your children, it’s so important. Are we nourishing the many aspects of their being? How can we do this better? So important. I needed this reminder myself, today. To stop and reflect, and not just worry that it’s right, but to simply listen.

Carla January 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Such a beautiful reminder. It’s easy for me to forget these little people around me have needs just as important and weighing as much on them as my own needs. And love that you pray for what they need not just from you but from siblings, the environment, etc.

arianne January 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

One of the main reasons we home school. Nice to be reminded. Great piece.

Michele January 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I am going to follow your lead and start praying regularly for what my child needs most right now in life to fulfill his deepest and most significant needs. Can’t believe I haven’t been doing that. We’ve been so content and busy and well provided for that it hadn’t occurred to me to pray for anything other than giving thanks. Blessings to you.

Brigitte January 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm

What a perfect thing to pray and think about for the kids. Thanks for the good thoughts.

erika January 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm

What a wonderful reminder, thank you.

I know exactly what you mean about resorting to the list checker! I am such a results-oriented person, but my children have definitely taught me to value the process. And really, life is not a list. It’s a story.

christina bachew January 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! Being an overseas homeschooling momma I needed that reminder. I always feel pulled in keeping up with the task of not being in the “american” homeschooling environment with coops and groups. However I am now reminded to place my childrens direction of learning in Gods hands. Thank you!

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