Our homeschool plan runs on a rather odd schedule that allows us to keep all three children at grade level for things like math and language arts while still allowing us flexibility with their core subjects. We finished a set of core subjects at the end of February, took a month off, and will be starting the new core at the beginning of April.
Our new set of books arrived last week, and this week I’m finally getting to dig in and pack up the old books and pull out the new. Needless to say, the computer/school room is currently in utter chaos during the transition.
Early yesterday afternoon I packed up last year’s books. It was kind of bittersweet. It was a good year with some great books. I won’t be teaching from those books again until Steven is ready for them in about four years. But, oh what a delight it will be when I get to pull them out again that year! Steven and I will have so much fun reading those books together.
This morning I’ll be going through a new set of books. Everything that I’ll teach Olivia this year is brand new to me. It’s like meeting new friends for the first time. Most of these books are still strangers to me, but I know that by the end of the year I’ll be very familiar with them and will have mixed feelings about putting them away just as I did this year’s.
But, the sweetest experience of this whole transition was late yesterday afternoon. I opened a tub and began pulling out books from our first year of homeschooling, books that were packed away nearly five years ago. As I lifted the books from the tub, the stories we read aloud together came flooding back to my memory. With each history book came a remembrance of the sounds of Olivia and Angela acting out what they were learning as they played together. This year Angela and Steven will be going through it together, since Angela doesn’t remember much of what she learned as a four-year-old. I can only imagine the precious times they will have exploring the history and stories that are going to come alive for them this year!
Old is going. New and old are both coming. And in the middle, there is chaos.
Several thoughts come to mind as I process all of this.
Sometimes we have to let go. Experiences and things learned are precious. But, if we continue to hang on to the old, we will never get to enjoy the new. The old will grow stale and we might even lose our delight in what once was very precious to us. Letting go can be the best way to hold those precious memories.
Sometimes the old comes back. There are times when we get to relive the delight and the joy, often with brand new experiences along the way. But we never would have been able to enjoy such a revival were it not for letting go in the first place.
New is good. It grows us. It challenges us. It opens new horizons to us. And, it allows us to appreciate the old that much more as we remember it with more open eyes. It allows us to delight more in the old that comes back for a visit now and then. Yes, we definitely need the new.
The change is chaotic. Just like the room around me is a mess, walking from the old into the new is never as smooth as walking out of one room and into another. There are goodbyes. There might be uncertainty and pain. There can be a finality that we’re just not quite sure how to handle. It might be great chaos, and it might be small, but it’s going to be there. Even something as simple as changing sheets on a bed or changing clothes produces chaos for at least a few moments. Chaos and change just go hand in hand. But, chaos does not mean bad. In fact, it can be a pretty hopeful thing when we think of what good can come with the new.
As I look at the chaos of this room, I know that a good year is about to start. I don’t like the chaos, but I’m excited about what it means. If you are in the chaos of change right now, I pray that God will open your eyes to the hope that comes with the new He’s about to unfold before you.