The Grasshoppers in My Life

While warm weather, garden vegetables, and vacations all herald the onset of summer, the surest sign summer is here to stay is the annual invasion of grasshoppers.  These harbingers of vegetative destruction gnaw on grass, strip bushes of their leaves and bark, and decimate young trees.  I can’t sit on the porch swing without one jumping at my head or crawling on my leg or neck.  These insects are annoying and destructive, and I despise them.

Another unwelcome summer visitor is the tendency to second-guess our decisions about teaching our children at home.  In the less hectic days of summer, I have time to look through stacks of homeschooling catalogs that have accumulated over the past months.  With all of the new, flashy programs, my low-tech techniques suddenly appear less effective.  “Should I try this new science program?” “Look at all the great materials that come with this history program.  Surely the kids will learn more from this than our current practice of reading and discussing good books.” “This next year I think I will do more unit studies or lapbooks or notebooking or…”

These negative thoughts are like grasshoppers in my life.  They often arrive a few at a time, but left unchecked, they have the power to cripple and destroy our family.

This year, instead of spending the summer months planning a “better” way to homeschool, I am determined to take time to relax, enjoy my children, observe their interests and passions, and build relationships with them.  We will work on projects, try out new recipes, craft together, visit friends and family, and spend time laughing and having fun.  I will put my Sharpies, schedules, and endless lists on the shelf, and if I feel compelled to re-evaluate my home education plans, I will remember that while academics have their place, life skills and relationships are what really count in life.

Kathleen and her husband, Syd, have been joyfully married for 31 years.  Since 1989, they have home educated their eight children using a Lifestyle of Learning approach.  They have two homeschool graduates, and currently have four children in high school.  Kathleen has a passion for helping moms experience the freedom to be real and transparent, not feeling the need to be “Super Mom” or, even worse, “Super Teacher”.

The Newmans live in Roxton, Texas, and attend New Hope Baptist Church.  You can also find Kathleen at her blog, On the Banks of Rowdy Creek.


  1. Jennifer Moore says:

    Enjoyed your post. I am also trying to consciously take time to make this summer enjoyable and memorable for the kids! It is so easy to get busy doing “worthy” things and neglect that which is the most important. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Erica M says:

    Thanks for the wisdom, Kathleen! The school year is nowhere near starting and I’m already fretting about curriculum decisions. I needed this reminder to relax and have some fun for a while. :-)

  3. Kristi T says:

    What a great reminder just as I was beginning the throes of trying to figure out where we are headed this next year! :} We homeschool year round and take time off when cool stuff or the need arises, but this is a great reminder to take the “little” opportunities to build the relationships instead of waiting on the “big” opportunities. We need less of the checklist and more giggles! Thanks, Kathleen!

  4. Tanya Welch says:

    Yeah Kathleen, you do have a way with words that just hit like a brick wall sometimes. I often second guess my decision to homeschool because I get hooked on the “academic” side of thinking while forgetting the most important reality of life skills and relationship. Thanks for that much needed reminder!

  5. Tonya Roth says:

    Thank you, Kathleen. I am not going to worry about the fall just quite yet. I will enjoy today living, working, reading and playing with my family!

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