Homeschooling My Own Little Women
My mother passed her worn copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott to me. I read it many times delighting over Meg’s twins, feeling frustrated with Amy’s selfishness, and sobbing when Beth died. I loved Marmee’s gentle nature, the dramas acted out in the attic, and the friendship with Laurie and his grandfather. Don’t the Marches remind you of a homeschooling family?
I passed my mother’s copy of Little Women on to my own four daughters who loved it as much as I did.
Yes, I have four daughters. My own little women.
The Joys of Mothering Daughters
Daughters are a delight. They love to play house, help you bake, and play dress up. They will even dress in matching outfits with you.
In many ways, our homeschool was just like anyone else’s with science labs, spelling lessons, math books, music appreciation, and all kinds of art projects. However, in some ways, our education took a decidedly feminine twist.
Homeschooling meant we could dress up in lacey clothes and have tea parties. We read girly books aloud like Little House in the Big Woods, Betsy and Tacey, The Little Princess, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Elsie Dinsmore. We turned many of those books into unit studies.
My children loved Little Women and acted out scenes from the book. Not only did they pretend to be Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, but they also played Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables.
The girls and I enjoyed long talks snuggled up under a fluffy comforter. We shared secrets. We talked about their dreams, hopes, and crushes.
We loved studying literature, history, and homemaking. We discussed good literature and analyzed Jane Austen to death.
We veered off the history track to learn about fashion, hairstyles, and recipes. Homemaking was a blast where we went way beyond cooking and sewing to cake decorating, quilting, embroidery, cross-stitch, scrapbooking, candy-making, interior design, and toy-making.
But it wasn’t all a bed of roses and Barbies.
There are many challenges with raising a household of girls.
Yes, girls are emotional, especially that first year that puberty hits! I was always blown away that so many negative emotions could emanate from such a beautiful lady.
Of course, I had to think back and remember those challenging days where I struggled with emotions and hormones. Yikes! Those are hard times. Anyway, each of my girls went through about a year of very difficult challenges with the transition to womanhood. But I am happy to report that it wasn’t too long before I had my delightful daughters back and was able to watch them grow into lovely young women.
Another challenge was overcoming insecurity. To instill confidence, I reminded my daughters how much they were loved and the amazing future God had prepared for them. I tried to focus on their successes, rather than their failures.
Other challenges include relationships.
Cultivating Sisterly Love
When my girls were little, they would argue like other siblings do. Sometimes they said mean, hurtful things. There were jealousies and borrowing without asking. Oh, all the things that sisters struggle with happened in our home.
However, I made a conscious decision to cultivate sisterly love.
When my children would argue and fight, I would talk to them and require a “redo.”
What’s a “redo”?
They had to have the exact conversation over again with one difference. They treated one another with love and respect. These were such good training experiences for my girls (and later my son).
In addition, I would encourage my girls to think of creative ways to show love to one another. I also encouraged them to include their siblings when they were spending time with friends.
To this day, my girls are very close friends, and they trust one another.
On birthdays, they started their own sibling tradition. They make one another breakfast in bed. That is so touching to me.
To be honest, though, raising God’s girls in today’s world is a challenge.
Raising Godly Women
You see, our culture is imparting vision to our daughters, defining what it means to be a woman. The message they are receiving is very different from God’s message in the Bible.
I want to raise God’s girls who go against the world’s ways and honor Christ instead. It takes a plan to raise fearlessly feminine ladies!
Beginning early on, I imparted vision of biblical womanhood to my daughters. From memorizing Scripture passages (I Peter 3:1-6; Proverbs 31; Titus 2:3-5) and Bible study to focused hands-on learning opportunities, we examined God’s principles and how they played out in real life.
I answered their questions. We spent hours discussing the Word of God and how it applies to daily life. We also acted out future scenarios and daydreamed a little.
When the girls showed an interest in growing in Christ and ministry, I cheered them on. I also provided opportunities for serving others, ministering to little children, cultivating wholesome friendships, hosting parties, and mentoring younger girls.
Young women need a vision of how God can use them as a wife and mother one day but also how they can serve Jesus wholeheartedly right now and as a single woman. My children have married heroes (Edith Schaeffer, Susannah Wesley) and single heroes (Amy Carmichael, Gladys Alyward).
Elisabeth Eliot started her missionary ministry single, then married, then finished ministry as a single mom before moving into another ministry with a new husband. In every season, she served Jesus with her whole heart. What a great role model for my girls!
Raising my four little women has been a great joy and privilege. What a glorious privilege to be a homeschooling mom and raise daughters who love Jesus!
Resources: Blog Posts
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of God’s Girls Beauty Secrets Bible Study, God’s Girls 101: Grow in Christ, God’s Girls 103: Courtship, Marriage, and the Christian Family, God’s Girls 104: Motherhood, God’s Girls Talk about Guys, Virtue, & Marriage Bible Study, and God’s Girls 105: Homemaking. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com (http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog) and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her podcast at Finish Well Podcast.