What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada
One day, I had an idea.
“Where did it come from? Why is it here?” I wondered, “What do you do with an idea?”
At first I didn’t think much of it. It seemed kind of strange and fragile. I didn’t know what to do with it. So I just walked away from it.
I acted like it didn’t belong to me.
But it followed me.
I worried what others would think.
What would people say about my idea?
I kept it to myself. I hid it away and didn’t talk about it. I tried to act like everything was the same as it was before my idea showed up.
But there was something magical about my idea. I had to admit, I felt better and happier when it was around.
It wanted food. It wanted to play. Actually, it wanted a lot of attention.
It grew bigger. And we became friends.
I showed it to other people even though I was afraid of what they would say. I was afraid that if people saw it, they would laugh at it. I was afraid they would think it was silly.
And many of them did. They said it was no good. They said it was too weird. They said it was a waste of time and that it would never become anything.
And, at first, I believed them. I actually thought about giving up on my idea. I almost listened to them.
But then I realized, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And it’s ok if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.
I decided to protect it, to care for it. I fed it good food. I worked with it, I played with it. But most of all, I gave it my attention.
My idea grew and grew. And so did my love for it.
I built it a new house, one with an open roof where it could look up at the stars – a place where it could be safe to dream.
I liked being with my idea. It made me feel more alive, like I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger.
It shared its secrets with me. It showed me how to walk on my hands. “Because,” it said, “it is good to have the ability to see things differently.”
I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my very eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.
I don’t know how to describe it, but it went from being here to being everywhere. It wasn’t just a part of me anymore… it was now a part of everything.
And then, I realized what you do with an idea…
You change the world.
One day, in August 2018, I read this book to my kids.
The message hit me like a ton of bricks.
I knew that Heavenly Father was talking to me about homeschooling. I felt the call to homeschool full time. And this terrified me.
How did I get to this place? Let me back up a bit…
Until the summer of 2018, I had never even considered homeschooling. In fact, if it ever even crossed my mind (which was rare), I was against it. Why would I do that? I had plenty of reasons to keep my kids in public school, and they went to a really great school. Landon was in 2nd grade and Porter was in Kindergarten.
Well, in March of 2018, I somehow started following Mikael Monson on Instagram. I honestly have no idea how I started following her. I have no memory of looking up her account or clicking the “follow” button. She wasn’t following me, so it didn’t come from that connection either.
Even at the time, when I started noticing her posts come across in the scrolling of my news feed, I thought “huh? Who’s this? I don’t remember intentionally following her…. I’m not even into homeschooling.” For some reason, I didn’t unfollow her though. Something drew me to her posts, even though at first I denied it.
Now, nearly 2 years later, I am convinced that I had some angelic assistance on that one. Perhaps God sent an angel to hack into my Instagram account. haha. He knew that I needed to connect with Mikael, and that she needed to be placed in my path, to show me the way to go.
“God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that He meets our needs.”
One evening, as I read one of Mikael’s posts, I thought, “well, I guess I could at least be more intentional with having better books around our house for my boys to read, instead of just the “junk food” books that they often pick out to check out at the library.” So I ordered a few books from Amazon.
A couple months later, Mikael posted about The Good and the Beautiful booklist and since I had been trying to be more intentional with good books for the boys, I got the booklist and started looking through it and ordering a few books from the list.
So first it was the book list…
Then, I started paying more attention to Mikael’s instagram and what kinds of things she was doing in her homeschooling. As I continued to follow along with Mikael and her little schoolhouse, my heart was being warmed and changed…even when I didn’t realize it all the way. Her posts radiated light and joy.
I started noticing that she shared a lot about The Good and the Beautiful curriculum and how much she loved it. So I looked that up as well.
I read on the website about why this curriculum was created… “To teach advanced academics while connecting children to the good and the beautiful in life and in learning: God, high moral character, and the wonders and beauty of nature and human life.
Too many children are losing a love of learning and love of good, wholesome, and powerful literature. Also, learning materials today are largely disconnected from God and high character, taking meaning, depth, and joy from learning. This curriculum is designed to help children recognize, appreciate, and seek out the good and the beautiful in learning. The images, exercises, and lessons focus on teaching high moral character while remaining academically strong and thorough.
To make homeschooling less overwhelming and time consuming.”
After reading about The Good and the Beautiful curriculum, I wrote in my journal:
“I love that. Especially since learning more about inspiring our best imaginations and how important and powerful our thoughts are. I want to fill my children’s minds with good and beautiful things. Especially in this stage of their life when they love to learn and they are like little sponges, soaking everything up. I just want to pour in so many good thoughts and I want them to continue to love learning. …
I don’t homeschool our kids though. I’m not saying that I never will. Who knows what the future holds. But for now, it feels right to have them in public school. And they go to an amazing school that we love so I don’t feel any need to pull them out of that.
But I also fell in love with the idea of me getting to be their teacher and getting to use The Good and Beautiful curriculum.
So I thought, “hey! why not? Why not do a “summer school” at home?””
That’s what I decided to do. In the middle of May (2018), I ordered a little bit of the curriculum (language arts for the boys and a couple of science units for the whole family to learn together.)
At the beginning of June, when the boys were out of school for the summer, we started doing our little summer school for a couple of hours every morning.
We had so much fun. It was rewarding and fulfilling, and I felt joy. The kids loved it too.
As I continued to follow Mikael, I saw that she was doing a Pioneer Unit with her kids and I felt inspired to spend the month of July doing a Pioneer Unit as well. We LOVED this unit….so much so that we did it again the next summer as well. You can see all of those posts here.
This unit changed me in several ways. Connecting with my ancestors in this way was so inspiring. It led to us doing our Swedish unit, which led to Jershon and I going on a life changing family history trip to Sweden and Denmark. I have grown and learned new skills because of my ancestors.
As the summer continued, and the next school year started approaching, I began to feel sad that the boys would be going back to school and not be with me at home all day anymore.
But I still thought that public school was the best place for them. I was no longer completely against homeschooling like I had been a few months before, but I had doubts about my abilities to homeschool full time and I didn’t think that Jershon would be on board either.
So towards the end of August, back to school they went.
The summer had changed me though. I wanted to be more intentional with my children’s educations. I wanted to spend more time being their teacher. So I created this detailed schedule and blocked out chunks of time every afternoon after school to be able to still do some home school with them.
Some days it worked… most days it didn’t. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. I still had to make dinner. The kids still wanted to play with friends after school.
About a week after the boys went back to school, I remember that I was vacuuming and listening to a podcast about homeschooling. The words of a song that we had sang a lot during our pioneer unit popped into my head.
You don’t have to push a handcart,
Leave your family dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a Pioneer!
You do need to have great courage,
Faith to conquer fear,
And work with might for a cause that’s right
To be a pioneer!
And immediately I had the thought, “Am I being called to be a pioneer in this area? – to step out into the unknown and do something new? Part of me is afraid to admit it (because then I would actually have to have faith, step into the unknown, and take action), but I think that I am feeling the call to homeschool.”
It was a few days later that I read the book “What Do You Do With An Idea?”
Well, the idea definitely changed my world. But it took quite a long time for things to fall into place.
I’ll share more about my journey on the next post…
(see part 2 here)