Wednesday, September 18, 2013

About this homeschooling gig...

It's funny.  I never had homeschooling on my radar when I dreamed of becoming a mom.  All those years of infertility and begging God for a child, yet I assumed traditional school would be part of the plan.  I had heard of homeschooling, even knew a few people who had been homeschooled, but the whole thing just seemed kind of weird.

(I just want to say...I am often hesitant to write about homeschooling here because so many of my friends are not homeschoolers and I do not want to sound like I have it all figured out or that homeschooling is perfect.  I don't and it's not. But it is God's calling on my life and, now that we are firmly entrenched in our fourth year of this adventure I just want to tell you that I am so thankful.)

This year is intense.  Our days are long with five needing their educational plates filled.  So much needs to be done and getting it all done sometimes seems impossible.  I am tired.  I am cranky by the end of the day because of the aforementioned tiredness.  Sometimes I wish school would have worked out for us because I really need to go to the gym and oh my gosh the laundry...the laundry, y'all!  And don't even mention the dishes.  It can get ugly.

But God has made it so beautifully clear that this is His best for us, that stretching my brain and my patience and being all together 24/7 is right and good, that even on the hardest days I cannot doubt His calling. Middle school math is tough.  Science lab reports and history essays take a LOT of time.   Teaching first graders how to read, one of whom still has some English to master (the abstract words and concepts in math lessons are still hard for her) is gray-hair inducing.  Try explaining "number before" to an ESL kid:   "It's before...y'know, the number before the number you see right there.  The very next number before, but not the next number...the number before! "
And then there is the other who would just rather be shooting hoops or playing with Hot Wheels and tests my patience to the Nth degree.  Some kids are anxious to learn, progressing quickly and easily.  Others are not and require much repetition and creativity in presentation of the lesson.  Getting the middle child to stay on task when the Legos, clay, or paints are calling her name is tough.  (She is an artiste, people!)  Along with all of these responsibilities, there is the skill of knowing when to put it all down and just have fun...that is something I have to work at.  Standardized tests have to be taken to document progress, certain things have to be completed by the end of each week to keep from getting behind, and with five kids it can be really hard to get it all done.  I worry that I'm not doing enough.  I worry that I am doing too much.  Sometimes I just want to ditch it all and go to the park.  Sometimes we do just that!

I have kids with vastly different needs, learning styles, and struggles.  It has been confirmed over and over again by friends, family, tutors, counselors, and the Lord that it is a good thing we homeschool.  Some of my kids, potentially all of them, could have gotten lost in the school system.  They need the one-on-one, the ability to self-pace, and the freedom to climb up onto mama's lap while reading in order to feel secure and learn at their very best.  Is it hard?  Yes, it is.  This year is by far the most intense homeschooling year we have ever had, no doubt.  But it is worth it to keep my kids' hearts, to be able to pour into them and deal with issues in real time instead of after the fact.  I am stretched thin and often fall into bed at night.  My prayer life has taken flight out of sheer need for His strength and direction to get through the demands of each day.  My front porch...oh my goodness I can't even begin to tell you what a sanctuary that has become for me each morning as I trek out there into the early cool of Autumn with my steaming coffee in one hand and Bible in the other.  The Lord is faithful and He has promised to equip me for every good work to which He calls me.  That is something I cling to, knowing He has got this and that I am in his will even when I feel unprepared and unqualified for the responsibility of teaching these kids.

And then I have the little moments like notes from my children.

I found a note on my desk in the schoolroom from my 12 year old daughter.  It was an assignment, to write a friendly letter.  She wrote it to me...

"Dear Mom,
Thank you for homeschooling us and for being our teacher.  You are the best!  I love you."

My response, once I swallowed back the lump in my throat, was written in red at the bottom of the page:

"You are worth every minute, sweet girl.  I am so proud of you and I love you."

Yes, this homeschooling gig is tough.  It is demanding and time-consuming and often frustrating.  It can leave us feeling isolated as moms because our days are filled with these kids and their lessons and it is hard to find time for ourselves, to have long conversations with our friends, to read the books we want to read.  I have to work hard to order my days so that I don't burn out.  I have to be intentional about allowing myself time to fill up and rest.  But it is worth it.

My children, you are worth it.

1 comment:

  1. This made me teary. Yes, indeed, those moments of affirmation are a sweet love note from the Lord encouraging us onward. Homeschooling does indeed stretch us and grow us. Sounds like you are doing a beautiful job. What a wonderful thing for your daughter to do, and for you to acknowledge that despite the hard work there are such amazing rewards. :) ~Sandy Fecci


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