As I’ve written, I’m in a bit of a homeschooling rut. Well, today I would like to write about a common misconception about us homeschooling moms. I joined a group once and we had a discussion about this very topic. The other night my Mom and I were talking and she told me that she could never have the patience to homeschool. I’ve heard that many times. I was in the grocery store last week and I heard a woman grumble, “how do you do it?” because I had all three with me and it was not the fun-est day ever.
Here’s the thing. I don’t have the patience to do it. Most of us don’t. God did not grant me an abundance of patience and I did not decide to use it for homeschooling. I don’t have the joy or even desire for it, but that doesn’t determine the decision do it. A while back a friend wrote a blog about deciding why you are going to homeschool in the beginning and I wholeheartedly agree. I say, if they are specific or related to verses, write them down. There are times when you will consider putting them in school and that list will be handy in helping to making your decision. Does our family still have the same goals? Can we still accomplish our parenting goals if they go to school?
As I’ve gotten to know Christ more, our intent in hs’ing has grown stronger, and He is still the most important Person and still the reason I do it, in addition to the quality of education. Our aim is that my children have a Christ-centered, top notch, love driven education. If they want to speed ahead in math because they are good at it, yet slow down when we get to diagramming sentences because they need more time, I want them to be able to do that. It really upset me to know the the art program was cut at the school when my oldest was supposed to enter into kindergarten at 5 years old. I wanted art taught to him. And when I looked out the window and saw little children with giant backpacks almost as big as them, waiting at the bus stop I realized that I didn’t want to send them “off” because I enjoy being with them. Most importantly, I have a strong conviction to stay faithful in this area because in our family unit, the Lord has shown us this path.
One of the authors I admire wrote a piece about the Lord’s will, and my favorite part was when he described our decisions like spaces in a parking lot. There are so many things that are okay for us to do. The Lord is okay with so many of our decisions. For example, if we can’t decided whether to move into one house or another- we can pray about it, but the Lord is probably, usually, seemingly okay with both- they are both decisions within His will. At one time I would pray about my hair, and ask, should I blow dry my hair today Lord? I’m serious, it was ridiculous and I had no understanding. Well, homeschooling is not a space in a parking lot for us, it is the parking lot and the methods and curriculum are the spaces. There are some convictions that are so deep and so strong that the only time I need to ever venture outside of them is when there’s a problem and leaving the parking lot temporarily will be advantageous for everyone.
The stress level in my body is making me sick and I don’t want my family to suffer because I’m breaking down and crumbling under the pressure of parenting. If I put the kids in school, it would not be for their education, it would be for the time given to me in order to get well, mentally and emotionally. I wouldn’t even make them do their homework if they didn’t want to- that’s how highly I think of PS. I would continue our current studies at night. If I put them in school it would simply be so I could have a break in order to spend a load of time with the Lord and settle down, and then once I was better I would bring them home, because my convictions are still present. We are leaving on a cruise and I’ll have a 10 day break in just 3 days. That may be all I need. If I come home and still feel completely out of sorts and overwhelmed with the kids, I will revisit the idea of using school as a babysitter so I can get well rested, so I can seek out more of Him.
Hopefully no one finds this offensive. If you homeschool and have never felt this way, you will. It’s taken 5 years, but I finally have the full blown urge to put my kids in school. Maybe I would have judged another if I had not gone through this. Maybe I would have saw it as a reflection on the mother if she put her kids in school, but maybe not. After going through such a dry season I will have compassion for moms who face this stress. If you happen to be a family who is involving the school in your parenting and education plan, hopefully you can have compassion and appeal on another level. Maybe there is another conviction in your life that you question when times get hard? Do you have a conviction to eat a certain way, but just need a break from all the preparing, the extra cost, the lack of real white sugar and gluten? Do you worship the Lord outside of the “normal” Church building? Are you like the pilgrims in search of freedom to express Christ outside of organized religion? If you experience any of these, then maybe you can understand how deep my conviction goes and how hard it would be to step outside of them, even just for a short time. Doing the “other” thing is okay, but it’s not for you. Enrolling the boys in school is okay, it’s just not something I’ll ever be agreeable to, full-time, unless the Lord Himself changes me.
I have gone through bad days, and bad weeks and then it always picks back up. There’s an ebb and flow to our homeschool, but this move just really shook me up. I subscribe to several homeschool magazines. In them I have read stories of families who have homeschooled through a parent getting cancer, a death in the family, and moving several times, such as missionaries and military. So I feel a little silly questioning my competence to do this right now in light of those stories, but we are all different and have our own journey.
In conclusion, I don’t have the patience to homeschool, but I have Christ. Right now I don’t have the desire, but I have grace and the permission to take a break. I have the desire to loose myself in Him and become inspired again and excited about carrying out the plans Chris and I have made for them. We actually have a pretty fun unit study year planned out and when I’ve spent some time relaxing with the Lord it will be a blast exploring the world in such a hands-on, fun way. We just finished the Christ-is-our-foundation unit. At the same time we studied the foundation of the earth. It really was a lot of fun and we all learned so much. Ahead of us we have the the water cycle and learning about the floods and ice age, as we study Noah and his role in our planet’s history. See? Loads of fun.
Thanks for coming with me as I chronicle such a trying time in our homeschool, and essentially parenting. Hopefully no one will take offense on either side as I am honest, yet have respect and consideration for all families and their paths. I write how I feel and sometimes it’s not always rosy. I can’t explain why seasons are in my midst without explaining the “why’s” behind them.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!