A few weeks before we started school, I attended a webinar led by a woman who homeschools her 12 children. I so appreciated her honesty and transparency when talking about life when you are schooling several (or more) children. A few of her points were…
Motherhood is not for wimps.
In all honesty, it is often tough and difficult~doing the right thing for your child is not a guarantee that it will be easy.
Aim to do well, and to finish well. We need to persevere; we need to possess one ounce more stubbornness than our children.
This is not just an “educational option. It is a lifestyle. It is necessary to understand that life will be different.
As I listened to what Barbara was sharing that day, I thought that I was well-prepared for what lay ahead. After all, I was a homeschooling mom before we sent our children to private school for three years. I knew what I was getting into.
Can I be (painfully) transparent and honest? Last time the children were home-educated, I did school with them every day. Unless the house was messy. Or I had a migraine. Or the phone kept ringing and I kept answering. Maybe it was Bible study. Or maybe I was just tired.
I simply was not a disciplined person. The whole concept of doing what I said I would do was a bit fuzzy for me. For the longest time, I did not even recognize it as a sin issue in my life.
Until one day, the Lord decided that it was time to address that in me. No more of doing what I “felt” like doing…it was time to grow up and do that which He asked of me. Every time. Not just when it was convenient, comfortable or easy.
And so it began. The Holy Spirit prompting me to be faithful, making me aware that I was choosing, or not choosing, to use self-discipline. Sometimes I listened and obeyed. Sometimes, I didn’t. I cannot begin to tell you how precious to me is the truth that “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day!” Lamentations 3:22-23
As weeks and months went by, I slowly learned that although following through and being self-disciplined was sometimes really hard, the peace that accompanied it was well worth it!
Shortly after the Lord brought the self-discipline issue to mind, we sent the children to a private school. But that didn’t suddenly free me from the need to practice self-discpline. I was just able to apply it to different areas of my life. Like…making supper, keeping my desk clean or serving in church. I was learning to make decisions based on what I knew to be true, and what I knew to be right….rather than making decisions based on what “felt” good or right.
Fast forward a few years…..
We found out that we would be moving and were sensing that God wanted us to have the children home. I felt okay with this, since we had applied for an online school and were fairly confident that we would get in. This schooling was perfect for us…the children would be home with me, it provided teachers to help my kids, and it was FREE!
And then the day came that we found out that the children didn’t get into the school. I was shocked and scared spitless. We still knew that they were supposed to be home with us. God was once again asking us to home-educate the children. My reaction to Him was “You’re not serious, are You??? Don’t You remember what it was like last time?” and “How are we going to pay for curriculum?”
But, as He promises, He gave us the peace to start planning to educate the children at home. I was actually becoming excited, and trusted that what He calls us to do, He will provide for.
About a month or so after we had moved, we found out that the children HAD been accepted into the virtual school where we had originally applied . I cannot tell you the relief I felt, knowing that the children would be getting a great education, and they would be home with me, where we could learn and grow together in the Lord.
I threw myself into learning what I could about this new system of learning, and preparing us for the days ahead. I knew that I would absolutely have to depend on Him to work through me, and give me the strength I needed to do this. I also knew that, while He was absolutely ready to work through me, I would still have to exercise self-discipline, which doesn’t always come easily. It was tempting to look ahead and despair, or focus on fear of failure, but He reminded me that I needed to take one day at a time, and focus only on what is right before me.
And so I that’s what I am doing. Day after day, my focus is on one thing~the responsibility that I have to teach my children. The two older children interact mostly with their teachers, but I teach the three younger boys. I am juggling predicate nominatives with linking verbs, prime factorizations with exponents, Sumerian history with Native Americans and watersheds with classifying organisms. There are times that I see the lightbulb go on right away, and there are times that…well, that doesn’t quite happen. My brain is usually exhausted at the end of the day, but there is also the amazement in knowing that God taught me something in order to teach my boys.
When I started our school year, I didn’t realize:
that I wouldn’t have time to lurk on Facebook
that calling my friends and family is something that happens only on weekends
the floor wouldn’t get mopped as often as I’d like
there would be many days that time runs out before I get my afternoon walk
my brain would be taxed by the end of the day
my throat would hurt from constant use all day long
But I was reminded….
how perfectly lovely it is to look around the room and see all your children leaning over schoolwork, concentrating so hard on what they are doing
that God would use my children to remind me how much they need a meek and gentle learning guide
how much fun it is to hear my child say they love school
that saying no to Facebook meant the thrill of learning along with my child
of how amazing my kids are!
that laughing with them is SO MUCH FUN!
that time passes so quickly, and I need to make the most of every opportunity
that while I miss talking with my friends, I deeply and desperately love my children
how can I say I love my kids enough to give my life for them, and yet be unwilling to give up a lunch date, or phone call, or a quiet house?
Things are different this time. I am faithfully doing school with the kids, even when there are a multitude of other things I could be doing. It is amazing to experience, because I know that He is doing this through me. I know that I could never do this in my own strength. He is teaching me that while this particular school is “free”, there is a cost to home-educating my children. My time isn’t my own (not that it ever was, but I started to think like that). I miss talking with my friends like I used to. I have to get up at 5:00am in order to enjoy a quiet house. Leisure time (with the exception of today…my birthday gift from my husband) is something that happens only on weekends.
But I’m still getting an amazing deal!
~I get to watch these precious children grow up
~I get to “live life” with five wonderful kids
~the peace that I have in the midst of these crazy days is truly “out of this world”
~the sheer pleasure in demonstrating my love for the Lord by obeying this simple and, in the great scheme of things, very short assignment that He has given me.
I have learned that there is a cost for this lifestyle.
And I would be a fool to not sacrifice everything I have to pay it.