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Friday, April 10, 2015

On homeschooling and sacrifice...

We are very close to finishing up our second year of homeschooling. This year has been....different than last. That may be the phrase I use after each year. I'm not sure why I thought that since Kinder/Pre-K went so peaceful and smooth that every year after would follow the same...but I sort of did. It's been much more of a challenge for many different reasons. Abe no longer has that morning nap which means afternoon would make the most sense to complete school. But I have a boy that really does not do school work well in the afternoons. He's tired. He becomes cranky. And it's very hard for him to focus, think and work during the afternoons. We've had some stronger personality conflicts this year. I'm not sure if that's the best way to word it, but I'll leave it at that. We enrolled Holden in a class to give us a break from one another. He just goes 2 morning a week. I thought it might be helpful. The break was helpful. The school situation, not so much. And for another slew of reasons I realized this type of class was not the answer for us at this time. He has three more weeks of class. And even though grocery shopping and errand running will be more challenging this summer I am SO ready for this class to be over. And he is too.
So we said that we would take homeschooling one year at a time and evaluate as time goes. With these struggles, some might assume that it's time to throw in the towel and enroll them in a traditional school. Some have even advised me in that direction. But that's not the route we are taking. Honestly I don't know what our year will look like next year. I don't know what curriculum we will use. I don't know what time of the day we will do schoolwork. I don't know if anyone will be enrolled in anything extra...though I plan to look into some PE programs. I don't know if my house will ever get organized and clean again. :) But I know my boys are going to be home for another year. When we ventured into homeschooling I can't claim that God clearly told us to do this. It was not a huge matter of prayer...just as most people don't make it a huge matter of prayer before they enroll their children in traditional school. It's just the next step in our culture and so people move forward. We had just always felt a pull towards homeschooling. Now after two years, I sense this being more than just a preference for us. Especially me. It's my days that are really affected by our decision. What I realized a few months ago, when well meaning friends suggested I quit homeschooling, was that I don't feel released from the job. From the outside looking in it might make sense to quit. It's hard. There is clearly an easier alternative. Take that alternate route! But at this point, God wants us here. God has asked us to be obedient in this. I don't know if it's for my growth and maturity or for my kids any more. But it's more than a pull and preference at this point. It's a step of obedience. And not everyone is going to get it. And not everyone wants to get it. Most seem to have an opinion about homeschooling. Even if they try their hardest not to express that opinion, I can sense it. But I don't answer to everyone else. And ironically, I have no opinion on the direction someone else takes for educating their child. Even if you "unschool". I don't care. Have fun with it. For God's glory, play all day. :) In my favorite devotional of all time (Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional) I read a couple of months ago "A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways - always. A sacrifice is, by definition, not an easy thing - but it is a sacred thing." Homeschooling is a sacrifice. It's one of my sacrifices. God uses different people, in different ways, touching different lives for His good purposes. Currently, my main place is home. A new friend reminded me of this scripture about a month ago.
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust. Proverbs 4:26-27
I feel like in the world of homeschooling it is tempting to look around and compare your child to those in traditional school...and either feel prideful of where your child stands. Or to feel anxious if they are "behind". Pride and anxiety. Both sins of the heart. So this girl full of wisdom reminded me, "don't look to the right or the left". A lot of pressure is removed when we walk in the steps God has directed us in and leave the outcome to Him. So yes, we are few weeks off from enjoying our summer. At the end of the month we will be taking off for a family beach trip and kicking off our summer early...homeschool style.


~The Neaves Nest~ said...

I love this! Thank you for sharing your heart. Proud of you for following your call, even though it's not always been a smooth road. And i love that quote from 1,000 Gifts. I needed to read that. For other reasons, but needed it. And now I'll be starting that devo back up in the morning.

Amanda said...

Each way of schooling has it's own big challenges. And I think every situation is an opportunity to lean hard into the Lord. I'm thankful for your heart to obey and have always been grateful that we can do things differently and feel totally and completely supported by one another. Love you! And all those sweet boys!!!

The Skains Family said...

Love your heart so much dear friend. And you said it all exactly right. It's always about our own calling that God has placed on our own hearts, and everyone's calling is different. Just be obedient, that's what He asks! You are an amazing woman and mother!

Katie said...

I think it's great you homeschool and have thought about doing it myself at times. There are pros and cons we will have to discuss sometime. For me it would probably be a more selfish decision. I miss my kids and I hate for them to be around difficult people that are mean but then that is the grace part and understanding of others and being in the world.. It's so hard either way. I am sure you are doing a great job!!