Homeschooling Journey Update – We’re Still LIVING!

So – you’ve been waiting on an update about our homeschooling endeavor, right? Okay, happy to oblige.

As I right this tonight, I realize I just misspelled “write” and I’m too tired to correct it. And, I’m still wearing my pajamas. And we just ate leftovers for the third day in a row. And I haven’t exercised in forever and a day. And I just ate a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips. And my husband just told me that I look “haggard” and “might want to take a shower.”

Thanks sweetheart! I had no idea.

sickmom

Yes – it’s been a homeschooling day! Successful? Well, maybe. If you don’t count the fact that we barely made it through two subjects and totally blew off two others that were on the agenda.

I have to be honest – I have serious doubts that I can do this – every day, multiple times a day. A couple of days over the past few weeks I’ve found myself thinking that my oldest would probably be happier at school with his buddies and my youngest might benefit from a very strict military academy. Then, I might be able to go back to my regular hair appointments and pedicures! Oh – who am I kidding? I might be able to go back to showering once a day.

But, we are getting through it. And truthfully, deep down, I’m thankful we’ve chosen to go down this path. I do see the very real benefits, every day, even though it is truly the most difficult thing I’ve ever chosen to do.

Winnie-the-Pooh-Piglet-going-to-School

The blessings are very real!

For instance, the restful, non-stressful, unrushed mornings are nice(after the first few days, when I believed that I had to get up and get us started at the same time “real schools” were beginning each morning). The boys get a hot breakfast if they want it. I can get off on the right foot by taking a few minutes to read my Bible and pray before setting foot out of my bed. We can work out before we start, or wait until later in the day after lessons. There’s no fighting traffic, no forgotten lunches or homework, and no bullies on the bus. Blessings.

There’s the blessing of being able to shake up routines. Some days the boys get to decide which subject to study, discuss, or experiment with first. Sometimes they get to choose to sit at their desks, or on the exercise balls, or spread a blanket on the floor or grass and draw, color, or journal while we read or discuss things.

There’s the blessing of last-minute plans – being able to jump in the car to go get supplies for a science experiment that goes along with our lesson, or visit the grandparents (always good for educational moments), or travel to a museum on the spur of the moment, or go out for ice cream if we need a pick-me-up.

There’s the blessing of “multi-age tasking,” being able to teach a sixth grader and a first grader from the same history and science lessons – but also being able to scale it to their individual abilities and skill levels at the same time.

Pooh

And there’s the blessing of turning any lesson into a biblical lesson or devotion. If we’re discussing density and volume in our science lesson, we can relate Archimedes’ Principle to Noah’s ark and have a little Bible study lesson on the side. If we’re studying ancient history and the nomads, we can talk about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel, and what their lives must have been like, and lead into a discussion about Joseph and how the twelve tribes of Israel ended up in Egypt.

We have found extracurricular opportunities to get involved outside of home – Bible study groups at church with other homeschoolers, piano lessons, chess clubs, and sports teams. We are working hard to make sure the boys enjoy interacting with other children and participate in group and individual events that will help build their social and physical skills – and we are very happy that we have greater “control” over these very important areas of their growth and development. We can find activities that are truly meaningful to them, individually, and we are more in tune with the people they interact with on a regular basis.

Yes, the stresses exist and are very real, too.

I have one child that is easily coached and accepts instruction exceptionally well, but needs tons of encouragement. And I have one who amazes me with his intelligence but tests my patience level to the limits. I walk the tightrope of encouragement and restraint every moment, every day. I feel the joy of breakthroughs and the frustration of my limitations (and theirs) constantly – sometimes within the same minute. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions.

I’m learning that I’m totally not “super mom,” not that I ever thought I was before. But, I’m learning more about how I’m so very human in my strengths and weaknesses, and I’m realizing many that I had never given much attention before. It’s an awakening – sometimes a disappointing one, and yet sometimes I surprise myself with my ability to accomplish something I never thought I had the ability to do before.

moms evolution

I’m struggling mightily to find time to do all the things I still want to do – Bible study, writing, traveling, working, working out, home improvement projects, cooking, visiting, etc…

I miss my “me time.” There, I said it. I LOVE my “me time.” I NEED my “me time.” So, this is something that I know is going to be a struggle to find a balance in as we move forward, day by day. I finally told my husband the other day that he is probably going to have to plan to take a day off of work once in a while to take over so I can just break away for the day, and thankfully, he agreed.

I need a day every now and then to just get in my car and drive to Asheville to walk through the art galleries or sit down with my Bible, journal and a good book, or take off to Gatlinburg to hike to Rainbow Falls, or meet a friend for lunch, pedicures, and shopping  – or head to a spa for a massage and a facial! Yes, please! I do know that I need to plan this into my days if I’m going to be able to continue to give of myself consistently and in a worthy manner to my family on a daily basis.

So…that’s where we are right now. It’s a journey, and we are still in the beginning stages. I’m still figuring things out – from daily planning issues, to just learning to chuck the plans and go with my gut whenever and wherever our hearts (and God) are leading us!

It’s still a matter of “dying to my own desires,” and doing the tough stuff on a daily basis.

I read something to day that made me think about that – about how Christ died for us…and so I looked up the scripture it brought to mind, John 15:13, 15, and I read it. I hit me like a ton of bricks – something I hadn’t really taken in and digested until that moment. The Scripture says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…I have called you friends.”

Did you see that? “Lay down his life…”

American Adventure at EPCOT

It hit me that Christ isn’t calling me to just die every day, but He is calling me to lay down my life. There’s a difference. I’m not called to be miserable every day. Following His plan, being His disciple, means that I must put HIS plan ahead of mine. I lay down my ideas of what I think my life should be like and I take on the life that He prescribes. And in so doing, He will show me how to really live. It’s all about LIVING. Living life to the full. Living the abundant life HE shows me. Living for Jesus, my family, and others – MY FRIENDS, even when it’s TOUGH. Even when I’d rather be doing my own thing.

It’s tough. It’s a struggle. Sometimes the moments seem to never end and I think it would be easier to toss it all aside, quit and do what I want to do. But God calls us to persevere, as it builds faith and character and hope.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. – Romans 5:3-5

So, it’s hard. But it’s worth it. I know He provides the strength needed when I am weak. I know the rewards will come. And in the long run, I know this will be a blessing!

Whether you are a homeschooling mom or not – no matter what you are doing in your life, you face struggles, you face challenges, you must overcome obstacles and your desire to give up and just do whatever seems “easiest.” Don’t do it! Stick with it! And let’s encourage one another on our journeys, whatever they may be. I’ll pray for you, and I would certainly appreciate your prayers for us!

So we stay the course, continue the journey, and do not give up! So far, so good – no regrets!

Blessing, my friends!

Tron 🙂

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