Friday, August 14, 2009

Homeschooling, Part Deux

school room deskImage by devonbunny via Flickr

Dontcha just love it when the Lord gives you confirmation that you're on the right path, when you haven't even been praying for that confirmation? He is so good!

I've been scouring the internet the past couple of weeks trying to find the girls' curriculum for this year, at the cheapest price out there. Yes, I know I'm a little late in looking for it. Yes, I know we need to start school soon. I've had every intention of purchasing this year's curriculum all summer long. I began in May, checking in on ebay every couple of weeks to see what I could find. I just haven't actually bought anything yet, because, well - frankly - because food has been a higher priority in our budget every month.

I've found myself wondering the past couple of weeks, "Are we still supposed to be homeschooling? Were we wrong in thinking this was the right road to follow? I can't afford the curriculum, so maybe we aren't supposed to be doing this. . . " The doubts would come, and I would shove them away - it has been SOO good for our family this year, and I couldn't imagine putting them back in public school at this time. But still, lingering in the back of my mind, I would wonder, "What are we supposed to be doing here?"

As you know, this post by Dave was in my reader yesterday, and it really touched me. I didn't think of it as a confirmation at the time, I just knew it touched me.

Lo and behold, yesterday in the mail I received the book, Blue Like Play Dough, written by Tricia Goyer. I had actually won it from a dear friend, Ann, whom I'd gone to college with. She's a fantastic book reviewer, and has had a number of book giveaways in the past few weeks. (Go check out her blog, Ann's Thoughts. She writes the most inspiring and challenging posts about her spiritual walk and the Lord's work in her life).

Anyhoo, I knew Goyer's book was about motherhood, but I had no clue that she had homeschooled her children. In Chapter 5, Learning Things Twice and Then Some, she discusses some of the challenges she faced the first few years she homeschooled. She spoke of days where she and the kids were watching the clock, so anxious for "school" to be over. She was stressed, her children were stressed - school had become a chore. Then, along came a spider. . . (and sat down beside her!) :)

"The spider, which had to be as big as a nickel, had just started weaving its web. With the grace of a ballerina, it swung from one corner of the long, tall window to the other. We watched as it worked with perfect precision. The morning sunlight glistened off the web, making it appear like spun crystal.

I'm not a fan of spiders, but I've never seen anything more beautiful. I forgot about the handwriting and spelling words and the other things on my list. Instead, I just watched.
"That's amazing." Cory's voice held awe. "How does it do that?"

"I don't know. Let's find out." For the rest of the morning we looked up spiders on the Internet. We drew pictures of our spider friend. We even went to the library and checked out books about spiders And as we rode home singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" at the top of our lungs, I felt this inner boice telling me, This is what it's all about.

Not that I didn't need lesson plans to teach math and science and writing, but that I could view our learning as a time of bonding and fun. It wasn't just about inserting facts into my kids' brains. It was about connecting with their hearts. The spider, which we called Charlotte, was just the breakthrough I needed."

Tricia Goyer continues talking about how much she needed the Lord during the homeschooling years. Days that she knew He needed to show up in order for anything to work that day. She needed Him for wisdom, and patience, and guidance as she trained her children. She stated that while she knew homeschooling wasn't for everyone, she believed God led her to this choice in order to make her more aware of her moment-by-moment need for Him. Wow, can I relate to that. The last paragraph of this chapter states,

"My decision to homeschool was a conscious choice to give my children time. Time to learn, time to share, time to grow up together. Little did I know how much the time would teach me. Little did I know how much God would draw my heart to His in the process."

Guys, I feel like that is just what God is doing with me! He has used so many different circumstances in the past 18 months to draw me closer to Him. Some have been very painful. Some have stretched me beyond what I thought I could handle. Some scared me to death. Some STILL scare me to death. But I can tell you, I can't give you another time in my life that there has been so much spiritual growth. I still have a LONG way to go, and I know I will NEVER grow enough. But I'm so thankful for where He has brought me.

And I'm also thankful for the time. Aside from my spiritual growth, my favorite thing about homeschooling is the way time has changed in our family. We have a very simple life. I don't miss the early morning rush. I don't miss yelling at Emma, "Hurry! You're gonna be late!" I regret those yelling mornings, so much. I don't miss the frustration she and I both felt as she began hour 3 on her homework. I'm so thankful that homeschooling has simplified our life in so many ways. Yes, we still have days of frustration. Yes, we still have times that we're running late to somewhere, and I'm unhappily shoving everyone out the door. But, those days are few.

I feel like for us, homeschooling has given time back to us. Nobody determines what we do with our time and our days but us, hopefully with the Lord's guiding. It's a big responsibility I carry on my shoulders, and pretty imtimidating most days. But you know what? For us, it's worth it. I wouldn't trade the simplicity we enjoy for anything.

I'm sure there will be days that the girls won't love homeschooling as much as they do now. I'm thankful that they seem to want this as much as we do. As we said last year when we began this journey, we're taking this one year at a time.

For this year, it's a go. And I'm sure we'll ALL be pulled and stretched, and required to lean on the Lord in the midst of it.

And I'm thankful.

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  1. Even though we are just beginning year two and have homeschooled from the beginning I have been thankful over and over again for the freedom homeschool brings! When it is pouring rain at 7:45am, or when parents of public school kids are complaining about the germs their kids are all sharing from school, or we have somewhere to go on a weekday, I am so so glad we homeschool!

    Thanks for linking to the "Why we homeschool" article. More than their reasoning, the simple fact that the family of a public school teacher is choosing to homeschool while still working in a public school was encouraging to me, since that is our situation too. I knew there had to be others out there, but just hadn't heard of any!

    I hope you will blog regularly about school as we go through the year. What grades are your girls in?

  2. Amy, I'm glad you were encouraged! Sarah is starting 1st grade this year, and Emma is starting 3rd. Where has the time gone? I remember Emma swimming for the first time in your apartment pool - was that in Texarkana?

  3. Yep - Texarkana! We still have the pictures of her bright-eyed self from that visit. :) I can't believe she is a 3rd grader!

    Dale is in first grade too... I'll be interested to see what you end up with for curriculum! I'll hopefully be blogging about ours next week.

  4. I was in tears!!! Thank you for sharing all of this...and for your sweet encouragement to me. I'm about to send you a message on FB. Love you!

  5. Very beautiful post! We have been home schooling for 7 years, it is the toughest thing I have ever done, I have not always liked it...but I have NEVER regretted it for a moment. When God tells you to do it!

    It is funny, because I just posted today on some of htis years frustrations! Just remember that you are training your children as only a parent can...they are learning to love the Lord from you as no school child can!

    A copule of bboks that helped me (they are older, but you might could find them at the library) are Homeschooling by Heart and Help for the Harried Homeschooler. Great resources! Good luck, hope thigs go well this year!


It makes my day when I hear from you. Sad, but true - so make a girl feel good, eh? :)

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