Archives for December 2015
Let me say right off the bat that this isn’t one of those posts you find on basically every blog with a homeschooler behind it. This isn’t a post about all the reasons I homeschool my kids and all the reasons they don’t go to big bad public school. My daughter has gone to public school, actually, and it was pretty great for the season our family was in at the time. Her teacher was absolutely incredible and so gracious with me.
This post was written to stand out and give a new perspective. It’s the answer to the question I am asked over and over and over again. Sometimes in the straightforward way of “so, why do you homeschool?” Other times in the assumptive way of, “so do you homeschool because of all the scary stuff going on in public schools?”
This post is my answer. I’m sharing to enlighten you and to maybe resonate with a mom who feels the same way.
Some days, I don’t know why I homeschool my kids. My why is elusive, and fickle, and moody. It runs away from me when I need it most, on the days when the baby is teething and the toddler forgets how to use a toilet and the first grader suddenly forgot addition, even though we’ve been over it with no problem at least fifty-six times. My why is unreliable.
I don’t know why my why seems to be so important to everyone, and even to me. If a reason was the only thing I had driving me to do something hard, I don’t think I’d ever get anything done because most days I really don’t care, and would much rather binge watch Parks and Rec on Netflix than workout, or choose veggies over cheeseburgers, or sit with my Bible instead of sleeping for another half hour, or teach my kid how the freakin’ English language works when I could send her to a pro who doesn’t use words like “freakin'” for free.
For me there’s gotta be something bigger than a reason behind doing hard things.
I know a lot of people have lists of Bible verses that point to home educating and scary headlines that point to pulling our kids out of school, and while that can all be very convincing, I just don’t think it’s enough to ever keep me going. Because homeschooling is the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. Harder than losing baby weight or fixing a broken marriage or moving away from everyone I know and love. Homeschooling goes against every last pound of my flesh, and there are parts of it that really suck. There are days of it that have had me on the floor with wet cheeks and the word FAILURE echoing in my head, and there’s no headline that can keep me going willingly without fail. I’m sorry if that makes you think I’m a bad mom, but I’m just being honest.
I homeschool my kids because that’s where I feel the peace. Because it just feels right. Homeschooling feels like where I should be. And even on the days when I don’t know how I’m going to keep from screaming my lungs onto the table, I know I’m where I should be, and I can step back and call it what it is- just a really really crap day. We’ll try again tomorrow, because we can, because we homeschool.
I think I was led to homeschooling more by a why not than a why. I stay home with my kids, I’m not a total idiot (even with regular use of the word ‘freakin’), and I have this strong feeling that my son, Leland, would be changed in a negative way if he were made to sit down for long periods of time five days a week. And so the idea crept in and sat for a bit, and then came the peace.
There are a lot of reasons to homeschool, and they’re solid.
There are a lot of reasons not to homeschool, also solid.
I think we’re made fickle and moody and panicked, and I think that’s why we need peace as much as we need grace- to cover us and lead us to the right places. And I think it’s okay if those places don’t always make sense to those around us. Because without peace, who cares if everyone agrees?
And so here I am, with Amazon books on my coffee table and pencils crammed in the couch cushions- a homeschool mom covered in stereotypes and labels, doing the best I can one day at a time, following the peace.
Every once in awhile I like to mess around on my phone and create something fresh and free for you all. It’s usually when I’m procrastinating during nap time, aaaaaaand that’s what happened yesterday. SO… here’s a few free wallpapers for ya.
I don’t know about Android, but I know if you have an iPhone you can just save these to your phone, then access your favorite one from your photo album, select “set as wallpaper”, manipulate the placement with your fingers, then set it. Done! Now every time you look at your phone your life will be a thousand times better. Maybe they’re not that good, but, I like them….
Oh, and Merry Christmas!
our cross-country move), I am able to answer all those questions of yours and give you a look into our typical school day.
We do a four-day school week, and the days we do school vary week to week. Typically it’s Tuesday through Friday, because… Mondays, but a lot of the time it’s Monday through Thursday, because…. Friyay or whatever. I aim for four days, but three really solid, productive school days is okay too. This ensures that we move through the curricula at a healthy pace, and gives us lots of white space to play more or do more of what fits each day.
here to hook up with my coach. She rocks.)
this one and this one are my all-time favorites)
- 8:45 Morning devotional with the kids (we use this one)
- 9:00 I rinse off, get dressed, and get the kids dressed
- 10:00 Emmett goes down for a nap. Time to really dive into school
- 11:30 Lunch time. Emmett is awake
- 12:15 More school. We almost always get everything done by 1:30 or 2:00. The boys can play Super Nintendo, look at books, make art, play with toys, or be involved with school during this time.
in-home date nights.
Here’s a list of the schooling I aim to cover each day…
- History/Bible story: we talk more in depth about one of the characters in our devotional or a specific time in the Bible. We look things up online and watch YouTube videos to help.
- Math: one lesson per school day. We use this.
- Learning to read: Bella was not interested in learning to read until this year, and following the Charlotte Mason method, I let her lead what I teach with her interests, so we are learning this year with this book that I love. We do at least one lesson per school day. The lessons are simple and short, and Bella is ahead of the child this book is aimed towards, so some days we do more like five or six lessons.
- Read aloud: We are following the Year One book list from Ambleside Online, and currently reading Little House in the Big Woods. The kids are loving this book even more than they loved Charlotte’s Web, so we’ll definitely be going through the entire series.
- Reading Comprehension: this just means the kids drawing a picture of whatever we read in that day’s chapter(s) to show me they were listening and understood.
- Recitation: As a part of her Language curriculum, Bella memorizes and recites different poems.
- American Sign Language: we are beginning very basic with this book. All three older kids are learning.
our friends who lead us in exploring our new area on a Tuesday, we will switch the days.
- Outside play/explore (at least three days a week): we try to do a lot of school outside. We’ll just hit up a picnic area at a nearby park or bring a blanket to a grassy area in the forest and do what other kids do in tiny desks. Charlotte Mason believed in the outdoors, and so do I.
One other thing I will note is that I really try to have the house picked up, workout clothes laid out, and things ready for the next morning. It makes things so much easier on me, and gives me a good start to my day. It also helps Brian get out the door on time. I find when the morning is prepared for, the day is pretty seamless. I shoot to go to bed by 10:00. I admit this doesn’t always happen, as I am a night owl training to be an early bird, so I have more sleepy days than I’d like.
I hope this is helpful and not as dull as it felt when I was writing it! If you have a question I’ll always answer, so feel free to shoot me an email or a comment below. Happy homeschooling!
“Peace is joy at rest. Joy is peace on its feet.”
My last baby turned one year old on Halloween. I thought I would feel a heavy sadness, and I thought it would be a very tearful day. I made a big breakfast, cooked everyone’s favorite cold weather meal, and comforted my boy crying in confusion as we sang the birthday song, then Brian and I got all the kids into their costumes and we drove to a farm that was stocked up on pumpkins.
I watched my baby laugh in his daddy’s arms as he looked at a bunch of playful baby goats. I kept waiting for the pain to rise up, but it just wasn’t there. We went trick or treating; I nursed my baby and tucked him into my coat while I walked. All I felt was gratitude, and I think maybe there was even some joy in there.
Why am I not a wreck? Aren’t I supposed to be a wreck?
That night, after I nursed him to sleep and tucked him in for bed, I planted a soft kiss on his little head and thanked God for the joy Emmett had brought to our last three-hundred and sixty-five days.
I sat on the couch with Brian and we reminisced. We started talking about how heartbroken I was after Hudson was born, and the doctor told me I could not have anymore babies. There were so many nights spent choking on sobs and feeling like my world was crushed. Obviously, God moved in a big way and healed me, then gave us one last baby, Emmett Finn.
I got to thinking…
why was I so heartbroken that time I thought I’d have no more, but not this time when I know I won’t?
During my final pregnancy, God had given us peace about having my tubes tied. There were issues in me that proved risky and unhealthy. It was time to let my body heal and rest for good- no more ‘self-made’ babies for our family.
It wasn’t just the peace of God that led to a joy-filled year with my last baby. Being human, I’ve had times when I knew which way the Lord’s peace was leading me and I ignored it. You can, of course, choose to be angry, sad, upset, and even bitter, no matter how much peace you have over a situation.
Knowing what God wants for you doesn’t automatically make you happy about it.
I wanted more kids. Brian and I both agreed we wanted a large family with five or six children, and then we talked about adopting even more! Clearly, having our fourth baby be our last wasn’t the plan. I heard a lot of comments like, “you should be thankful. I know so and so and she can’t have kids at all.” Yes, I am extremely thankful, but I do not think ungratefulness is the root of heartache when a deep desire goes unfulfilled. Being told “you can’t, you’re done” against your will makes you feel inferior and powerless and deeply sad, no matter how many children you already have.
But you know what I realized? I had a choice to make. I could follow the peace and choose joy.
Or I could allow my could have been to steal the joy from my reality.
After Hudson was born, I had no peace, and I knew my God didn’t want this for me; that He was bigger than the words of that doctor. After Emmett was born, total peace, and then my choice to choose joy. It’s the combination of both that gives you the ability to move forward and enjoy this life when it doesn’t go as planned.
Note: please understand that although I do not personally know the pain of infertility, I do know the pain of loss, and I can only imagine the heartache those who cannot have any babies endure. It breaks me to even think of it. This post is not at all meant for those of you who have longed for a child and have been robbed of that blessing, so please don’t take it on yourselves. This is just my heart after a journey that God placed in my life and I had it on me to share. I believe God has a plan for every soul on this earth and in heaven- born and unborn- and I know His sovereign power will be made clear to you one day, sweet friend. My prayers go with you today.
Life lately is rain. Like, literal rain from the sky. A downpour that seems constant.
Being born and raised in So Cal, when it rains I stare blankly out the window and cross everything off my to do list because life cannot be lived if it’s raining. Here in Northwest Arkansas, apparently, it rains a lot and people just keep on going, living and doing life things. This includes leaving the house, which is both jarring and shocking to the California girl in me. Even today as our family left to go see a movie, it was raining so hard that it felt illegal or something. I kept peering out from underneath my protective hood, looking for signs of life. There was a guy walking his dog, a girl jogging (really?! you’re jogging in this???), and even a mom with her kids under the canopy at the picnic tables across from our house. Life can go on, even if it’s raining. Good to know.
Life lately is also some metaphorical rain. Brian and I both expected life to get a lot easier when we moved out here. Some things have been a million times better, like his work hours, but other things have remained difficult or gotten even harder.
How could you, God?!
I’ve found myself cranky, even a little bitter over some of it. I have had to sit in the dark on the couch in the dead of night and lay it all out for Him. The confusion, the thoughts I have, and how pissed off He made me on more than one occasion recently. It’s okay, He can handle my emotions.
God never promised easy if we follow His call on our lives. I know this, but I somehow thought our “big leap of faith” made us exempt.
God we moved all the way out here! Away from everyone we know and love! How can you not bless all of everything in our lives immediately?!
Oh humanity, you make me into such a moron.
God called us out of California and into Arkansas.
I know that for sure.
He blessed us with better work hours at Brian’s job, enough money to make it, and the promise that He’s got something big for us out here. At what point did I hear, “Get choself out to the mountains, girl! I’mma give you all the best everything! It’ll all be butterflies and rainbows and unicorns fo sho!” (I don’t know why I gave God a gangster voice. I get weird when I’m confessing something humbling. If this offends you go ahead and click away. I’ll understand…)
I think so often we (or, um, just I) fill in the margins of God’s voice. We hear Him give us a promise and we add in all the extra frills because the promise alone isn’t enough.
It’s a heavy lack of gratitude, at its best.
Why would I ever expect perfection in my life as a result of following God? Getting that would mean He gave me a way out of needing Him, of needing a Savior. That goes so far from His character, and believe it or not, His total goodness.
When God calls us, there’s a reason, even if we can’t see it. There’s a lot of hope in His call, but never perfection. In this fallen world we face hard trials and take deep cuts. So what’s the point? Why follow the call in the first place if it’s still going to suck sometimes?
Because even if not, He is still good. (Daniel 3:18)
Even if the things I think or hope will come to pass don’t come anywhere near my life, even if I give up everything I own and love and follow His call and I lose even more,
He is still good.
He is still good because He has promised that, eventually, His plans for me will make me prosper. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He is still good because His love for me never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
He is still good because He will never leave me in the mess of life, or any other time for that matter. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He is still good because He has poured out His blessings upon me, even if things are difficult at the moment. (Psalm 34:8)
He is still good because He adores me with a rich passion that I cannot even fathom. (1 John 3:1a)
He is still good when things seem unfair because of His love for me, and because love does not delight in evil. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
He is still good because His ways are higher than mine. (Isaiah 55:9)
He is still good because He is God. (Psalm 100:3)
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
And so I shut up, I stop expecting what is uncharacteristic of the God I love and serve, and I stop complaining about all He has blessed me with. So I run with purpose in every step and move ahead strong, trusting in His high ways and great plan, because my humanity is so weak, and I need a big God like Him.