Monday, February 15, 2010

Keeping it in mind

When things get tough homeschooling my little ones, there are two stories that return to my thoughts. These aren't necessarily the most uplifting thoughts, but they are two statements that help me maintain perspective.

A friend of mine met a woman at a birthday party. The woman had been homeschooled through high school, so my friend started asking her about it. This woman was not planning at all to homeschool her own children at all. Her reason?

I never want to be as stressed as I remember my own mother being.


That statement has stuck with me. I try to remember it on days when things are getting tough. A stressed out, frazzled mom is NOT what I want my children to remember from our days at home together.

And in a weird way, this sad statement helps me at those moments. I am able to pause in my mind, back up, and pray. I have to give the moment and the day over to God and release MY agenda, which is often the cause of the stress.

I continually pray that our family will build fun memories together. It doesn't matter to me that my children homeschool their own children. But, I want their memories of our time at home together will be fond ones that they will cherish. I pray our time will solidify and strengthen our relationships instead of damaging them.

And this little statement helps me remember to keep giving my agenda over to God and resting in His plan each day instead of stressing over mine.

Story Two
I have been overwhelmed this year. Homeschooling with a baby, three year old, 5 year old and 7 year old has been quite a challenge for me. I have made some effort to seek out other moms with 4 or more children for encouragement and advice.

Recently I visited a friends with four kids over the same age span. But her youngest is now kindergarten and the oldest is 5th grade. I wanted to see how she ran the day, kept herself organized, and how things were set up.

Our time was great and it was so nice to see how things might look in 5 years. But at some point I turned to her and admitted that having the baby and three year old was so tough. I asked, "What on earth did you do back then?"

She smiled. "Remember, that is when I gave up and sent them to school?"

At that time, she had gotten so frazzled about homeschooling and it had brought out so much anger and frustration that she and her husband agreed to send the children to school.

I didn't know her at that time. When we met, she had her oldest daughter at home with her and was in the processing of trying to "convince" her husband to let her homeschool them all again. After months of praying, attending a conference together, and a year with one at home, they brought all 4 home again. And she is having a great year.

But that story acknowledge for me just how tough this situation is. There will be other challenges later, but the challenges that I am facing right now are extremely frustrating at times.

Frustrating enough that some awesome homeschooling mommies that I know threw in the towel for awhile. And that is OK. God worked it out. But somehow, knowing that honest truth that she shared with me has made me feel less alone.

This story is another one that reminds me to stay focused on God and rest in Him. I can't let homeschooling consume my mind. And I certainly pray it won't have a negative impact on our family.

This story also reminds me that God works in ALL situations. I may find a time that I need a break and He leads our family down a different path for awhile. That doesn't mean that I can't go back to homeschooling if it is my desire.

Just two thoughts that sometimes help me get through tough spots.

They help me to remember to rest in Him and let some things go that need to be released for the JOY of homeschooling to be restored.


weavermom said...

Ouch is right on that first one! But, it is thought provoking. Definitely don't want my kids to leave their childhood thinking that about homeschooling or anything else. I want them to have good, fun mom memories!

((HUGS)) Homeschooling can be consuming. Glad you are looking for your JOY! :)

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

you said, "the challenges that I am facing right now are extremely frustrating at times"
pardon my french, but abso-freakin-lutely!
Homeschooling is never easy, but the stress I feel now - and have since #5 was born almost 4yrs ago (really since pregnancy -boy! that was a rough one) is very hard to cope with sometimes. In fact, I'm at one of those moments where I need a break. High school, middle school, elementary, teaching phonics, and preschool all at once is about to send me to the funny farm.
Truth is, i LOVE homeschooling, but it doesn't happen in a vacuum. There are many other responsibilities on our plates, and it's very easy to feel overwhelmed.
For our part, we're looking into a sweet local Christian classical school for 1st grade. Long story, we can email about it.
Bottom line, though, is that you are doing a great job! You could even pull back on some of the stuff you're doing with K and T and still be on grade level and be fine. If you did nothing but phonics and math, and read lots of good books with them, they'd be fine. Try not to stress about these younger years. My "baby" is about to be four, and you know how sad it makes me to see them grow up!
You're an AWESOME homeschool mom! Don't feel guilty about being stressed - we all get that way sometimes. Just breathe, pray, and Do the Next Thing. ;)

Renee said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I only know the challenge of a three year old during school time. I can not imagine juggling a baby, too! So thankful that God is giving you the opportunity to really need to/learn to surrender to Him! I know He will bless! Your kids are darling! Haven't read your blog since the your three year old was the baby!