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.
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.