Oh hey! I fell out of the blogging world this past spring. I was so engrossed in planning for our new school year, I got out of the habit of blogging. Then I just decided it was too hard to open my heart to the world, so I gave it up for a while. 8 months, to be exact. But I feel like I really want to get back in to it. So here I am again. Simply Startled...
"What made you decide to homeschool?" Other than the ridiculous "socialization" question all homeschool parents are asked, this is the question I get asked the most. It's easy: I didn't decide. God did. Actually Patrick brought it up first. I can't remember what gave him the idea, but one day he came home from work with this crazy idea that maybe we should look in to it. I balked, but then God really began to soften my heart to it, I started researching, we started visiting preschools for Anna, and after a few months, we decided to keep her home for a while. That turned in to a few years, and now 8 years in to, here we are. It's our life now. It's not something we do; it's the way we live. Most days I love it. But then...you know.
Last year was very challenging. The main challenge was the attitude of a certain preteen and a mother who didn't know how to deal with her. A year of prayer, a big dose of patience (mixed in to a lot of angry shouting matches and temper losing), and a really life-changing youth trip for Anna healed a lot of pain from last year. Thankfully that bridge is crossed, and Anna and I are doing much better. I feel like when/if we get to another bridge like that, we'll be better prepared.
So this year came with its own challenges, of course. We are dealing with some learning challenges with one of our daughters. Thankfully we have resources, and we are getting help. Another challenge is that I'm working a lot more, out of necessity. The girls are busier, I'm feeling aggravated because school is becoming more rigorous as they girls get older and we aren't staying "on schedule." This has brought up a deeper issue in our homeschool. Somewhere along the way, I decided (subconsciously) that this is MY home, MY homeschool, MY life, MY children, MY decision. In other words, I've become prideful. I've taken on my children's challenges as MY failures. Somehow I decided that everything we are lacking in our school is a personal failure of mine. I've become fearful. Fearful that one day I am going to look back and realize that everything I've done wasn't enough. Fearful that if my girls aren't 100% successful, it will be because I've done them a great disservice along the way. Fearful that my girls will resent my shortcomings. Fearful that I will destroy my relationship with my daughters.
That's a lot of fear and heaviness!!! My heart has become bitter, and I've become easily frustrated and angry. I've become a person who doesn't enjoy life. That's so different than the person I used to be and probably different than the person you see (if you know me irl). I'm good at wearing a mask, you see.
So over the past few days, I've spent a lot of time in prayer. And I've enlisted some help from some very wise mommas. I feel like God has cracked a hard shell around my heart. I realize we started out homeschooling because we felt like God wanted us to. And now I have to let God do what He has purposed for our family. I am letting go of the fear of my failures. I'm not perfect, but I'm perfect for my girls, just like they are perfect for me. My girls are a gift and a blessing to me. My new purpose is to help them realize their God-given gifts and to glorify God in all they do. It frustrates me that I've been in a similar place before (realizing anew that I have to let God do this!!), and here I am again. But that's life and humanity. And I'm thankful for a Father who chastens us gently and never gives up on us.
So last Thursday began our month of Christmas break. We are setting aside school in favor of Christmas crafts, baking, and lots of singing! I am going to reevaluate my expectations and see what needs to stay and what needs to go, as far as our homeschooling. I am going to refocus and heal. And when school starts back, our school will look a lot different. And with that, so will our life.
My youngest said to me the other night that she feels like "our home would go a lot better if we began and ended each day with prayer." What wise words from a 6 year old. She's such a light in the world!!! This morning, I looked at the daily verse on my YouVerse app. "Teach me to do what pleases you, because you are my God. Guide me by your good spirit into good land." Psalm 143:10 I'm in the good land now. The land of grace.