January 31, 2008

Things I Wish I'd Known

Did you know January has been unofficially labeled "National Home Schooling Panic Month"? You are half-way through the school year and there is still so much to cover.
The other day I stumbled onto a blog that reminded me of my younger self. The woman who wrote it was a home schooling mom. She was weary. She was sick of her kids' fights. Her house was always a mess and trying to schedule everything she needed to do was overwhelming her. She was afraid she was making the biggest mistake of her life by keeping her children at home and attempting to educate them; she was sure she was going to ruin any chance they had of a decent future. The poor woman was half-way down the road to throwing in the towel.

I can't tell you how many times I've felt like that. I'm wondering if anyone who reads this crazy, meandering blog feels that way.
A few years ago I read a book called: Things We Wish We'd Known. It was written by home school veterans from across the country. The Gurus of the home school world. It is a wonderful book! So very encouraging. Since I wasn't asked to write an article for the book, (I can't figure out why) I thought I'd tell you what I wish I'd known way back when.

-Relax.
I know there are days where everything piles up and you want to crawl under your coffee table and eat a bag of Doves, but don't do it. The Lord knows your heart. He knows your kids. He knows what you need. He knows you were checking the phone book last night to see if there are any orphanages nearby with a shortage of children. More than anything, He loves you and your family. He wants to see your kids succeed way more than you do. Pray. Take a deep breath. Surrender. I can't emphasize that word enough. It's only been when I've surrendered my anger, surrendered my frustrations, surrendered my fears, surrendered my loneliness, that I've seen the Lord at work. That doesn't mean He wasn't working all along, but once my heart was surrendered I could see it.

-It will all be worth it.
In the last 2 weeks our 2 older sons have shared so much of their hearts with me. I know they trust me and we are friends. I really truly don't think we'd be as close as we are if I've would've given up and sent them to West Point. (Just one of the many places I was tempted to send them over the years.) The Lord has been faithful. We have 3 sons who love Him, love their parents, love others, and love the Word. They are by no means perfect, but looking at them now I can say it was worth it. Oh how it was worth it! I will say I have an advantage over any of you with younger kids. I can look at our 3 older sons and see the "fruit of my labor". That alone is so encouraging as I plug along.

-It will go fast. It might not seem like it now when you're in the middle of everything, but there will come a day when you look back and realize, "Wow. Where did the years go?"

-Your house will be clean, quiet, and empty someday.

-The Lord is faithful and He will fill in the gaps. The spiritual gaps. The emotional gaps. The academic gaps. Can I use that word "surrender" again?

-Some of the stresses that come with having adult children are way more stressful than changing diapers and dealing with sibling rivalry. Trust me.

-Your children can and will learn regardless of what's going on around them. We managed to home school around times of financial stress, marital stress, the death of both of my parents, and unexpected guests. We've moved during the school year and I've had surgeries during the school year. The boys were distracted by pets, the weather, illness, cookies fresh out of the oven, and the birth of their baby brother. However, when we've had them tested, they scored either above or at the national average in every subject. Again let me say, the Lord is faithful. Kids don't need 8 hours a day sitting at a table to learn. Even those so called "distractions" can be used to teach your children things that are eternally important.

I hope this helps someone out there.......questions or comments are welcome. :-)

5 comments:

  1. I applaud your conviction, your patience, and your perserverance. Thank you for encouraging others who will benefit from your experience.

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  2. Thank you for this, Jan! With a 2nd grader, a preschooler who's ready to learn to read, a toddler, and a baby due in a few weeks, I often feel very overwhelmed. And yes, there have been days that I wonder if this can possibly be working. It seems like every time I reach that point, God sends some encouragement and I know this is right. I appreciate your words of experience.

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  3. Thanks, Jan. This was for me today!

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  4. I love your wisdom and how you share it with such grace and wit! And it was a good reminder to me as I continue to homeschool my 10,8,6 and 4 year old in the midst of breast cancer. I've had a few people say.....oh, you need to put those kids in school so you can heal better and your stress will be less. All I can say to them is that homeschooling brings me joy and the time spent with my boys offers so many opportunities of growth in all of us. I couldn't think of anything MORE stressful than sending them off to school in February!

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  5. Once again, I appreciate you sharing what you have learned. I jush wish more people were willing to do what you do! You always encourage me. And I look to you as the proof that this whole homeschooling thing really does work. You inspire me!

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