Friday, September 28, 2012

Homeschooling 2012

Today is the end of our third week of homeschooling this school year.  A recent conversation with a friend who also home schools her children (and who has been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement!) made me think about my family's homeschooling journey.  Three years ago, after much prayer and research, my husband and I made the decision to home school.

Three years ago at this time, I was overwhelmed, holding a newborn baby, reminding my children to pay attention for the millionth time, traveling back and forth to the hospital to visit my husband who was recovering from yet another surgery, and certain that I made a terrible mistake by choosing to home school.  I thought back to the summer when we made this decision and was sure it must have been a moment of pregnancy craziness.  Everyone knows you shouldn't make life-altering decisions during the third trimester!  But, here I was in a big, heaping pile of the chaos as I tried to make sense of our homeschooling curriculum, grade books, planning, and teaching, while nursing a newborn, keeping my house semi-clean, going to soccer practices, doctor visits, and spending time in surgery waiting rooms.  It was one of those places in my life when I was doing lots of things, but none of them were being done well.  I've been in those places more than once and they're not a fun place to be!

I am glad that I had many family members and friends praying for us during that time!  My husband eventually came home from the hospital, the newborn baby adapted to our family and the process of planning and teaching and record-keeping became less-intimidating.  Three years later, I am sure that I heard God clearly when he spoke to my heart about homeschooling.  I feel very confident that I am not going to "mess up" my children's education.  I'm not easily frustrated when my lesson plan and actual school day do not even resemble one another.  I'm okay with giving my children Honey Bunches of Oats for lunch or knitting an Etsy order while one of the boys reads our Science lesson to save time.  I've found a Math curriculum that practically teaches itself.  And if my three-year-old empties her dresser and tries on every bathing suit she owns while I'm teaching History, that's fine by me.

The Robinson's house is much more relaxed these days.  When I remember those first few weeks of homeschooling and the circumstances surrounding them, I am reminded of how blessed I am today.  My husband is as healthy as he can be (seasonal changes are never easy for Crohn's Disease) and he's not in the hospital.  My kids are all three becoming responsible, respectful, intelligent, kind, compassionate, wonderful warriors for Christ.  I am keeping busy with just the right amount of Etsy orders.  And most importantly, God is in the center of all of this.  We still have our days when nothing I do can make my children remember how to spell the word "substitute" or no one can remember what the lowest common denominator means, someone older than age five asks me if December comes after October and I wonder if a mother's brain can actually explode.  I have moments when I feel like I am not teaching the right material or that I don't have enough time to teach my kids everything I want them to learn.  Experience and time have shown me that I need only to trust God and everything will work out just the way he planned.

Our memory verse this week was Philippians 4:19: "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  I'm grateful for His faithfulness and his provision in ALL circumstances.  Thankfully He gave me just enough strength and hope to continue teaching our kids.  It would have been extremely easy to give up on homeschooling and send my kids back to public schools, where they would receive an education, along with exposure to the undesirable things of this world that we work so hard to protect and shelter them from.  Homeschooling is hard work, but the rewards are better than anything I ever imagined.