Friday, September 28, 2007

Homeschooling Thoughts

I have begun this post countless times and without fail I have either been interrupted or I have been unable to collect my thoughts in a way that would give Glory to God for a decision that ultimately came as a direct call from Him.

I am going to begin by giving a little back story from my first days of parenting. You all know what days I'm talking about. Remember when we knew everything?

Well, one of the "furshur" things I knew was that I would be continuing to work full-time and with hard work and determination I had plans to expand my career and make oodles of money.

Forget the glaring fact that I cried all the way home each and every Friday afternoon during my 1 1/2 hour commute (one way) OR that I ate lunch alone everyday in my high rise Dallas office because I could not relate to the power-hungry career women that I worked with. These things would work themselves out. The idea that my salary could be eliminated and we would be able to survive on one income was completely out of the question.

Enter....God's Providence (again).

February 20, 1995 the Lord saw fit to bless us with a daughter.

My life was never the same.

Why would I trust her with *anyone* else? I spent every day of my six-week maternity leave weeping over our baby girl. On the eve of my return to work, I looked Chris in the eye and told him.

"It does not matter to me what the cost. I do not care what we have to do. I cannot.....I will not trust the care of this child to someone else."

So there began my journey.

Money? Oh, we did not have money. We did not have *any* money. Beans & cornbread was a staple. We survived on about $200 per week and God's grace. A LOT of God's grace. I won't bore you with the sordid details of how Goodwill was my friend or how to drive a hooptie car all the way to San Antonio with smoke billowing out of the engine.

The point? Sacrifice was required in order for His plan to unfold. A plan that involved all of our children and their upbringing. A divine order of events that has led us to where we are today with all of our children being homeschooled.

I have written about the why's in previous posts and I can still rattle off a jillion-two reasons why this decision is right and best but I often find myself at a loss for words when I am caught off guard or short for time.

It is not just best or better or more convenient. It does not just free up family time and allow for our family relationship to be stronger than it has ever been. Certainly the aspect of a biblical education and a central focus on the Word of God requires an intentional decision in regard to how we teach and structure our day. But I truly believe it is about accountability and doing things....His way.

We joke about how much scrutiny there is, now that I am the teacher. Their math skills, their reading skills and HAVE MERCY the all important social skills are all on display for the world to see and judge whether I have met the mark. Truth be told I am no more or less accountable now than before. The charge has always been mine and the responsibility has *always* fallen squarely on the shoulders of their father and I.

The only difference was I had allowed others to serve as their example and teach to their hearts things that we did not hold as truths.

No more.

Homeschooling is one of those sweet blessings that you can't fully embrace from the shore. Wading out in the depths beyond the crashing waves of possessive pronouns, algebraic phrases, and chemical weathering there lies a calm in the waters.

It has been there where I am grasping the burden and blessing of this decision....

Heavily weighted discussions about the fall of man, the promised seed, and the glorious gift of salvation.

How the squabbles between each of them can only be solved if there is a denial of their selfish nature and a surrender to a Christ-like response.

Being able to nurture and teach my daughters the blessings of homemaking and the opportunity to teach my sons how to grow into responsible young men who are capable and eager to serve their families.

Claiming time as a family....first.

So for all the sincere and genuine interest that my friends and family have shown, I hope I have shed light on how these first two weeks have gone. I will most certainly write about the ups and the downs and we are in no way exempt from the difficulties.


Grammar is basically kicking my rear-end. Good curriculum, but evidenced through my obvious love for run-on sentences, this subject might not be my strong suit. I spend ample time going over this booger before bedtime at night.

Scheduling is still in the "workin' out the kinks" mode right now. Trying to figure out a way for their outside time to coincide with one another is getting easier and making decisions to weed through the activities listed in each curriculum is helpful. It's hard to turn off the "public school" brain long enough to realize that I get to call the shots this time.

I'm tired. Like, really, really, really tired. Like if I curled up in a ball on the cement floor of my garage I could sleep for hours and hours. I think my brain is in shock mode.....Like, maybe it's thinking,

"uh.....message to haven't used this many cells since the 10th grade....uh.......we are about to shut down.....over and out."

Then there is the whole, "No Break" issue. Oh yes my friend. It can be an issue. Years of "me-time" gone by the wayside. It is a good thing. It is a God thing. But in this freckled flesh it still poses an issue. He is working it out of me...bit by bit.

Still, at the end of the day I am at peace. I am challenged, convicted and brought to my knees in a way that I have never been....and I am grateful.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:10


Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing Kim. I know what you mean about the me time thing.A And, how that is a God thing too. Not just w/the me time, but the need-to-clean-the-house thing. There isn't much extra time. My kids are young, I'm sure it will get harder in many ways, yet it is such a blessing and privilege too.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. Homeschooling is wonderful, but something else that needs to be done is always being neglected, too.

Dying to self is the hardest. See, we're finished with school today, and I ought to fold some clothes, but here I am....blogging. I'll get it done...

Tracy said...

I was reading the part about you being tired...really, really tired and right now feeling like I am about to drop, I can't imagine doing this and being pregnant! At least it is Friday... :) Not that that really makes a difference for moms!

Jill said...

God bless you Kim. This job gets harder and harder each year. I am schooling from 1st grade through 8th - eek! Sometimes I wonder if I don't have more than a 5th grade education myself. Lots of learnig for all of us, and especially for the mom who is trying to keep one step ahead.

5honeybunns said...

Amen, sister!

Christina said...

This was beautifuly written. I've been working on writing out my reasons for homeschooling and a bit of our journey, for our homeschool group. Can I just give them yours instead?! I like it better!

I really like your shore analogy. And don't worry, you'll learn more about grammar teaching your kids than you ever learned in school. For me it was spelling. I've gotten better, but I'm still grateful for spell check.

Thanks also for the housekeeping note. That explains why I couldn't get your feed.

Kim said...

This is so great...I love reading about your heart towards your children. It is all about that, isn't it? The heart---theirs and ours. Our hearts needing to be molded to be more and more selfless...and their hearts to be guided through the years and taught how wonderful and glorious Christ learn to savor Him and delight in him alone. (yes, I have been reading Piper lately! : ))

But, I agree with you whole- heartedly. I am very like minded with you on this and I am so glad we can share our journey together through our blogs.

Tiffany said...

I have to say that I really appreciate my hubby when he takes the kids to BSF, or out to the country house to give me time to do whatever I need to catch up on running to store, studying, doing laundry, or whatever I feel like! I love the quiteness of my home, but then after just a few hours am ready to go again!

I love the way you wrote about teaching the difficult subjects...whatever those may be...and compairing those to the beach! I can so relate! Just when I think the waves of doubt and unknowing are gonna knock me over and take me out with the undertow...I stop...take a breath...say a prayer, and then just be honest with my kids that I need a moment to understand what we are doing myself. They appreciate my honesty, and know that if I can't figure it out we will look it up, ask daddy, or skip it until we can figure it out!

I'm so proud of you Kim! What an awesome experience this will be for our families and our future generations to come!