Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homeschool Diaries: What I Like About Homeschooling

Homeschooling has been hard. But what aspect of life isn't? If my kids went to public school there would be aspects that were hard. Right now I'm thinking waking up and having everybody fed, dressed, and ready to go by 7:00 would be quite a hard and a colossal task.
I know many of you do it. Good job.
And people ask me, how do you do it(homeschooling)? And, I think the same thing about public school. Not in a judgemental way but in a sincere, "I recognize there's a lot involved," kind of way, from homework, to parent conferences, to fundraisers, to programs, to difficult teachers to difficult classmates, and on and on.
And so, no schooling option is easy. It comes with its own set of difficulties.
As well as strengths.
I tend to focus on the difficulties and forget that there are great things about homeschooling.
One of which would be, not having to get up at the crack of dawn and make sure all my kids are dressed and ready to be out the door by 7:00.
Lately, a strength I've been enjoying are the many conversations I am able to have with my kids throughout the day. They say so many funny things. They ask so many great questions. I am so happy I get to be a part of that.
Yesterday we were at the pediatrician for Kate's three year check up. We were waiting on the doctor and Kate was dancing like crazy and making the most insane faces as she sat in her undies. Hannah, Grant, and I laughed so hard. I had tears. It's moments like that that I'm thankful to share with them. It was 10:00 and we were together, making memories.
And yes, homeschooling allows me to get doctor's appointments knocked out during the week in the mornings when it's not so busy.
Once someone said they heard a mom realize she shouldn't homeschool anymore because she was yelling at her child to say his ABCs while he was hiding under the bed in defiance to that very action. I would have quit homeschooling on the first day if that was my criteria as to whether or not I was fit to homeschool. I lose my temper. My kids cry. They see my ugly sin more than anyone. I had to apologize today because in a fit of frustration I kicked our dog after she stole yet another snack from my children. So, if you homeschool, it is unrealistic to think you aren't going to have some bad days where you do things that may border on insanity. And that can actually be a strength to homeschooling. My kids see my mess. And we *try* to daily walk in repentance and forgiveness. I'm not always good at it. There are times I am too prideful to apologize AGAIN for that same sin I did just moments before. But oh boy, it shows me right away how I need Christ. And that's the best place to be I have found. Sometimes the most worshipful thing I can do in the morning is to realize my very obvious limitations and say, "I need You."
I think just living life together, real life, is a great strength. My kids see interruptions and how to be flexible with what the Lord sets before you, especially when it wasn't in the "plan" for that day. If a serving opportunity arises, they come along. If a Jehovah's Witness knocks on the door, they listen intently to that conversation. If I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open during our read aloud time, I take a 30 minute "nap" on the couch while they sit with me and watch a show (yes this happens a lot). Life is full of unexpected interruptions. I hope to model handling those interruptions with grace while also being diligent to meet the demands of their education. Because, in the real world when they have a job, those interruptions will be there and they will have to address those while also getting the task at hand accomplished.
Homeschooling is a pretty good picture of discipleship. I think of discipleship as life on life. The disciples were with Jesus day in and day out. And while I am clearly not Jesus, His Spirit lives in me. And He uses me, like any Christian parent, to shepherd my children while we eat, while we learn, while we discipline, while we play. There's no getting away from them!
I remember as a kid when my mom would pick me up during a school day to go somewhere, maybe a doctor's appointment or to take me home because I was sick. And I often thought about the "freedom" of all the people who were in their cars driving around not at all bound by the school or its day. For some reason I thought that was invigorating and I longed for it. There was school and then there was "the real world." 
So I think of homeschooling as an opportunity to merge the real world with their education. They experience the practical aspect of life and its demands while also receiving an education in the midst of it. Day in and day out. Many folks think homeschooling is sheltering our kids from the real world when in fact it's often the opposite. They are smack dab in it. It's like "on the job training." And as a Christian parent, that "on the job" training is preparing them to think rightly and Biblically about the world around them.
So homeschooling, while it is most definitely tough and often makes me weary and feel incapable, has a lot of great strengths that I often must remind myself of. And so I write this post, as a reminder, especially on those days when I find myself yelling at my child who is held hostage under the bed because they refuse to say their abc's.


The Noonan's said...

I'm so grateful for you willingly interrupting your day a couple of months ago to pick up four stranded red-heads and their dog so that we could hangout with your sweet family. What a beautiful picture of flexibility and grace! We love you and were so glad to spend time in your home and lives for the afternoon!

LB said...

This is just what I needed to read as I am nursing Evie AGAIN. so encouraging!

Renee Henson said...

Love it Jessica! Great perspective!