“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.”
-Zora Neal Hurston
AND THOSE PEOPLE ARE MY CHILDREN
“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.”
-Zora Neal Hurston
AND THOSE PEOPLE ARE MY CHILDREN
April is a major birthday month in our family!! My 2 oldest are 1 day apart(what was I thinking?!?!) and mine is 2 days later. This picture basically sums up my emotions around this time, happy, sad, hectic, exciting and chaotic. And unfortunately 70% of those emotions result in tears.
Here’s to still crying if I want to!!
Last night around 2 am I woke up by myself on the bottom bunk of my kids bunk bed. The storm outside had settled, the wind a silent whisper and the rain a gentle drumming. I faintly remembered stumbling out of bed and tripping over toys to get to my kids who were wailing in fright at the thunderous sounds of the storm.
And now here I lay, by myself. The nightlight blinding me as I look around for my little ones.
And the search began.
I head first to my room and poke my head inside where I found 2 sleeping cherubs gently snoring.
One was my 3 year old daughter, they other my 29 year old husband.
And so the search continued.
I peeked inside my littlest guy’s room and withdrew as soon as I heard his deep steady breaths from the crib! Oh such a sweet sound.
My oldest couldn’t be far… down the hall I roamed and as I turned the corner into our living room, my oldest was there sleeping like a baby with his fur baby! My heart pitter pattered and my swollen sleepy eyes smiled.
Oh a boy and his dog… who can separate!?!?
Our first year of homeschooling will be over in a couple months and I’ve found myself reminiscing ( and yes I’m using the correct word here) about all the worries and anxieties I had leading up to the beginning of the school year. Here are 5 things I’ve learned about myself and homeschooling.
1.I AM NOT A TOTAL REJECT!!
To explain, I have never been very confident in my ability to make friends with women as an adult woman. Now to keep me from sounding like a recluse I will add that I have a lot of women friends but the difference is that I made these friends when I was just a girl. When we were just girls. I still have friends that I’ve had since elementary school, those are some of my closest friends. I have friends that I made when I was in a youth/college group at church and a very good friend that I made at my first ever job, Hobby Lobby. But the entire realm of women makes me shutter. Now as a homeschooler, you might not think I meet very many grown ups or see anyone at all ever that is over 4 feet tall but in all actuality I do and it was one of my biggest fears going into this. The kind of homeschooler I wanted to be was not the one that came natural for me. (Hey look, I have social anxiety and I was public schooled… more info on this in # 4.) We got out of the house, we joined a co-op where we knew practically no one going into it. We have play dates consistently and guess what… I am surviving. I sweat a lot but not as much as I did those first couple months of Thursdays, meeting people and trying to get to know all the different mothers.
I like the word mothers better, makes me sweat less than the word women, lots of different women. Eek. And I really can’t explain the fear because I am one.
2.HOMESCHOOLING CAN GET REALLY EXPENSIVE!!
I didn’t really realize this until I started searching around for next years curriculum. We are doing My Father’s World 1st grade curriculum right now (which was not so cheap itself) and looking at future purchases with them would be going into a lot of several hundreds of dollars, not just several. I’ve realized through blogs and blogging myself that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to teach your child. You don’t have to get one big curriculum package. You can buy used, which is what I’m looking into for this next fall. Going cheaper does not mean you will lose any of the quality that you are wanting. My son is only 5 and we are doing 1st grade this year. He is amazing and a super fast learner, I don’t know if all my children will learn at this rate but if so I shouldn’t have to spend much on anything else right?
All that being said, we do absolutely love My Father’s World so may still get the bulk of it through them.
3.IT’S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!
Going into this I really didn’t know what to expect but I had a feeling, after hours of searching for curriculums and subjects and grade levels that I was in for quite a ride. And it really is hit or miss. Some things that we have loved this year and last (preschool) others have not so much. For instance we absolutely loved almost everything about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, my child really took to it and the only thing I had a real problem with was the stories got kind of repetitive. My son got a little bored with it so we skipped a few here and there. He picked it up quickly though. Now once I started talking to other mom’s in our co-op I learned that some of them didn’t care for it because it didn’t click for their kid and they found something else that did. I think I will find this happens a lot more as we go along and my own children have a different way of learning.
4.MY CHILD IS STILL NORMAL AND I BELIEVE HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE!!
I’m not gonna lie and say this wasn’t a huge worry I had, probably because it’s one of the most common misconceptions people have about homeschooled children. They will be socially awkward or they seem just a little different. Honestly it’s really funny now that I think about it. I went to public school and I was a a little weird and awkward so if my kids ends up like that it’s most likely genetic. Here is a great post about this very topic. It’s Because They’re Homeschooled: No, Actually It’s Not. I know several homeschooled children and several public schooled children and you know what… I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Some kids are shy, some are not, some are very active, some are not.
Personality, Personality, Personality!!!!
5.IT’S A LOT HARDER AND A LOT MORE REWARDING THAN I EXPECTED!!
Don’t get me wrong, I had a feeling it would be hard but it’s a different kind of hard once you are deep in the thick of it. Before we started I was worried about all of the above, about curriculum choices and normal kids and me being the biggest, nerdiest mom ever. But now those have pretty much faded away, every once in awhile they will pop up again but it’s nothing I can’t handle. What was unexpectedly hard is realizing that there are some days when neither of us want to do school. Somedays my temper is a little shorter than I would like. Some days showing grace doesn’t seem like much of an option. While we make school as yell free and stress free as possible that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t harder than others. There is a fine balance in being the mom and the teacher of your children. I don’t think I have quite gotten it down yet but I’m working on it. Another hard thing is just wanting them to succeed, wanting to do the best thing for my child and when they are struggling with something or not figuring it out the thought pops into my head, “Maybe I’m not good enough to do this job.” and then that’s about the time the rewarding part comes in. I have found that about the time when I am starting to second guess our decision to homeschool there is a grace that blankets our house and it’s definitely not from me. Whether it’s just peace that washes over me or me seeing my son figure something out that he’s been struggling with. I’m reminded that I didn’t go into this decision lightly. Lots of prayer and thought and discussion went into this and I know that at this time in our lives this is what we should be doing and God never fails to remind me of that when I am starting to get a little stressed out.
I really was not expecting or planning on writing down all of my thoughts that I have been having this last month or so about schooling but I’m so glad I did. It was a great way to reflect and see that the prayers and worries I had earlier on were answered in one way or the other, which then gives me hope and faith that the worries and struggles that come along now and in the future will not overtake me.
If you are struggling with a decision about homeschooling, whether it be to try it out or not or just how in the world to start off, I’m always here. I definitely don’t have all the answers but sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who gets it. Support is a very necessary thing, whether you homeschool or not!!
Proverbs 1- Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public square, at the head of the noisy street she cries out. How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
I’ve been drowning in a bittersweet pool of daily chores, school work, teaching, mothering, wifing and all around trying to be a put together human being. I’ve been so busy keeping all of my blessings in check that I have forgotten to remember who gave them to me in the first place. I have forgotten to give credit where credit is due. I’ve blamed my lack of sleep on the children, who for the most part sleep through the night, sometimes in our bed but they still get a solid nights sleep these days. I blame my lack of quiet time in the Bible and a real relationship with God on everything from my checklist when really my checklist is, well let’s face it….. Crap!
I believe that being in the Bible daily and having a moment (and sometimes that’s really all it will end up being, just one moment) with God will change the course of my day. I believe this because I’ve lived it. Before I let this world get ahold of me, before my list of priorities became somewhat skewed, I’ve felt that change, that strength, that patience, that love, all those things that can only come from a growing relationship with God course through me when I needed it most. (Usually around 2:00 everyday) But for the last several months I’ve been more irritable, I’ve been biting my tongue a lot more when my son isn’t figuring something out as quickly as I think he should throughout our school day. When in all reality I want to be able to possess the grace and the compassion and the patience that I try to instill in my children everyday. How can I do that when I am lacking those qualities myself?
I’ve known I’ve needed a change and I’ve known how to fix it for awhile now but still my priorities weren’t quite cutting it. I wasn’t making the changes that I needed to. I just kept my worries and yearning for something more bottled up inside of me. Do you believe that God puts people in your life at just the right time? I definitely do. I’m sure it’s happened a lot more than I’ve actually noticed but this time around I definitely did. I’m 31 and I have a new friend. A person who I’ve gotten close to just within the last few months and we have both realized how much alike we actually are… but I think she is much lovelier. She is so kind and considerate and thoughtful. Well a few nights ago she invited me on a trip with her to Hy-vee to pick up some groceries she’d ordered online. Haha she admits that it was kind of an odd invite but I said “sure, I needed to pick up coffee.” So away we went, on a Friday night I believe. What else are two moms to do on a weekend? Anyways, she got to talking and then I got to talking and I finally worked up the nerve to ask her what kind of devotion or study she uses to motivate herself to get up at 6 am every morning and spend time with God. I wanted that so much but honestly I’ve never been all that open when it comes to sharing my spiritual needs with someone else. Well, she made some suggestions and by the end of that trip to Hy-vee I had a new skip in my step. I felt lighter within my soul. I’m not sure how to explain it but I knew that confiding in someone else who has this beautiful heart for God and letting them in, helped me. I knew that I would wake up the next morning (I’m still working on getting up at 6am) at least a little earlier than usual and open my Bible, open my notebook and just spend a little time with God.
And I did.
Starting in Proverbs, with a chapter a day. So far I haven’t had to search very hard to feel lead to write down parts of the chapter that moved me. That have inspired me. (There have been so many.) I felt like the first chapter of Proverbs was fitting to get me started on my journey back to God. To building on a relationship that I’ve let slip through my finger tips. I’ve found that searching for wisdom and guidance and love is only possible through his word, it’s only possible when there is a relationship there. An ever growing relationship that is so much more important than my timeline, my comfort, and my sleep schedule.
Today was one of those very stormy spring days. Dark and gloomy with thunder and lightening that kept my 3 year old’s bottom on my lap and hands over her ears.
Today was one of those days that mommy had things to do. While the laundry had been washed and folded and even put away there were still so many other things on the to-do list.
Today was one of those days that didn’t go as planned. Storms had us inside, frightened children kept chores from being completed.
Today my 3 year old crawled up into my lap and buried her head in my chest. I closed my eyes and rested my check on her forehead. When I opened them that’s when I saw it, straight ahead was a sight that made me give a great big ole sigh. The table was cluttered with more than the eyes could take in. The motivation inside of me to clean kicked in and I almost jumped up to tend to the mess that blanketed the table when my 3 year old clasped her fingers tighter on my arm. I Hugged her tighter and gave my messy table the stink eye. I started to put each thing that didn’t belong back in it’s rightful place in my head. Not sure what that was going to do but I’m never in cleaning mode so didn’t want to lose my momentum. As I categorized and planned my attack for cleaning that table I realized something.
I loved everything on that table. I appreciated everything on that table and besides the clutter itself, everything on that table was priceless.
Cup of Coffee – There are no words…
That large stack of library books – we get to go and pick through hundreds of books at our local library any time we want for free. My kids love books and they learn so much from them.
Wipes – the ability to clean up my disgusting babies in one fell swoop.
Adult bible and bible for children – the most important part of our day and sometimes it’s the first thing that goes forgotten or pushed to the side, but not today.
Dinosaur bag – this was my oldest sons first back pack that made him feel like a big boy, my youngest son who is 1 year old today gets to feel like a big boy with this same bag. (This mama is getting all teary eyed up in here.)
Venom Cup – these hold my children’s precious drinks. Usually water and milk, (thank the Lord for a child who prefers that over juice;)
Centerpiece – we all need something pretty to look at.
High chair tray – this keeps my youngest safe while he eats.
Materials for kids crafts – crafts that teach my children how to be creative and artistic and most of all it’s our happy place.
Purse – this precious thing holds almost everything I need while I am on the go with all my kiddos.
As I looked ahead and had my aha moment, I suddenly didn’t feel the urgent need to clear away all of these priceless things from this priceless table that I used to eat at with my parents when I was little.
So I sat and held my daughter until the storms passed.
Sometimes it’s okay to look at a mess and appreciate the beauty in it!