Dear new homeschool moms,
I've been thinking about you a lot these past few days as the hours of sunlight lessen and the itch to get into a routine triggers that old nesting instinct. I know that path you are walking. Maybe you're clinging to those minutes of daylight slipping away: A tightrope stretches out in front of you. And a deep canyon of unknown obstacles yawns below, admittedly scaring the denim jumper off you.
(Well, no big loss on the jumper. I promise you, it's better left in the closet.*)
The carefully selected curriculum is purchased, unpacked and lined up at eye level for your learners, but you're not sure if it's the right kind, the right challenge, the right amount. You have chosen your homeschooling space but you've seen so many cleverer uses of corners, shelving, storage and seating on Pinterest that maybe it's not too late to rearrange it one more time. The kids can now recite by heart every ultimatum you've issued regarding morning routines and schoolwork expectations, and all the while you're bribing them with promises of trips to the zoo or the new zipline course (PE!). Yes, I remember those days -- and those days are among my favorite memories! Hopeful, anticipating, purposeful -- our intentions were as fresh as the smell of newly cracked books.
There was the sense that we were, in our own little way and as the Lord had made it possible for us to do, responding in obedience to the call to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching them all that he had commanded us, and instructing them throughout the day as we would sit and when we would walk by the way, and upon rising up and lying down. Combing the scriptures for understanding about how to be godly parents and how to make sure the results would be godly children.
Articulate and knowledgeable veteran homeschoolers are gathering their collections of tips and suggestions for a productive, successful school year and uploading them to blogs and websites. I check them out myself -- what, you think just because we're embarking on our fifteenth year that there's nothing I can't be taught? Then you haven't learned yet that one trait that defines a homeschooler is that she is always learning, wearing the tutor hat but ever the student. Then there are articles that give advice on what to say to family and friends who discount homeschooling, to the nebby lady in the grocery store who wonders why the kids aren't in school, and to the neighborhood kids who think that being at home means your kids are always available to play, even if they've knocked in the middle of math lessons. There are always more books, there is always new curriculum, and the links to online pep talks are endless.
There's a lot out there, and I advise you to search thoroughly but choose your counsel with discretion. Not everyone will have your best homeschool effort in mind, and really, how could they? They don't know you, and they don't know what will work best in your home and with your kids. I certainly don't; I am the last person to declare with confidence that there is one way better than all the others.
To begin with, I can't honestly say -- in fact, I won't ever say -- that homeschooling is the only and best solution for parents on the question of how to educate their children. And I will never, ever promise that it will all be worth it if you follow "the rules" or "stick to the list". I will promise you that learning to being content with whatever revisions to the list the Lord brings along begets joy regardless of the situation. Let me briefly tell you what happened to the list on our first ever day of homeschooling:
1) Prayer and devotions
2) Introduction to lessons (Hannah was in 7th grade, Tom was in kindergarten, Joy and Hope in "preschool".)
3) Chores: dishes (me); send son to collect laundry baskets
Scratch ..... toss the original list.
4) Trip over baskets; realize I've dislocated my knee; call someone to stay with the kids; spend rest of the day in the ER; spend evening on meds.
And one month later? 9/11 occurred, and I was operating as a single parent for the next several weeks.
Instead, my words for you this day, while I think of so many of you stepping out onto that tightrope, are prayers for joy in the soaring moments and the gut-wrenching struggles, for confidence in what's true about your sure foundation in Christ regardless of insecurities that swarm around decisions about math books or DVDs, for strength for the long days and rest for the sleepless nights, for union with Christ, wherein we find our only rest and from whom flows our only strength.
I will awake the dawn!
and nights like this:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
Go forth, moms. I'm praying for you. Here is the final verse from Psalm 108. It is my motto for this, my fifteenth year of homeschooling:
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
See, they survived -- by the grace of God!
*Note and check off on your list the requisite denim jumper joke expected in all homeschooling-related articles.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.