Yep, I'm still here. I bet you might have been wondering, (at least I have wondered) if I would ever pick up this blog thing again. Ok, humor me and let's act like you've noticed I haven't blogged in over 5 months. Seriously, where did that time go?
In the midst of getting the house ready and praying to God my husband could be here for my son's birth, hosting 7 different family members, my husband leaving on work trips, in the midst of adding a newborn to our homeschool days, in the midst of all that…
I've been sleeping instead of blogging.
But when breastfeeding, I've been thinking a lot about this past year. I've been thinking about why I started homeschooling, where we are going to finish and if I'm going to teach in the summer or not. And like every military family out there, there is always another move, another deployment and another factor to take into consideration for this fall.
But before I take you down those crazy rabbit trails, let me take you to my heart.
In December I had the most wonderful little boy named Matteo Christopher. He was perfectly made and we were wonderfully blessed. He has been an "easy" baby as some say, but adjusting to taking care of him and teaching had it's challenges.
Against advice I kept home schooling my kiddos and did not enroll them in full time school even though things got increasingly difficult.
With the third came a whole host of questions one of which was,
"Can I really do this well?"
As many of you have heard the biggest argument of home schooling is if our kids were getting enough socialization. And if I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times,
"My child just needs more socialization."
But let's be honest here- really honest. Home schooling isn't difficult because we have to arrange their social calendars, or because we have to teach them how to add or subtract. Homeschooling is difficult and long suffering when we are not our best. We are around each other (for better or worse) 24 hours a day, and some days, it's just tough.
I typically thought of our schooling in two categories: Academic and Social. Because after all, isn't that what they offer at the best schools? But I realized my flaw when God spoke to me about a third part, their emotional schooling.
This is hard to admit for me. I was easy on myself with the other two categories, but emotional???
I mean, come on Lord. I can't be blamed for their happiness and crying fits in the home as well?
As it is I already have a tremendous heart and burden that I direct them to You. Which I previously wrote about here, but emotional too?
I started to think critically about my responses to them at the end of the day. I started to ask God to show me what the day would feel like through their eyes.
I started to ask myself,
"Could another teacher (at a public or private school) show them more patience, more kindness, more energy than me?"
In January my husband left on another work trip (about a month after my son was born) and I was alone, on my own again. While he was gone it was a wake up call to me.
While I fought the naysayers and battled through keeping a schedule and no sleep, I struggled with confidence that I was offering them the best education out there. I was humbled and embarrassed at how I fuddled through the days and in the end hollered at them as I put them to bed because I was just tired. I was exhausted and drained and had no sign of relief.
And then God came near.
Not like in a cloud or anything, but in my heart. In my mind, before I would yell about legos hurting my feet as I walked across the floor, before I asked if anyone was even listening to me, I heard myself. I saw our days and night turn into a picture I hated and surely they did too.
I was so sad and felt defeated. I felt like I had failed them and failed God.
Then I got a call from a preschool that was connected from our church and they told me they had a spot for my daughter. This school has a wait list of 4 years- no joke. So, I wondered if this was God's way of letting me off the hook. I could enroll my oldest in Kinder and let my daughter go off and be educated some where else. And I could get my house back in order: file the papers that collected at our door, clean out closets that have been untouched since before Matteo was born, catch up on laundry, cook real meals again, shop with ease, nap when my baby napped, and be a "happy mom" when they got home from school.
But instead I prayed that God would show me what it was He wanted me to change so I could get my house back in order. Now last time I prayed this, He asked me to leave our learning community, so you can only imagine how excited I was to pray this prayer again.
Here's what I heard (in a roundabout way)- and here's what I think applies to all of us no matter where we are in this journey.
You are not alone. I am here. I am here in the silence. I am here in the chaos. I am with you when they are not listening. I am here when you cannot sleep at night because you worry about the day's goings. I am here. And I will lead you to a joyful spirit again. You are forgiven for your mistakes and are given grace instead. I called you and I will finish this Good Work in YOU.
So, each day I would ask God to remind me of these things and to remind me to get back to what He called me to do.
I did a few simple things and have felt like they have made all the difference for my life, our school day, and most importantly their emotional state as well.
1) I have an accountability partner that I will spill the beans to if I lose my temper.
2) I started our praise and worship time again.
3) I acknowledged the need to put in more field trips and excursions (especially when the weather is permissible).
4) I am learning to rest in the days that don't go as planned, but still go.
5) I am coming back to more of my own personal teaching style and trying hard not to fit myself in another mold.
6) I made clearer expectations of myself and what I am capable of in terms of activities and involvements with other mom groups. I even quit some mid year. That was hard.
7) I started once again, to make the crock pot my friend.
8) I've learned to ask for help when needed and accept it when offered.
9) I've taken a couple teacher in service days. :)
10) I've spent more intentional time "enjoying" my kids and tickling them during breaks.
All of these things and more, have helped me with my patience, my joy, my love for our days again. Are we perfect? No. Is it a messy house? Yes. Are we getting a lot done? I hope so.
But now more than ever, do my children know they are loved? Yes.
So, my friends, can I finish this year? Yes. Will I teach them again next year? Don't know.
But I do know God is with me and He will be with you regardless of what He is calling you to do.
He will finish this good work in you.
Much love and many blessings to you,