...we have been just a little bit busy.
When I last left you, I had just finished writing about our exciting homeschooling adventure that was coming up. I think I even may have told you to check back because I was planning on having regular updates about how our year was going.
Well, this is your first (and probably only) update. We are officially half-way through our first year of homeschooling and are loving it! We have felt so blessed to be able to spend this time with our kids, and watch them grow academically and spiritually. What a task the Lord has given us! But I am amazed daily at how much I have learned about my sweet children, and especially about myself....both good and bad.
Now, that being said, I am not going to lie to you and paint a rosy picture of me with three kids under the age of 7, sitting quietly around a table, working diligently and quoting Shakespeare, and treating each other with nothing but kindness and respect, while I teach lessons, shower, put on something trendy and cute, quickly prepare a Beef Wellington for dinner, clean the house from top to bottom, and maintain a rosy composure with oodles of patience all day long. I have read (and been envious of) SO many homeschooling blogs who seem to have nothing but well-behaved, angelic children with moms who are seemingly able to mold little Einsteins, maintain a spotless house, keep up with blogging on a regular basis, AND do it all with a smile!
Here is our reality:
- I sometimes remember to shower...and put on deodorant (it's usually either/or)
- My poor husband is lucky if I slap on some make up when he gets home
- the carpets get vacuumed...before we have company over
- the bathroom mirrors get cleaned when I can no longer see my reflection...don't ask about our toilets
- I don't even know what Beef Wellington is, or how to prepare it
- who is Shakespeare??
- the only time my three kids are sitting at the table quietly and ALL together is when they have food in their mouths, AND Aaron is strapped into his booster chair to reduce the risk of escape
- my kids bicker, hopefully I'm not the only one who experiences this
- and there are times *sigh* that I lose my patience...there, I said it
Homeschooling is HARD. It has brought so many of my faults into the spotlight for me to examine with a fine tooth comb. At times it is overwhelming to think of the responsibility I feel to educate my kids successfully. I wonder what I could be doing better, how I could be more fun for my kids, am I using the right curriculum, is "so and so" getting enough attention, will "so and so" ever be able to do this on their own, am I being too pushy, am I not pushing hard enough, blah, blah, blah, blah!
And then that small voice pushes it's way through all of the "noise" and finally makes itself heard,
Do you ever notice that it is so much easier to remember the negative things that happen instead of the positive things that go on all the time? When I listen to the Lord and become "still", I find it easier to recall more of the positive, and less of the negative. I am able to look for the blessings that God intended for me to see, instead of looking at all the junk that my own mind adds to the mix.
These past five months, whenever I have had a less than spectacular day, and have begun to wonder if this was the right decision, I am telling you amazing things have happened.
The Lord just shows right up.
He makes Himself known in the random phone call from a friend just checking in to see how our day is going. I've seen His hand in a letter from my 4 year old saying that she loves me and hoping that I have a good day. I've met AMAZING homeschooling moms who the Lord has placed in my life at JUST the right moment with JUST the right words for what is going on at the time. He has, on several occasions, surrounded me with moms who seem to be struggling with the same issues. I have been blessed with a husband who listens to me moan and groan at times, and reassures me that I can do it. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a public place, and have struck up a conversation with a stranger who says, "Oh, we homeschool, too!"
I have been inundated with His reassurance and His presence...I just have to remember to SEE it.
I don't want you to think that this has been a horrible experience every day. FAR from it! We have so many more AWESOME, FUN, AMAZING days than not. Like I said, though, sometimes we remember the negative more than the positive.
So here is why homeschooling has been SO worth it:
- Our kids know and love Jesus, and they know that He loves them
- We get to talk and learn about Him every day
- Both Emily and Addison BEG to read a Bible story every night
- Emily LOVES to read (this was not so last year)
- Addison is reading now, too, and doing a fantastic job!
- We have made Egyptian collars and built pyramids
- It is so much fun to see them "get" something for the first time
- Both Emily and Addison can identify 30 different countries around the world on a map with NO words
- We built Mount Vesuvius and the city of Pompeii and DESTROYED it with a baking soda and vinegar volcano!
- We get to learn about forgiveness every day
- We have constructed a Viking longhouse
- We can go to the library WHENEVER we want, and we usually come home with a basket full of books
- We visited Sea World for a special homeschool day
- We have created cave paintings with berries, rocks and twigs
- we are currently growing a tadpole into a frog for a science presentation (hopefully this one survives!)
- we play outside ALOT
- We get to visit a nursing home twice a month and play games with the residents
- we get to play games when we take breaks
- we read LOTS and LOTS of books
- we have been to Houston to visit the zoo, the museum of Natural History, and the Johnson Space Center, and didn't miss a single day of school
- we are usually done with school by 1pm or so, and usually don't start until 9 (and that's with breaks and lunch)
- we get to do spelling, math, and whatever else we feel like lying on our tummies on the floor
- we get to cuddle up on the couch, with a friendly soft puppy dog named Allie (one of our class pets), and read our books
So overall, we have been very pleased with how the year has gone. We still are taking this a year at a time, but even if we decided tomorrow to stop homeschooling, I will always cherish this time that I have had to grow with my kids. Even though I feel constantly busy because of what we are doing, I haven't seen the "busy"-ness, and the tiredness that was associated with elementary school that Emily had last year...and I don't miss it one bit. I like the days that we can take it slow, spread out our work, finish some up in the evening if we need to, not worry about getting to bed RIGHT at 7:30pm to avoid early morning melt-downs.
I thank the Lord for this opportunity, and my prayer is that He continues to bless it!
I am going to leave you with some highlights of our first semester of homeschooling. Beware, there are TONS of pictures, this isn't even all of them, so get ready!