I often am asked... " how the heck do you homeschool with so many kids?" And I hear... " I could never homeschool, I just don't have the patience for it..."
Thanks exactly what came across my mind when I first heard the call to homeschool. In early 2008 as my kids were happily attending public school, I felt God leading me towards schooling them at home. I fought and fought and in the end, I'll give you two guesses who won?!
I don't fit the Homeschooling mold. I hate denim skirts, have acrylic nails and love me some make-up.
I also didn't have a stitch of patience.
I mean... when was I going to get my time?
For the love of sweet corn, I needed
But like water on a rock, God gently kept at me. Slow and steady won this race and when He kept on asking me if I could fulfill Deut 6: 6-9...
My honest answer had to be No.
For me, if they continued to attend public school absolutely not. Fifth grade brought tons of homework and with an early rise, it was early to bed. Not to mention splitting myself 5 ways ( I only had 5 kids at the time) for the 3 hours they were home and awake was impossible..
Every Day as I gave God VERY GOOD reasons why homeschooling my own children would be an epic fail...
He kept nicely showing me this verse. I tripped over this verse, ate this verse, dreamt about this verse...
I couldn't get away from this darn verse!!!
And I didn't have one stitch of peace in my life till I waved my white flag and told God YES! I WILL homeschool... and prove how WRONG he was for asking me in the first place...
5 years have passed and I never ever have regretted my decision. I mean, I have plenty of days where I just KNOW God must be up in heaven laughing at me... But in the end, when I am beaten down without tears left to cry, he pours Grace right into me and I'm ready to go.
He never promised it would be easy but the rewards would be endless. Since my decision, I had 2 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages and added 2 babies to our family... Challenging any type of schedule I ever tried to have.
But most of the days, we accomplish what needs to be done and call it a day.
Over the years, through some tough trial and error... I have become a little... and I stress little more seasoned... I have a 10th grader, 8th grader, 3rd grader, 1st grader, Kindergartener and a toddler... and for kicks... the baby! A very cute and noisy 7 month old....So for anyone out there that thinks they might be interested, wonders how I do it, wonder how YOU can ever do it or have done it...
This is for you!
1) School when is best for YOU... for us, that is mornings. I know that if the work is not done by lunchtime ( with the exception of reading) it just will not get done.
2) Plan plan plan. I will never ever win any type of organization award nor can I ever preach on the subject, but I DO know, when I take time to review the next days lessons the night before... The next day goes MUCH sooner. The key is, actually doing it... ( gulp)
3) Keep toddlers busy. My 2 year old KNOWS when I am craving silence to school and THAT'S when she screams the loudest. It must be some built in survival thing, but it gets me nuts QUICK... but thankfully, I have an ipad and usually with one swish of the finger, she can be tracing letters, singing and learning without even knowing it ( and being quiet too!!!)
4) Have the older kids help!! I am blessed enough to have teenage girls to help me out when the baby won't stop crying and i just HAVE to explain multiplication for the THIRD time to my daughter... since both teenage girls work independently at an online school, they take turns... whichever one is free at the time goes on baby duty and they switch with each other when necessary... its never really long. Just enough to get thru a lesson or two or finish explaining a new concept.
**But before you get too jealous of my current situation... remember, it took me a LONG time to get to this point and there was a time that I had 5 kids 9 and under.... so being able to breathe a bit is very well earned..**
5) If tears appear (and they will) just stop! Close the book, walk away and revisit at a later time. Someone or both of you are losing their patience and getting frustrated and a break is needed. Learning a new concept while damaging a relationship is just.not.worth.it. The world won't end. Take a recess, go out and play and continue on with the school day. Revisit THAT area tomorrow.
6) Last but never ever least... Never compare your behind the scenes to someones highlight reel...
We all have bad days, unfinished days, frustrated days and days they just KNOW they are not cut out for this... its NORMAL! Anyone who says its not either never honeschooled or is flat out lying.. I can't begin to tell you the times I have just cried to my husband about what a failure I was, only to have him gently remind me of MY mission statement for my kids... and then after falling asleep
If I wasn't homeschooling my children, I would be working... I would be challenged at something I don't normally do... so whats the difference?? Why would I pour myself into something... a career, promotion, raise, transfer... when I can do the same with my kids??? With a MUCH better eternal outcome. I see no better use of my time then to dedicate my life to future members of society.
So for all you moms out there that are feeling the call to homeschool but don't think you qualify??
You don't qualify...
None of us do. But God never calls the qualified... He qualifies the called.... and its through His grace and love do we ultimately see the light at the end of the tunnel...
Oh and P.s. I get plenty of my time... but since the relationship with my kids have grown so close, I often drag a few of them with me when its time to get my time.