(This post is filled with imperfect pictures. Children with smudged or less than angelic faces, grass that should have been mown a week ago or has died altogether, messy homes, and bad hair days. Because this is really the stuff of everyday life and this is not a post about perfection…)
The other day, I was informed by another mother that homeschooling was not an option for her family. She said she had tried it and because of the resulting strained relationships with her children, she never wanted to be forced into homeschooling again.
Homeschooling is hard. Period. I get that. I live that.
The best part about homeschooling is, you get to spend so much time with your children. The bad part of homeschooling is, you get to spend so much time with your children.
It’s not the homeschooling that is hard, it is the living.
The daily grind of parenting a brood magnifies a thousand fold every weakness we and our children possess. Living every hour of the day with our beautiful, messy, talented, and flawed children, we can’t help but come face to face with what we (and they) are lacking.
Living in close quarters with our children allows us to peek into the very depths of our soul, and sometimes the view isn’t as pretty as we previously envisioned.
Homeschoolers just happen to be some of the only people who live every blessed hour of every blessed day with all their blessed children. So when we hit a bump in our road, homeschooling often becomes the fall guy.
As a parent who lives every hour of the day with their children, we homeschoolers live all the consequences of every mistake we make:
- You realize you haven’t been as consistent with discipline as needed and squabbles, temper tantrums, and disrespect are a daily (if not hourly) occurrence.
- You’ve let a sharpness reign in your voice, and now you hear it mimicked back as one of your children speaks to his sibling.
- You failed to teach your child to clean up after themselves, and now you are faced with a room where you can’t even see the floor and the culprit is no where in sight.
- You didn’t pray and discuss your curriculum choices with your husband and now, mid-year, you are second guessing the curriculum that looked perfect and shiny in June.
- You were lazy and didn’t get up on time, and now everything is running behind schedule and you can feel the tension slowly rising.
I’ve lived all of this and a thousand more troubles besides. Some days, don’t you just want to throw your hands up in the air and call it quits? But isn’t that just what the enemy wants?
Oh, yes, we have an enemy, whether we believe it or not.
Homeschooling is changing the world for the better. That is not an exaggeration.
It is 100% truth.
Religious vocations are springing up from Catholic homeschooling roots. Adult homeschool graduates are holding the truths of the faith amidst mounting distaste and outright animosity for anything that reeks of religion. Whole families are offering up their prayers for the world by attending daily Mass or saying a daily family Rosary. How can the world not change for the better?
And how can the devil not sit up and take notice? The devil wants to stop homeschooling and all its fruits. And he tries to stop it one family at a time.
Are we allowing the hissing of the Father of Lies to steal our joy in the journey? Is he causing us to veer off course from the path God has set for us? Is he telling us it is better for our families to send them off to school when we know that homeschooling is the path God has set for us? That we just aren’t cut out for this gig?
Don’t get me wrong. Homeschooling is not for everyone and it should never be entered into lightly. For some, public or private school really is the better option.
I see myself as a lifelong homeschooler – I’m that devoted to the movement, but when medical issues struck our family, Husband and I had to have a serious discussion about what was the best educational choice for our family. There is a reason I tell others we pray about it year to year. Only God knows what the future will bring. We are foolish if we think we know what tomorrow holds.
I know many private and public school parents who are very close to their children, but it isn’t because the children are in school. Those good relationships exist because they were there to begin with. Public or private school didn’t magically make the relationships work.
So I’m not saying you are a bad parent if you send your children away from home for their schooling. If you are reading that, you are reading this wrong! I am saying we parents should never decide to send our child away from home because we think homeschooling strains our relationship.
We need to fix the relationship.
Face the ugly and ask God to enter in.
We need to open our heart to God and beg him to repair the mess that is us.
Every morning we need to get on our knees begging the Lord for the help of His Holy Spirit in accomplishing the work He has set before us.
Every evening we need to cry out to the Lord ‘Remake me, Jesus, and grant me the grace to do better tomorrow.’
We need to allow ourselves some grace when, filled with the best of intentions, we mess up (again) the next day…and the next….and the next….
Which we will.
Let’s pick ourselves up again, beg God’s forgiveness, and try again. Continually.
Are we a slave to the sin in our life? Or are we allowing the life we lead to slowly wash us clean?
Untangling all the mess of sin is our real work here on earth. Let us take it up with both hands! Let us take it up as a family, working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
And THAT is what homeschooling is all about.
I thank God everyday that I’m not called to perfection, but rather, faithfulness.
Mixing our little bit of faithfulness and His almighty power, amazing things can happen. We can be released from sins that have bound us for years.
Our hearts can open to our children and our children’s hearts can open to Him.
We can accomplish all things through Christ who strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13)
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