NO! I KNOW
we've all been there!
Every single homeschooling family has had times of illness, stress and just plain troubles come along the way. Some have had more than their share of this kind of experience, but for every family a BAD day happens every once in a while.
For our family, it really has been hectic these past few years. It was our second year of homeschooling when my husband took the first of two ministries that took our family across state lines to move...add into the mix that I began having health issues as well as the special needs that we navigate...did I mention home renovations (X#3), a house fire, and a F5 tornado? I think these definitely count as stress or crisis. We've undergone job downsizing, changes and all sorts of stuff...and we are in year 10...so for the past 9 years we've really HAD IT with all the mayhem! I'm ready to relax and take life calmer and gentler~no more house remodeling..but wait! We have to finish WHAT we're doing here to this delapidated foreclosed property we have been rehab-ing! LOL
Over ten years ago, my hub and I made a commitment to homeschool our precious two with the belief that God had given us our children, and it was/is His will for us to educate them. We believe(d) that their educations were not only our responsibility, but important enough for us to make them atop priority in our own lives and that giving them a quality education with Christian values was essential to that calling from God. At the time we decided to homeschool we had lived in our home we had bought eight years previously and hub's job job/ministry was in my hometown. Little did we know that BIG changes were on their way...and HOW they might effect our lives...
You see, a cross country move that took us three states away was really the beginning of the challenges that we would face as homeschoolers. Challenges included great big things, like the moves, the F5 tornado, the housefire and well...my health...but surrounding these were days and weeks and months of other challenges that made up the good and bad days along the way that brought us right back to the commitment of our decision. I don't think there's been a year in all of these eight that I've not wondered IF we were STILL moving in the right path! It has been my practice to pray and hear anew the voice of God and His will...keep on keeping on each and every time I needed reassurance! How wonderful it's been to have this reassurance too when often I think how much "easier" it might be to get kids up for the traditional public schooling...ahhh...give me a break~but from what? I am pleased to report that thus far, I've gained full permission to keep up our home education path, this helps seal our continual commitment each time.
While commitment is HUGE, being somewhat flexible is key. Imagine changing total environments. We've been members of four homeschooling groups, lived in five homes AND even had a time when we didn't co-op with other families at all...but through it all, we have tightened our bonds of love and trust for each other...we have learned that divided we fall and TOGETHER WE STAND against most anything...some of those homeschool groups were clickish and others have been quite loving overall...but in all but one, friendships have been formed that have lasted...and for that ONE~ya gotta LOVE that God allows such adventures no matter how painful, because it's ultimately HIS plan and purpose that matters! This attitude of flexibility has abounded when we hauled books and worksheets to doctor offices, other appointments and more! But as much as commitment and flexibility have been important for us, love has really been our guide...
Love has been shown in our homeschool by kids who worked when they'd rather have done other things and continued to submit themselves to their parents. Love was also shown by parents to our children when we continued beyond our own frustrations and problems to give to them all we had to give~often buying needed items verses other items for our lives...Love in our home has made our homeschool a priority. Our homeschool has come first so many times..."Are they done with school?" hub will ask when he needs help in the remodel OR "what is the schedule this week?" I ask regarding homeschooling commitments like our drama co-op meetings/rehersals. We DRIVE almost an hour for this group~the gas alone and time...but for MORE than one reason it's worth it to us. Our children are gaining so much valuable experience both academically and in life's skills...Love has guided us to sit in parking lots waiting...Love has urged me to FIND new ways of presenting materials...to find NEW materials...to continue with 'old tried and true' things..to look into my kid's eyes to SEE the young adults they are becoming and KNOW them~their heart and their desires..for their lives...Love...it's so much more than a mushy feeling, and in homeschooling it tempers so much and creates the cadence where commitment and flexibility would be cold without it.
Since we believe that learning occurs while more than just when cracking a book, this commitment, flexibility and love are essential to the everyday learning that we could NEVER replicate if our children were away in public school for those seven hours a day. Our children KNOW us as we KNOW them, and this knowledge while humbling is a closeness that is unparalleled. The intimacy when we are together so much~in these challenging times and joyous times~all the good and all the bad~together, forever...and one for all and all for one! A comfort level exists where there is trust and confidence in each other. I believe in my children...I pray that they believe in me. Togetherness is the vehicle for the love that rides on the commitment and flexibility.
What does all this look like? We have a starting time each day, and we doggedly move through our prescribed material each day...until we are done. We plan and prod. We execute and evaluate. We move onward and upward. But it's ultimately that we KEEP going..not quitting and in the end...IN the end of our homeschooling career, the role of Mama and Daddy will have changed as well as the roles of Son and Daughter to those of continued family bonds but no longer with educational pursuits at the forefront, but rather those of co-equals, of friends~parents and children in a loving and committed relationship to bring on the future of our family.
We school as much or as little as it takes to accomplish the legal requirements and our goals...and so far it's almost everyday. . .part of being flexible is saying that no day is particularly sacred from the toil of school. We will even school on Sunday to keep our studies where they need to be. Our our breaks are generally NEVER when the public school takes them...we live our own routines guided by our own needs as a family. For example, drama group is a hour away and takes one meeting min a week and ends up by the last two weeks EVERYDAY...so we allow for this all along by schooling all the holidays and then additional days on the weekends taking those two weeks as our holidays. When they were not in high school, this might not have been as important as we had less rigorous studies, but since we are working for hs credits and SAT preparation, it's essential. We work hard~HARD...but again the love, intimacy, commitment and determination is what holds us together so we keep on schedule and follow our routine~even when we are ill or have other circumstances befall us...
In the end, I think we just made the commitment and then DO IT...life will never be perfect, and the kiddos seeing us navigate stuff only teaches them that they can do it and it must be done. One of the greatest ways of teaching resourcefulness is actually modeling resourcefulness! We know this in other areas, that teaching by example is a strong compelling way, but do we know how important it is that we SHOW them this life skill? Where else will they learn it if not in us, by us and through us? And what a wonderful benefit of homeschooling...to teach resourcefulness as a result of love, intimacy, commitment, and determination no matter the day~good or bad...but all the time!.
Go ck out what the rest of the Crew is saying HERE!