Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why I love to torture myself!

Though we have been a home school family for four years there still are many days when I sit in our classroom amongst the whiny children, the sloppy papers, the broken pencils, and the overwhelming responsibility of educating our 4 children and wonder, why? I ask myself, at least once a week lately, why I do not just send my children off to the local public elementary school each morning with their backpacks and a friendly wave. If I did that, I could have my days all to myself. I could sit down to my computer after they left, blog away, and enjoy the silence of a morning without children. I could entrust their educational needs to a paid professional with a college degree and a state certification proving qualification and competency.
It sounds so tempting. I really could avoid the battles over math lessons and missed spelling words. I wouldn't have to grade worksheets while eating lunch. My life would never be reduced to searching, in vain, for a pencil with an eraser-- every ten minutes. I would no longer worry that I am not doing enough and that somehow some essential piece of information will slip through the cracks and not get covered, causing my children a loss of opportunities later in life.
Home schooling is not always easy. It is like every other aspect of parenting really. Some days are great and I feel full of confidence. Some days I am a fabulous teacher and mother and the kids are wonderful, obedient students. Other days feel like a disaster. I am impatient and crabby. The kids just don't feel like working. The lessons are boring or tedious, the phone is ringing off the hook, etc.... But, like parenting, if I home schooled for completely selfish reasons I would never have survived the first week.
My life, my vocation is not about pleasing myself. It is about pleasing God. As a wife and mother, it is my duty and my calling to do what is best for my family. Without a doubt, even on our rough days, home schooling is right for our family. Despite the challenges, it has been a blessing in so many ways. I am closer to my children now than I was before. They are closer to each other. We have so many discussions about our faith, our family, our country, and our world that we would never have if I did not home school. I am able to talk to my children about anything and, even more importantly, they are able to talk to me about anything and everything. I learn along with them, and from them, each and every day- even the bad ones.
Recently a wonderful friend of mine, another home school mom, took my children for the day to give me the day of quiet I had been dreaming about for years. As she spent the day with her own 6 children and my 4 on top of that, I was able to indulge in a little shopping all alone, lunch with my husband, and an uninterrupted half hour nap on the couch. It was a blissful day for me. What stands out the most, though, was the atmosphere of her house when I dropped the kids off in the morning. When we walked in, it was obviously an ordinary day in the life of a big home school family. Some of her children were already at work at the dining room table. Her toddler was walking around in his p.j.'s. The oldest was helping out with their baby. I was filled with such a sense of family togetherness and cooperation. It reminded me to truly appreciate all of the blessings of our own ordinary home school days. It helped me to remember that all the challenges are worth it. I needed that little lesson in perspective as much as I needed the day to myself. Now, I am actually filled with gratitude that I have the opportunity and freedom to spend my days with such terrific people as my own children.

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