Saturday, August 28, 2010

Honest Thoughts (and Doubts) On Homeschooling and My Shortcomings...

Right about now, I'm feeling very incapable.

Not only am I struggling with morning sickness and fatigue, I'm also struggling to figure out how homeschooling looks for our family.

Just about every other day this week, I've been doubting our decision to homeschool.  I constantly feel like I am seconds away from vomiting, which makes teaching and reading pretty challenging...this means I'm usually either rushing through or skipping over stuff.

The doubts come from fear.  I know those aren't from the Lord...He has made clear to us His desire for us is schooling at home...even though someday that may change.

But I think my biggest struggle right now is just figuring out our homeschooling style...and not having the energy I need to apply some creativity to figure it out!

In a lot of ways, I think the whole whopping year I was an "education major" at my Christian college did me more harm than good.  Even though my college education was Christian-based, there was NO shortage of worldly indoctrination about "why kids learn so well and thrive in a classroom".

I know that's not true...I do~ESPECIALLY with boys. 

Still, I let their indoctrination seep into my thinking and now I can't let go of the guilty feelings that my kids need to be sitting still at a desk, learning from "the books" and having a classroom setting replicated in my home.

But I am NOT homeschooling to create a classroom atmosphere at home!  I am homeschooling so that each of my kids can thrive in their own, unique, God-given learning styles where they are NOT hindered, held back or confined by a classroom.

Trusten and I doing school on the front porch late in the evening...
Talk about "unconventional"! 


 I've been loving reading these two posts lately (and looking forward for the other ones to come)...they really inspire and comfort me...

So why can't I let go of this "picture" I had of a traditional school setting in my home???

Why can't I stop thinking their learning has to be from 9am-noon???

Why am I trying SO hard to fit a mold that simply does NOT fit our family???

I am learning...

I am growing...

I am opening my mind to the Lord's plan for our homeschooling...

I am falling freshly on the homeschool vision that the Lord gave us at the beginning of this year, and crying out for more understanding!

I am trying to let go of my ideas and indoctrination of what "education" should look like...and I am excited to find out what the result looks like for our family!

Proverbs has so much wisdom for me...I think I'll start there!

And then maybe re-read this, and this

And before it's all said and done, I'll just trust His path and find rest in the this Truth...

Isaiah 54:13 
"All your children shall be taught by the Lord,

And great shall be the peace of your children."

18 comments:

Tiffany said...

Thank you for sending me here! I could have written this myself. I so understand how hard it is to change our mindset. Praying that this school year is successful - not by the world's standards or anyone elses, but by God's! You're not in this alone.
~Tiffany

Cheri Bunch said...

I will be praying for you, Grace! I was amazed this summer when Luke and I took our trip together. I would share different things with him and he would listen to the whole story then say, "You shared that with us when we were homeschooling." He remembered so much ... but still he wanted to hear again. I am believing that the Lord will bless you efforts, sweet friend. He will help you! Every day, I believe it is wise to pray, "Lord, what is the most important thing for us to learn today?" He might surprise you ... it might be just one thing! He will help you find that learning opportunity! Many blessings! Cheri

Alice said...

Precious Grace, thank you for your honesty here! I want to encourage you to go easier on yourself, if you can, with your expectations. You are only just in your first year of homeschooling and all the wise advice I had from experienced homeschooling mothers kept telling me that the first year is really hit-and-miss, as you settle in. Amy (at raising arrows) even said recently that in her view it takes THREE years to find your niche!! I am about to begin my 2nd year of homeschooling, and boy has the first year been outside of my expectations or my comfort zone! My expectations led me to label everything as success or failure, and it just isn't that way. If you think down those lines, the burden becomes too great, and you have to let that go.

I was morning sick for 3 months out of our first year of school and just could not seem to manage to do school. In the end we literally gave it up for a season until I felt better. We took probably 2.5 months off with no school at all, except the odd reading lesson on a good day, a couple of phonics games and maybe some arts and crafts if I felt up to it. Otherwise I read aloud to the boys as often as I could, answered questions about the world (Arthur has lots of those) and looked at the atlas with them, as things cropped up. Nothing else. We continued school all this summer because we had some catching up to do, and you know what? We are doing just fine! :) We have not quite finished our K maths curriculum but we will do by the end of September. We will take another 2 month break when I have the baby. The boys seem to be thriving and at such young ages they are NOT losing out by not doing school while I am feeling sick and unable, even for a couple of months in a row.

Everything has its season, and it's okay to have seasons where you can't do school like you want to! You will make it up when you feel better - don't be too hard on yourself! Lean on the Lord and know that He is able to meet every type of need of every person in your household, at all times!

Hugs!!!

Theresa said...

This is only my first year. But I keep hearing people say that they did TOO much. Maybe now is a time when you need to just cut yourself a break. Who says you need to school in September? Maybe for your family it can start later and end later. Maybe you guys need this time to just BE.

If you get a chance, check my post for today. it is "I Will Survive - Homeschool Edition"...very cute and made me feel good :) Would hope it does the same for you!!

Hope you feel better!

I am blessed! said...

The main reason I quit my job to stay home and homeschool my kids is because I want to be with them. If I had a year to live, I would want to spend the most time possible with my children. Keep the big picture in view. My husband went through public school his whole life and says he never learned anything until college (football scholarship) when a kind teacher took an interest in him and tutored him. The second reason we homeschool is for Bible and character training which is lots more important than anything they'll ever learn in books. The third reason we homeschool is for academic reasons. So, again, don't stress over the small stuff. You won't have morning sickness forever. Our spring was pretty worthless for the same reason. Now I'm weeks away from having a baby and my nesting has spilled over into homeschooling. We're being super-industrious right now. Of course, in a matter of weeks we'll all be adjusting to life with a new baby and I'll be adjusting to sleepless nights. Real life is full of these phases and cycles. Deut 6 simply commands that through it all we teach our kids about what matters most. Be encouraged, you will stand before God one day and answer for your actions. Will He care about when your kids finished their Grammar workbooks or will He care about whether you taught them His Word diligently? Don't major in the minors. You're not messing up your kids, you're shaping them into arrows!

Celee

Nicci Lynn said...

Oh my goodness, Grace, I know your pain!!! I had HORRIBLE all day sickness during the first trimester with ALL of my babies. What worked for us was just to quit. All together. We took 6 weeks off (or how ever long it took me to feel better). Homeschooling carries the great advantage that you can actually still be ahead and do 1/2 as much as the "school classroom" because it is one-on-one child-catered tutoring. I can honestly say that I was amazed that the kids came back and seemed to grow even over our "off" period. Your children as soooooo young yet - they won't be harmed if you just quit for a month or two. I will be praying for you and your family. The sickies while trying to take care of your other kids is the pits! Hang in there, Grace!

www.AFarmhouseFull.com

Amy Matthews said...

Grace,

I fear that I will be in your boat soon, well fear isn't quite the word. I would welcome the morning sickness again for sure!

Our family is in the middle of a move, we are packing and working and painting and cleaning and even though we "should have" started our curriculum a few weeks ago we have not even ordered it yet!

By ALL the world's standards we are being irresponsible and we will be "behind". I know myself well enough to know that I would not have been effective at teaching this month or next so we will be waiting until October to begin our K. We will be settled anough by then and we will be able to focus. I am confident that Silas will be fine, he already knows everything they learn in K anyway, or almost everything.

Maybe I will have another hurdle ahead of me in October, who knows? Still I am not fretting it. Though I am eager to begin. I love your honesty and I am excited to have someone to "share" the journey with.

Thanks.

JillAileenJones said...

Grace-know one knows your children like you and this too shall pass-no one can love and teach them like you.
I shaw this on another blog and wanted to share it with you,

25 Reasons For Homeschooling

1) God's grace is sufficient
2) God's mercy endures forever.
3) God gives us everything we need for life and Godliness
4) It is God who works in us...
5) Our children need Godly parents and mentors and teachers
6) Our children need their questions answered from a biblical worldview
7) Our children need and are permitted room to grow and time for creativity
8) Our children need and receive godly socialization.
9) Our children learn to be unselfish and how to serve others
10) Our children retain their innocence
11) Our children will have a lasting legacy of love and commitment
12) Our children will be spared worldly indoctrination.
13) We know where are children are at all times.
14) We know what our children are being taught at all times
15) We know who our childrens friends are and who their parents are.
16) We retain our God given right to educate our own children
17) Our children receive a superior education regardless of curriculum
18) Home schooled children receive one on one attention and specialized training.
19) Homeschool children can see and experience the world around them regularly.
20)Homeschool permits the teaching of important life skills
21) Homeschooling builds strong character and strong relationships
22) Our children will not have to walk in the way of the ungodly
23) Our children will not have to stand in the path of sinners...
24) Our delight will be in the law of the Lord and everything we do will prosper.
25) Our God never gives up and gives us His strength to continue the journey
Praying for you-love ya bunches.

cooperkelly4 said...

Grace, you have already had such wonderful encouragement here..but as I read your post, I just kept thinking of something a wise friend told me (she has 5 kids, all grown and the last one is in college.) She said that the stage I am in ...you are in...all these other Mom's are in is literally the most challenging. (for me it was all 4 under 8 years and 2 in diapers and us just starting a church) It really does take some time to figure out what works for you and your kids. But the thing to remember for now, is God told you to and you can do ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM AS HE STRENGTHENS YOU. Do what you can and don't worry about the rest. I am guessing your kids are a lot further beyond what you realize. Sometimes it is hard to see that when you are so close to the situation. God knows what you can handle. Slow down with Him. =0) Praying for you!

Kara said...

You have had awesome feedback from some awesome women here, with much more experience than myself. So with that said I want to share a scripture with you the Lord has used to help me keep my focus the past few weeks in ALL (wifery, parenting, ministry...) of life...

"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:8-10

Your season is to grow ALL (ya know the little one in your tummy zapping all your energy counts too :) ) of your children in the strength the Lord has provided and what that looks like for YOU and YOUR family is unique and beautiful and pleasing to the Lord! Thank you so much for your transparency!!

Praying for you!

Karen said...

Oh Grace I will be praying for your family! You have gotten some wonderful feedback. Have you ever visited Above Rubies' Ministry. There is great story on homeschooling that made me think of you. Here is the link if you are interested. http://aboverubies.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=100&Itemid=400029&layout=default

Kris said...

We all have our doubts and I am sure being "sick" during pregnancy makes things a ton worse for you! I pray for you to find peace in your choice, and to just let God handle the challenges daily. Things will get easier and remember soon that beutiful baby of yours will be here in your arms and you will no longer be sick...It is hard to homeschool when your tired and things just arent working for you, let go and let God handle it...kids learn from anything you could just let them learn outside and do simple things until you feel better...Audio books are great ways of letting them read without having your right there...I will continue to pray for you and I hope you have a blessed fun filled week of homeschool!

Grace said...

Bravo Momma! You've got it! Home schooling is about so much more than the fears that are holding you back. Christ has huge plans for those darling kiddos of yours, and call me crazy, but I think He will find a way to accomplish His plans even on our weak days!

Love you my friend! I love watching all that the Lord is doing in you and through you!

Jenilee said...

oh I know what you are saying my friend! although I am not in the midst of morning sickness, I can totally relate about the doubt and the fear and the thinking that it has to look like THIS or THIS or THIS. It will look different than anyone else but it will be what God intented. take your time. relax and let God use you where you are to teach your children about Him. You are doing a great job. Let Him take the pressure off your shoulders and know that He is working in you for your kids. Hugs!!!!!

Gwen Toliver said...

Stick with it - you're a great mom. Make a priority of things that have eternal value - not things that we're doing just to be "men-pleasers". We're accountable to our hubbies and ultimately to God - sometimes this involves us setting aside our stubborn mind sets. I work on this every day. :) Gal. 6:9

Lynnette Kraft said...

You know what I think? I think society has placed education WAY TOO HIGH on the important scale. Education is EVERYTHING in America. Way back when... people learned a trade and got really good at it. Today, kids are expected to be knowledgable about EVERYTHING! That's why they give up because they aren't interested in everything.

I say, just can the whole education system way and be a momma to your kids. Teach them practical skills and get them excited about learning. I think the most successful kids are the ones that focus on what God made them to do and be.

I'm sure you're doing a great job Grace.

Love,
Lynnette

Lynnette Kraft said...

You know what I think? I think society has placed education WAY TOO HIGH on the important scale. Education is EVERYTHING in America. Way back when... people learned a trade and got really good at it. Today, kids are expected to be knowledgable about EVERYTHING! That's why they give up because they aren't interested in everything.

I say, just can the whole education system way and be a momma to your kids. Teach them practical skills and get them excited about learning. I think the most successful kids are the ones that focus on what God made them to do and be.

I'm sure you're doing a great job Grace.

Love,
Lynnette

Desiree said...

Thank you Grace and all the others who have commented!!! I have really been struggling with where we are going with our homeschooling this year. You have been an encouragement to me this past year reading your posts on chores and balance. This post and the next one really truly have helped me. I picked up a book last week Homeschooling 101 by Mark and Christine Field. Your post ties into their first chapter (all I have had a chance to read so far) on focus and vision for homeschooling. My husband & I homeschool for many of the reason others have posted here. This gives me the encouragement to keep going and not give up and even realize that what works for others doesn't HAVE to work for me. God leads my home and as long as I let Him lead I am ok. THANK you again. I love reading your blog.

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