Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trying Again

I found an email I sent to Jeff last July when I was out of town planning for school.  Here’s a snippet.

I really am asking the Lord for this to be our best school year yet- I trust Him. Jessica and I are talking through lots.  We experience much of the same dynamic different as we are. It IS a big job and there IS lots to cover but we know there is a better way to do it than we have done in the past. When we look at the material to cover and then plug it into the week, it's overwhelming wondering how in the world and even more so HOW do we make this fun??? Because our oldest kids are indeed OLDER, the days of being finished by noon are over unless we want to have a 'crack the whip' morning. We have come up with some good plans/strategies as we have read other materials and talked them through. I am mostly encouraged but a little nervous about carrying it all out. Again, as I said at the beginning, I trust God to help. 
Thanks for letting me be here.  I hope you sense it is worth it,  not just for school but for our family as a whole. I do.  Absolutely. 
Ok- have another great day. I am excited about mine.

Honestly, it was hard to read.  Next weekend, I will go to plan for 2011-2012. Today, right now, I am lacking the “zip” I need to plan for 2nd and 4th grade. My head wants to be thankful for summer, but I feel like I have missed a month somewhere.  Does August really come after July??  Apparently so.  This time next week I will be surrounded by curriculums, notebooks, sticky notes, work books, chapter books and hopefully my favorite snacks and several empty coffee cups.  I will plan 9 months of school days and right now, I am needing some drive, some excitement.  Something.

Reading the note I wrote to Jeff made me a little sad.  I hardly felt last year was “our best school year yet”.  Was it and the preceding 4 were even worse?  I totally had “crack the whip” mornings in hopes of a little down time for everyone by mid-afternoon, only to be frustrated in the late afternoon because we were still checking, correcting math sheets or answering the knocks on the door from kids home from their school day.  Before it started, the job felt big and overwhelming and packed.  And the more squeezed I felt, the less fun I felt like having.  Oh sure, there was SOME fun but much more could have been dished out.  For sure.

So, how’s that for encouraging??  Everyone ready to home school their kids now??

Would you roll your eyes if I said, I love it?  I do.....but I want it to be better!  Energizing.  Anticipated.  Stimulating.  Fun.  I will always hope for that, plan for that and every year, for however long I get to do this, try again for that.

I think every Mom, home schooler or not, struggles with how her family’s days are going, how she is responding to hard situations with her kids, how she intercedes in arguments, how she reacts to her children’s behaviors (typical childhood silliness and downright disobedience), how to best protect the family calendar,  and how to be pleasant, encouraging and generous when her husband comes home. For me, those are the biggies.  Those are the ones that sneak into my thoughts at night when the house is quiet.  I can choose condemnation and shame or I can choose forgiveness for the present and hope for the next day.  I like to fall asleep with the latter on my mind.

Being together all day magnifies everyone’s faults and faults magnified are no different than a piece of string under a microscope.  It’s creepy.  And messy.   But here is the opportunity for blessing-- seeing everyone’s mess, working through it and loving each other through it.  We give and receive genuine forgiveness everyday.  That’s good stuff and that’s worth whatever struggle I feel.

I read Oswald Chambers last week and I could relate to his words in a few situations in our lives right now.  We tend to focus on and measure according to the goal, the end result.  Walking with God focuses on the process, the journey, the dailies.  The goal is important but I don’t think near as critical as HOW we got there and all the things that transpired on our way.  That’s what I think was good about our 2010-2011 school year- a few minutes here, a good laugh there, obedience chosen, conversations at breakfast, hurt feelings soothed, arguments settled, books relished. Our dailies weren’t always pretty, but there were great moments-- moments I am counting on to shape not only their lives, but their next day.  MY next day.

I will continue to trust the Lord as I plan once again to educate Julia and Brighton in these rooms-- that He is in the detailed workings of this process, with us in all the rabbit trails this journey takes and speaking to me regularly regarding the dailies of our home.

Just as I did last year, I still have hope that THIS can be the best school year yet.  (That is, if I can get some better pencils.)


Alyssa said...

I love that you have the ability to plan 9 months in a weekend! That's amazing to me. Praying that God inspires you and gives you what you need to teach those precious kiddos!

Summer said...

Costco sells a huge box of the most wonderful yellow pencils! Even bought an electric sharpener their too!

TJ Wilson said...

better pencils... Basden is excited about 2nd gr because she will have a new eraser.
I am with you in hoping for the best school year yet.

Sarah said...

Here's to the best year yet, for the both of us :) I still want you to home school me!

Erica said...

You never cease to amaze me...I was just telling a friend today how much you encourage me in my mothering and home schooling endeavors! I appreciate your honest and vulnerability! I love what you said about home schooling being like looking at a sting through a microscope. We've had some gross moments lately, but I am thankful that we can deal with them now before they become a huge ugly mess!
P.S. The devotion you read for me is going to be published!