As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I work four days a week, and have decided (with the support of the school) to make my Fridays off a homeschool day for my oldest son, who is in grade one.  We hope to start homeschooling full time in January, and I thought this would be the best way to ease both of us into it, and get a preliminary glimpse into what life for a homeschooling Mom is like.

Homeschooling is a call that was placed on my heart the summer before my son started Kindergarden, when I was reading a book called "Parenting With Grace", in which the author makes an incredible case for homeschooling by speaking of parents as the first and best teachers of our children, and presenting the various benefits, such as shorter school days and more family time.  What really convicted me was seeing my son struggle throughout his entire first year of Kindergarden with difficulties sitting still in class.  Now I don't know if most boys are like this, but mine all have ants in their pants.  And Joseph, not unlike most firstborns, is incredibly bright, and was at the top of his class academically (consequently he was left with his mind wandering much of the time, which often led him to start causing trouble).  My heart broke to think of him being expected to sit in his chair from 9-12 and 1-3 five days a week, and I wondered if we were just setting him up to fail.  With one year of school under our belts, we began to research homechooling more seriously, and my husband and I both fell in love with the idea.  We talked to homeschooling parents, children who had been homeschooled (and entered the public school system in high school), and even teachers in the public school system, all of whom affirmed the benefits of homeschooling.  And with our son's personality, we both really feel this is the best we can do for him.

The scariest question in all of this for me is can I really do this?  We're expecting a baby at the end of November (which is the reason we are waiting until January to make the move to homeschooling full time), and with three other children ranging in age from 18 months to 4 1/2 running around, the idea is daunting to say the least.  So Fridays have been like a test run for me, and so far I have two under my belt.  Here's what I've noticed so far, that I find particularly interesting.  On the days that I plan to homeschool, I plan to start my school day at 9:00 am.  I can get a lot accomplished before 9:00 in the morning, I just never had to do it before so I didn't.  I am hoping (and so far have been able to) accomplish the schooling I need for my grade one-er by about 10:30 or 11:00, and then the rest of the day just runs as it usually would.  Last Friday I did not sit down, except to eat lunch.  And when the end of the day, I felt more gratified than I have in a long time.

I used to think I was busy, even when I only had one or two little ones.  But what I'm learning is that you are always busy, but that's never a reason to hold you back.  Because busyness just challenges you to do things you never thought you could do before.  I rarely took my kids out when I only had two, because I thought it was too much work.  But now with four children I take them tons of places by themselves, because I realize that things are always going to be hard, and I'd never do anything if I didn't do the things that were too difficult. And always, the more it takes to get something done, the more rewarding it is in the end.

Here's the other thing that struck me - that I find the fullness of my call as a wife and mother (and therefore the fullness of my joy), in serving others.  And when more of my day is taken up doing that, more joy results.  That's why I feel much more fulfilled after a day where I've been steadily busy tending to the needs of my household, then one where I've focused more on myself.  This may sound a bit radical (doesn't a mom deserve time to herself in the run of a day?) but think of it this way - when I'm at work, I feel most satisfied when I've worked really hard and accomplished something good for my employer.  I get a lunch break, and a short break in the morning and afternoon, but I do not spend my time thinking of myself and what I can do for me.  I am focused on doing a good job.  Now true, motherhood is different in that you don't knock off at 4:30 and leave your work behind until the next morning.  However the highest and best jobs, the CEOs, presidents and executives, don't either.  The more prestigious the job, the more demanding of your time it is.  But always you find yourself most rewarded when you are focused on doing a good job for others, and putting your own desires second.

Seen in that light, I think I could benefit from seeing motherhood as a real job, with a real schedule, and real things to accomplish.  And I think that homeschooling will challenge me to rise to a level I have never before in my family, and that it will hold great rewards in the process.  The more I let go of myself, the more I see how much more I can do for my children.  I really feel like they are only going to be mine for a very little while.  I am not raising them to cling to me, I am raising them to be their own persons, and eventually they will have their own lives.  But I do have them now, and I want to give them the best of myself for the time they are with me.  And I know that putting them first will also reap huge rewards for me.  Because my truest joy comes not in looking inward to my own wants and desires, but looking to others - especially my husband and children.

No comments :

Post a Comment