Sunday, May 20, 2012

Homeschool

I realized that I never really posted a summary about our first year of homeschooling.

Since October (when I got pregnant), it has been a very physically taxing time for me.  I was really sick for about 19 weeks, then I got really big really fast...so I was uncomfortable early on in my pregnancy (and it hasn't gotten easier).  Added to that, pregnancy hormones do not agree with me.  I am just impatient and grouchy.  For four pregnancies, I have prayed about this, and it doesn't seem to change.  I do a lot of apologizing along the way.  I also have three children (six and under) who love life and live big: my house is constantly a mess, they are always thirsty or hungry, and they all love attention.  I adore them to my core, but I get tired!

In this context, our year went really well.  But it was much different than what I anticipated.  Before getting pregnant, school was awesome!!  We did fun things, and we stayed on track really well.  I loved teaching; Caleb loved learning.  When pregnancy sickness set in, I did what I could.  Fortunately, Kindergarten does not require a lot.  We got through the important stuff Caleb needed to learn for Kindergarten, but it was very basic and not tons of fun things to do.

When I look back over the year, I wish it would have been more fun.  But, when I consider the circumstances, I am thankful we made it through!  God is so faithful and taught me a lot in it.  I have noticed (in one year) that homeschool moms tend to be an overachieving group of people.  On the one hand, it is great that they (we) are all so passionate about giving our kids a unique education experience that is Christ-centered and family-oriented.  But I also see a lot of competition, comparison, insecurity, and pressure.  Not performing to my expectations was very good for me.  Though I still have much to learn, it was good to fail in my first year.  I had to let go of false expectations and do what worked best for my family.  It was sometimes embarrassing when Caleb did not know answers to questions at his school, but in the end, I am thankful because it taught me early on to value what mattered (my relationship with my kids, the baby growing in me, and doing what is best for my family without comparing to others).  It is not that I've mastered this, by any means, but I do have a much better perspective on the situation than if I would have breezed through without sickness and physically hard times.

I can say that because we did do everything required (and then some), even though I would have liked it to be a lot more fun!

But, truthfully, that is the story of the past 8+ months.  I have been more surviving than thriving.  I am not who I want to be, but I take heart that I will be that person again in a short time!  The shortness of pregnancy and it's frustrations is soooooo worth the amazing baby boy that will come at the end!

In conclusion, this year was great in some ways and not great in many ways.  I am glad to get one year under my belt, but I also look joyfully into the future, knowing how much of a better person I am when I am not pregnant.  Next year, I know it will be much better than this year.  Having a new baby will throw a new kink into life, but at least I will be able to function easier :).

To focus on Caleb, specifically, it was really fun being his teacher.  I enjoyed seeing him learn and grasp concepts.  Though he does not love school, he did great!  And learning comes fairly easy to him.  He made my first year an enjoyable time, and I know he will thrive next year when I can invest more of myself into his education.

I love how God calls us to things that stretch us in ways we never dreamed possible.  I did not do a lot of things well this year, but God grew me so much.  And He taught me unforgettable lessons.  I am not sure how long I will homeschool my kids, but so far, even with the ugly moments, I know it is exactly what God has called me to do and I hope to do it for years to come!!

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