Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheers To Another Year

I'm back. That was the quickest trip I have ever taken.  I hate flying and I usually get pretty air sick and this trip was no exception.  It was worth feeling awful for 2 days because we got our house up and running.  Nothing that fun to report except I am going to have a garage and a dishwasher. I think I may die and go to heaven with those two changes alone!!

But in other news I am happy to report  that I WILL CONTINUE TO HOME SCHOOL NEXT YEAR!!   I am sure you all will sleep much better at night knowing this.  Well, maybe I should back up my story a little bit.

A few months ago I was feeling pretty over home schooling.  The spark was gone.  I was simply going through the motions.  I was forcing myself to complete every lesson out of pure duty to the state.  I dreaded EVERYDAY and basically "got through" it.  I may have mentioned it here before once or twice.

I know for a fact I called my cousin Christa several times crying, asking for her permission to send my kids to school.  She would grant me permission and I would hang up and feel better for the rest of the day, until I had to get up and home school the next day.  In addition, I also spent several tear filled play dates with my friend Elizabeth, explaining that while I still loved my children I was not to sure how much I liked them.  I was convinced I would like them much better if I could just see LESS of them.

During this time I was picking up books that I know inspired me in the past, looking for the formula to help me plug back into the vision I had in the beginning.  All I would do is read these familiar books and feel defeated.  I had just lost it.  I no longer had the desire or determination to home school one....more...stinkin'.....second!!!!

I did what praying I could.  Some nights I  would muster up a prayer before passing out at night, "Please Lord give me peace one way or another.  If you want me to home school give me a peaceful rested heart.  If you want me to send them to school (pretty please) please give me a peaceful heart.  And could you hurry because registration starts soon and I would like to know before then. Amen!"
Meanwhile I began looking up the public school in the new area I was hoping Pete and I would live in.  I looked at their school web site and tried to picture my kids there.  The price is definitely right but the overwhelming absence of God is hard for me to imagine. So I then began to look into Catholic Schools in the area.  I was able to picture my kids there much easier.  I know lots of great families who send their kids to both public and private.  That could be me, right?  I can be the cookie making, greet my kids at the door at 3:00 mom.  I could be REALLY good at that, right?  Just think no more Latin lessons, no more reading Bible retellings, no more states and capitals..just...............

Just...........what?????  I really started thinking.  What if this happened?  What if I sent the kids to school.  What if I hired a school to teach my kids their academic lessons? What would I do with myself?  Well I thought, I could.....what???  What could I do?  Nothing was coming to me.  Well, I could take my little kids and do all sorts of fun "little kid" stuff.  But actually if my older kids go to Catholic school I will be FLAT BROKE AND NEEDING TO SAVE EVERY LAST PENNY.  And I kept asking myself.."Why did you start this whole mess Lisa? What made you home school in the first place?" And to be honest I could not remember.  I faintly remember wanting to grow in my faith along side my children but that area felt like a wash.  I knew there were reasons that I had fallen in love with home schooling but none of them were that easy to recall.
Long ago when living in Alaska my friend Angela Griffin told me to write down the reasons I wanted to home school because I will need to read over that list every now and again to remind myself why I am walking down this road.  Well, in typical arrogant "oh that will never be me" fashion I never wrote that list and I have regretted it ever since. 

Most days I would just push aside the feeling of dread and practice the art of "fake it till you make it".  I look back now and realize I did this most of this year.  But finally I had a break through last Saturday night while doing the dishes after a great at home date night with my family.  I was shrubbing dishes and reading a paper on classical education. I propped up my reading material on the shelf above the sink and began reading the philosophy behind the development of forming the brain to collect and retain information. And all of a sudden I remembered EVERYTHING!!!  I remembered why I LOVE doing this.  I remembered I WANT to do this.  I actually CAN do this.  I HAVE been doing this.  It was not a lightning bolt moment, it was more like a eye rubbing, slowly awakening from a long sleep moment.  Little things were coming back to me.  I began to recall the vision I had in the beginning of my home school journey.

I remembered that I believe in the Trivium and Quadrivium.  I believe in the concerns of liberal education.  I remember learning about these things wishing I had that type of education.  I recalled my desire to have a hand in giving a liberal education to my children.  I wanted to form their mind all the while helping to form their spirits.  I fell in love with this idea years ago and at the time I had a plan on how I was going to reach that goal.  I was going to classically educate my kids.   I knew with God's help  I could see this whole plan out. So even when I had Jack, then 12 months later had Lucy, then 18 months later had Priscilla I knew I still had the goal of giving my kids a classical education .  During each day for the last 3 years I felt strong, committed and driven, and then this, commitment, vision..GONE...until last weekend.
I felt PEACE.  I finally was able to get back that motivated, inspired vision I had when I started.  I WANT TO EDUCATE MY KIDS.  It is that simple.  I want to form them.  I want them to learn the principle agent that causes learning is the active thought of his own understanding.  I want to help them get to that point.  And when I say "I" I really mean "me" with the mercy and grace of God. 

Suddenly that list I should have written years ago was swimming around inside my brain.  But along side that list was the faint whisper of doubt....
What about me not being able to do it all every day?  What about me falling short of my own vision?   
No...all learning is cyclical.  We learn first on an introductory level and then we come back later at a deeper level.  I DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!!! 
And then my fire was prayer was answered and now all I have to do is walk in God's grace and put one day in front of me at a time. 
But for me I need a goal.  I need a road map.  I need to know to what end am I working for.  I need to remember the reason I struggle with teaching telling time is because I want my Molly to have a foundation for higher math one day.  I need to remember that each day.

And that's it.  I will home school next year.  I will try to keep my focus so I can home school the year after that and the year after that.  With God's grace I can do that.

And not to say school is horrible or out of the question.  But God made me who I am.  I am a girl who likes to be busy.  I have to be working towards something at all times.  I know God wants me to put that energy into educating my children right now.  I know that because I have Peace in my heart and I am grateful for it.

And as a side note....
Anyone who has e-mailed me with questions regarding home schooling over the last few months and I have not responded, please forgive me.  I had nothing nice to say.  I could not encourage and was barely hanging on. I want to say this...
Home schooling is hard, wonderful, stressful and altogether fascinating and you should all do what my friend Angela told me to do 6 years ago...
Write a list to yourself why you want to home school.  Keep it!  Read it! And help remind me to do the same.


  1. I'm inspired and I don't even home-school

  2. So glad your prayers were answered, and your heart is peaceful!

  3. Wow, it is like you just said EVERYTHING that I have been feeling for the past couple months. We are planning on sending our kids to school next year after homeschooling for 2 years. I just feel completely burned out. Tired of taking 3 (almost 4) kids with me EVERYWHERE. I commend you for continuing on....I don't know if we will.

  4. Wow! Mike has been traveling a lot and so it has been me and the 3 kids.....24/7 and then we all got the stomach bug and 3 of us were puking at the same time....then I got sick again....with some nasty cold/flu thing. AND all the while we are supposed to be schooling!! It has been a challenging couple of months. I have cried and yelled and cried some more. Thank you for sharing your world. It is a tough one we live. In the Primary Language Lesson Book for grade 5, you may have it, not sure but Em had to memorize this passage:
    Thank God every morning when you get up, that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you a hundred virtues which the idle never knew. ~Charles Kingsley

    I LOVE it and it came to us when we needed it most! Good luck with all your stuff, Lisa. You and your family will be just fine.


  5. It's amazing how the journey can feel like a roller coaster sometimes, isn't it? So glad you came to a place of peace... I'm pretty much there too, though we are going to give public school a try next year. You are a great mama! :)

  6. I started a folder with my thoughts on home schooling...we don't yet, but are considering it with our youngest. Great news on the house, by the way!

  7. Your blog is so awesome! Thank´s for sharing all those great ideas. God bless from Germany, Nicole.

  8. I've been feeling so much of what you describe here (and in your previous homeschooling discernment post). Thank you for your honesty and for conveying hope for burnt out mamas everywhere. (And congratulations in that new, little wonder your body is cradling right now!)

    God bless!

  9. Just remember not to put pressure on yourself. "Classical" isn't for every child, especially if you have one or two whom you suspect are sensory learners. Go easy. Mix it up a little. Take nature walks. I've been there, being burnt out. Your relationships with your husband and children are more important than whatever curriculum you are using. Read Dr. Meeker's book, 10 habits of happy moms. And really, if what you are doing with the children's education is taxing your ability to relate to your husband or to them, consider making a change!!! There is no "right" way.