Monday, April 13, 2015

rosary words


It is hard for me to even put that title on this post.  I hate not being a homeschooler anymore.  It has taken me 3 years to clarify my feelings on the subject but I now understand the struggle.  I lost my people.  I left my tribe.

When I picked up the book Designing You Own Classical Curriculum 10 years ago, I instantly knew I had found something I did not know I was looking for - a beautiful way to grow in faith and closeness with my children.  It felt so right.  I was sold...and so the journey began.

I started with my oldest; she never went to school.  I moved to Mobile, AL and met the most amazing Catholic moms.  These women made me.  It was a group I loved being part of.  I lived in an area surrounded by Catholic schools, but my place was with these very devout moms who educated their kids at home and made their faith very much apart of what they did.  Kids were young, playful and connected to each other.  So were the moms.  And about this time I started blogging, finding other mamas around the country, and eventually allowing knitting to become part of my life (which I feel plays a part in my story).

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Saying things felt hard is an understatement.   My two oldest children, however, were making me look good because they were easy to teach and did whatever I told them (for the most part).  It was the other little blessings that came along during this journey that made the hard part feel hard.  It was a struggle to love being a mama to my little ones and to be a decent teacher.  It was a challenge I did not do well...and I had it pretty easy with my 2 students.

Our move to Virginia introduced our family to a little town outside of the capitol which can be compared to a "Catholic Disneyland".  It had the most amazing home school group you can imagine.  The priest was very pro-home school and so were the parishioners.  Before moving I felt like I had hit the home school lottery.  How could you not homeschool in this area?

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At this point I will admit to becoming a bit distracted with "other" things in my life.  I can be an all or nothing type person and looking back I know this to be the downfall to home schooling commitment. I was a knitter, crafter, sewer and blogger  - and  that was all I wanted to do.  Granted, I made myself school the children, but my heart and mind were elsewhere.  And during that distracted period my new students, Jack and Lucy, were nothing like the first two!  They were not easy learners...or dare I allow myself to think that my attitude may have contributed to their struggles?

And then one day, while standing in my kitchen and watching the neighborhood kids walking by our house from the bus , Emily says, "Mama, I think I want to go to school this year."  We had just kicked off her 6th year of school at home.  She said what I was thinking.  And I said, "So do I."  Prayer and discussion were not part of my answer..emotion and impatience was.

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"Fine," I said to myself, "let's try it. I can always go back if I don't like it."  By the time Pete came home, the papers were signed and kids were starting that Monday.  What? Like I said, all or nothing!

It has been a wild ride.  The changes that we introduced are constant, complex and vast.  But the most surprising and hardest change for me is trying to answer these simple questions...where do I belong?  Who am I now?  Am I the mom I was very much trying to be if I don't home school my kids?  Can I still have a family that strives for holiness if I don't home school?

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And for the last few years, I was not sure what to think.  I read homeschool blogs, I downloaded homeschool talks.  I can identify with moms who homeschool.  I get it.  I wanted to do it.  But I stopped.  And I no longer belonged.  Yet I want to.  I think the way they think.  I love my faith, I am open to life, I get it that the domestic church is where my kids need to be formed....I just don't want to teach math, science, social studies and English to them.


I now live in an area that does not embrace homeschooling. Let me just say this is NOT CATHOLIC DISNEYLAND.  But I miss belonging the the group.  It's funny being on the outside looking in because I remember when I homeschooled the moms who didn't never knew what to do with me...it was weird to them.  But now I feel the opposite. I feel like the moms who I emotionally and spiritually identify with don't know what to do with me.  Talk about irony!

But here's the thing...I'm still me.  I still love being Catholic more than life itself.  I still am open to life and want more children (just a reminder Lord), I try to teach my kids the faith, I try to live the liturgical year, I still believe in all the things that I did when I was a home schooling mama, I still try and bring my kids to mass as often as I can. I just struggle with different things than I may have if I stayed.

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But there are very few blogs that have homeschool hearts with public school kids.  But I am finding out that I can still be VERY catholic without homeschooling...I admit to feeling like I turned in my Catholic card.  I didn't!!  I couldn't!!


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I pray that God will give me the desire to homeschool again.  But until then I am still on fire for all things Catholic and being a good mom and wife who leads my kids to kno , love and serve God right where He has them.

13 comments:

  1. I'm still looking for my voice--having taught in the public school system, my kids have all gone through them as well. I decided to homeschool my youngest for TK but we have enrolled her in kindergarten at our public school in the fall. There is no right thing for everyone and it's so hard to find your own voice when the loud voices of others can be drowning yours out BUT God has a way of meeting you right where you are. I was asked to lead our MOMS group at church, and I'm one of the few people whose kids do not attend the Catholic School. . .it has stretched me and grown me personally but for us public school is the right place for now: for our kids. Since you have been in the company of so many Catholic mamas, are there any books you can recommend? We need to pick a new book to begin in the fall. Thanks in advance!

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  2. This is beautiful! Please say you're familiar with Simcha Fisher and her blog?

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  3. That is awesome that you are running the MOMS group at your church. I am trying to start a moms ministry at my little church here. I think I do better when I am focused on bringing my faith to others. It gives me focus. I was going to do a book study too. I asked a friend to give me her thoughts. She suggested the book and DVD series from Danielle Bean called Momnipotent from Ascension Press. Last year I did the quick Timeline Adventure Bible series from Jeff Cavins. It was short enough for moms to commit to without feeling overwhelmed. These have DVD's to go along with them. But if you want a book then I LOVED My Sisters The Saints. Plenty of discussion and a beautiful book. Thanks for asking and hopefully more people will add their thoughts.
    Lisa

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    2. These ideas just got me looking into Ministry of Moms Sharing (MOMS) for resources too. Thank you SO much for getting the ideas flowing!!!

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  4. Michele,
    I read her awhile ago when I was homeschooling..I will definitely read it again. I read her book last year and enjoyed it.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Lisa

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  5. I feel your pain a bit. After years of Catholic school, I pulled one of my three children out to homeschool due to a health issue he was having. 2 months in I realized I was a really bad teacher. I just wanted to hang out and go on field trips and teach life skills. I could not understand how he could not identify a dangling participle and my eyes completely glazed over during algebra. I wished I could just hand him a few books and tell him to get back to me when he was done. Homeschool fail!

    Next year, we will have one kid in a charter school, one in a traditional public school, and one in Catholic school. I wonder what my voice will be like then?

    Have you read Walking With Purpose? A nearby parish did a study of that book for women, and I heard it was very successful and highly impactful. A friend who went gave me the book and I enjoyed it.

    I

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    1. Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. I kept my Lucy home last year to try and have a small hand in homeschooling and just never felt like doing it..like never. And then I realized pride was not going to teach them. I will look into that book for sure.

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  6. I am a homeschooling mom : ) My youngest daughter will graduate this year and I have loved homeschooling her and her older sister. I can't believe in just a few short weeks...I will no longer be a home school mom. It will feel strange not having anyone to teach next year.. I will miss it!! I am not sure if I did everything right as a home school mom I was a very relax teacher. We have done all the work required by our state along with many long talks about everything thing that could be talked about.

    Now on a completely different subject...neither of my daughters have decided to go to college. That completely shocks people. I know that we are a square peg in a round hole when it comes to homeschooling...but telling people they don't have any desire to go to college really throws them for a loop : )

    So what will I do next year? Still praying about that..but I am so excited to see where God places me. I know He will help me with the no more home school blues : ) Maybe a home based business is in order?

    Hugs to you!! I really like your blog : ) I miss your knitting!!!

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    1. I miss knitting too. I just don't seem to get to it as much. But I have a post coming soon. Thanks!
      Lisa

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  7. Lisa, I wish I could give you a big hug! I get the feeling. A few years ago, I put my two oldest in at St. John's for the year, and I felt like I was no longer part of the group. My life was different, but my heart was still there. I think that played a lot into the fact that I didn't fit in with the school moms, either. I had no people.

    We moved last year (not far, but the next county over) and we have a really good, small town public school down the street. I am So. Tempted. But no decisions have been made. Its possible that you really needed this break? I'm coming to understand more and more lately that as the mom, I'm not just running parts of this family, or have important roles to fill. I AM a part of the family. I need to do some things for myself that might not have any direct impact on anyone else, apart from the kind of mom it makes me. So often we're told to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our families. Sometimes, we just need to take care of ourselves. Period.

    And of course, you can still be a great Catholic mom without homeschooling! Your children are some of the nicest kids I've met, and that isn't because of where they learn math. Its because of how they're raised. :)

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    1. Oh Anne!!
      Thank you so much for that...

      The thing is I REALLY like all the public schools we have gone to (2 so far). The teachers have been great. Nothing is perfect, as we know. There were kids in the homeschool group who did not jive with my kids...there were families that I never jived with because I was not Catholic enough...and that reality is very much part of school still.
      My older girls love school..they were homeschooled the longest...
      The little kids BEG to be homeschooled all the time...that is why I continue to pray about doing it. My heart wants to but my mind and will are not there yet. But it is hard to separate from the people that you most identify with...unfortunately they don't live in your house...or get to raise your kids. Congrats on your new (ish) baby....
      Miss VA very badly...even the public school .
      Lisa

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  8. Miss you Lisa and our time in Mobile. Your blog post are my sentiments exactly. Kids are HUGE! If you are ever in Indy....

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