Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homeschooling Thoughts: Year One

So many times I've wanted to sit down and document our first year of homeschooling. I wanted to document my fears, my expectations, my excitement, my goals, etc. After all, I do feel I have a passion for this journey and I want to be able to look back on this process in 10 years and remember. Maybe I'll remember so I can cry tears of "oh my baby is growing up too fast" or maybe I'll remember so I can empathize with that new homeschooling mom who is alone and scared out of her wits in that first daunting Kindergarten year. But I've stopped short of writing about it several times simply because what hovered over all these emotions was fear of judgement. Or maybe fear and judgement.

Some may assume we don't agree with public/private schools. They would be wrong. We homeschool at this very moment because this is what God placed on our hearts, for our family for right now. It's not what we set out thinking we would do years ago. But it's where God called us, and we feel we must be obedient to what he's called us to do. So we homeschool. And we know God may not be calling you to walk the same path. For all we know, he may not always want us to walk this path! So, for now, we obey. We buy math books and literature books and handwriting books and try to craft something with glue sticks and work in a messy science experiment when the stars are aligned and the baby's asleep.

So I have God's applause. That should be enough. 


Isn't that what good Christians should think?

If I'm being honest, in some moments, it doesn't feel like enough. I crave someone else's applause and approval. I guess that's part of being a "people pleaser" at heart. I need the "atta girls" of encouragement. 

I wonder if I'm failing miserably. Am I meeting all the right milestones? Am I harming my 5 year old vibrant boy by teaching him at home? Am I screwing him up for life?! Is there a handbook for this whole thing?! Let's be honest: homeschooling doesn't make you the coolest mom on the block by the world's standards. And in some ways, I wonder if it will sentence my kids to a life of dorkdom. It puts us under some labels and assumptions. He'll be undersocialized. He'll be damaged for life. A horrible test taker. A slacker who wears pajamas everywhere.


So here we are in February of Drew's kindergarten year. He's learning to read and doing so well. His handwriting is incredibly sloppy, but he's come a LONG way since September. His math skills blow me away. He and his sister are so much closer. They play together non-stop. Today they've been outside for 4+ hours playing in the mud, pretending in the clubhouse, building sand castles, and using their imaginations like a kid who doesn't own a TV. (Which we do. And we use it. A good bit.) And to be honest again, we don't "do school" every day. And he's excelling. It's working for us.

His character has blown me away these last few months. Sure, he has his 5 year old moments. He's an immature kid, so they're to be expected. But, my--what growth I've seen in the last few months. I've been praying over him that he would be gentle and kind and would have a heart of giving. So I'm not sure why I've been surprised lately when I've seen these gifts blossoming hugely. My heart swells with pride for him and the young man he's growing to become.

And it's when I sit alone and go over thoughts like these that I remember that following God's call for our life and not comparing it to the rest of the world's standards is what matters to me. It is why I do what I do. Because I am not here for me. I am here for Him, to glorify and serve Him. And I'm going to be praying that His applause drowns out the need for the applause from anyone else. 

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