It has been quite some time since I have added anything to my blog. I’ve missed writing. Thousands of thoughts are running through my mind, begging to be shared! But my family always comes first and I have been working hard to make sure our school year is off to the right start.
For many of our homeschooling years I have not kept the schooling part in the forefront. I have allowed many things to interfere. I have put off planning and preparing properly because of the busyness of life, only to find complete frustration when our school day arrives and we need to “wing- it” once again. I have found myself caught in the trap of busyness. I have filled our calendar with all kinds of things. I have said yes to things even if it meant putting my children’s education (or my sanity) on the back burner. I recall color coding my calendar for each child and their many activities and events. A colorful calendar it was! I believe this “busy trap” is one that we women tend to fall into. Goodness, our society has become a 24/7 world where no one seems to know the meaning of rest anymore. My mom, who was born in 1929, used to tell us that when she was growing up she and her family would prepare their pasta (an all day event) on Saturday, so they didn’t have much work to do on Sunday. They were also not allowed to sew on Sundays. Sewing wasn’t done for pleasure, but for necessity back then. Sunday was the day of rest as it should be. Where have those days gone? I find it very difficult when our calendar is filled. I need white space on there! Our weekends that are jam-packed create Mondays that are grueling. When I feel that I need Monday to recover from the busyness of the weekend that is a red flag to me. That is when it is time to reassess, regroup and take some things out. "Mental health days" cannot trump school days!
Along the journey to find healthy ways to be the best homeschooler I can, I have realized that being a good Christian woman/mom/wife does not mean running like crazy, trying to do everything for everyone, or running our kids to every activity their hearts desire. Proverbs 14 reminds us that a wise woman builds her home. How can we build our home well if we are on empty? Proverbs 31 describes a woman of noble character. At the top of the list it states that she brings good to her husband. How we can bring good to our husbands if we are running in the rat race that our society says we should? If we live like that we have nothing left. This isn’t to say we should only be in our home. We are also told in Scripture to help others. Our children do need activities. We should be active in our community. But we don’t need to allow our calendar to dictate our life. I am learning this is a fine balance. Sometimes I have confused being a good Christian with doing many things and going non-stop. (Other Christian women do it so I must be failing if I am not.) I then forget that my family needs my first efforts not my leftovers. I believe to my core it is wise to pray about everything we are thinking about adding in to our busy life and to continually assess whether we are putting things in proper order; God, spouse, children, family, community. Sometimes we need to say no. Sometimes we need to take time to rest and refocus.
I am realizing more and more that homeschooling is not just something we do; it’s our way of life. It takes preparation, it takes time, it takes effort and it takes focus. And sometimes it takes saying no to certain things. A while back, as my sister listened to me express frustration over having so many things to do, and feeling guilty for ever saying no to anyone, she reminded me of Nehemiah 6:3, “…I am doing a good work and cannot come down.” She encouraged me that what I am doing (homeschooling my children) IS a good work and it is okay that I don’t want to interrupt it; that I need to put homeschooling first. I tend to be my own worst enemy when it comes to this because I am so easily distracted and feel that I need to answer every phone call, email, text, etc immediately. Newsflash to self, the world can still go on around me if I don’t jump on everything the minute it comes to my attention!
I have been bound and determined to have a good school year in which I feel that we are thriving not just merely surviving. I have written down some daily goals/disciplines. (I am not speaking of disciplining children. I am speaking of self-discipline) I offer them up every day along with asking God to order my day. I think the biggest is keeping Nehemiah 6:3 in the forefront of my mind. Yes, I AM doing a good work and I cannot come down. And for this season of life, that is okay.
Here are a few things on my list:
~Wake up at least an hour before the rest of the family to pray (I used to do this but somewhere I lost that discipline and would pray “on the go”. Not the most effective way to spend time with God)
~Begin school by 8:30 each morning (it’s amazing how much more productive we are if we get right to it! Maybe this is even considered late to some, but we have had years where we don’t get into our day until 9:30 or later, so I am very content with this time.)
~ Meet with my 8th grader daily in the afternoon (She is a very independent student and it’s easy for me to forget to check on her. Then her struggles can fall through the cracks if she has any. By meeting with her we can discuss any troublesome areas and work through them right then)
~Grade work daily (when I fall behind in this it’s completely overwhelming and then I can’t even figure out where a concept has been lost. Grading daily allows me to fix problems right away.)
~No cell phone in the school room (it’s just too tempting to check and answer text messages, emails etc that come through)
~Less time on Facebook and checking emails and more time being present with my family
~Try to keep a calm and quiet environment (I cannot do this if I am completely overwhelmed and stressed out.) and remember that “life is not an emergency”
~Have a specific book to read on Sundays, maybe about the saints, to focus on Sunday being God's day. I purchased a book called The Domestic Church to begin this little Sunday tradition. As of yet I have not begun this goal but still hope to.
I have not perfected these by any stretch of the imagination. I am a work in progress. There are
weeks where I don’t follow all of these. I can say though, when I do practice
these disciplines we have a much more peace filled home and accomplish great
things. And by His Grace I can keep trying.
My prayer for you is to find rest, balance, simplicity and peace in this busy world.