We started the learning-at-home adventure toward the end of 1996, so this is our 13th year. Over that time I have been bamboozled, ferhoodled, and lacking in confidence through to confident, visionary and fulfilled. I have gone through a many seasons, each bringing their own emotions, ups and downs. On the AussieHomeschool forum, a dear lady asked the following questions:
Come on ladies, tell me – who has some secrets for keeping your cool? How do we get a grip on those flaky days? Any overcomers out there?
It’s not often that I get to answer in the positive in things like this… but I’d really have to say that after 13 years of home based learning and raising 4-5 children, I am an overcomer! I am surviving and so are the children!
No, it’s not because I am perfect or that I have it together– because nothing could be further from the truth. So, what is my secret? Can others experience this peace too?
Knowing that this journey is also about me. Knowing that this journey is more about relationships than academics.
I have a temper. And a short fuse although, by the grace of God and learning to practice the presence of God, it is lengthening. I also have a potty mouth. I have been known, in the past, to speak in a way that cuts people to the core, leaving them drowning in a pool of blood. I hated myself. I hated my actions and the complete lack of self control I had over my emotions and my tongue. And yes, sadly, my older children do remember my propensity toward uncontrollable, verbal rage. I am thankful for the Cross, and its power to heal. My journey does not end there, That was who I was, not who I am.
- I have learned that homeschooling is not about perfection or anything closely resembling it, but it is about developing relationships.
- I’ve learned that homeschooling is an extension of parenting and this is still the same whether or not my child attends public school, private school, homeschool books or unschooling.
- I’ve learned that homeschooling is not a goal… it is a process. I’ve learned that the children growing up to *look like* a perfect homeschooler is just nowhere near good enough.
- I’ve learned that this homeschooling journey isn’t about academics, nor is it even about character, for character will not get anyone into heaven!
The goal of this homeschooling business is that I should become so dependent upon God that I fall onto my knees daily, seeking His face, hungering after a touch from Him. Parenting should drive me to my knees!
What does this practically mean when I’m knee deep in laundry and eating cereal or toast for tea? It means that there is an eternal reason for all this mess, untidiness, and constant training. That reason is that God wants ALL of us- our entire life. Our goal is to love God and glorify Him forever – in the midst of spilled Weetbix and poopy nappies and children that can’t spell.
I know this isn’t the most practical advice you’ve ever heard but in all honesty, it is truth and reality for me. I’ve tried everything over the years. I’ve tried great schedules, quiet times, days off, and all those other things but for me, they are all temporary reprieves. Seeking after the heart of God in earnest, before ALL other things is the only way I have been able to flourish, not just survive.
The only practical thing I can offer is that this too shall pass. Things do get easier. As the children get older, as they invariably do, things will get easier. I promise. Of course, the developing ages bring their own unique set of curve balls but again, it’s back to the beginning…
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Photo credit: Forgiven by Greg Olsen Art