I have been buried in a hole, it seems, for over a month. School started and I kept falling deeper and deeper into my abyss. Everything about the start of this year felt off. It was especially upsetting because this was supposed to be MY year. The year when everything came together as it should. The year when I had less stress and more fun.
Three years ago I was experiencing a difficult pregnancy and my oldest went to public school for a year. I had no peace. The following year we moved to a new state with a six year old, a four year old, and an eight month old and started a new Classical Conversations group two days after we moved into our new apartment. During the middle of that year, we moved again once we bought a house. Two of my three children then started having health issues. I believed God had called me to homeschool, but with everything else going on I was ready to give it all up. As ready as I was, I felt God was asking me to give Him one more year.
Last year was God’s extra year. We joined a CC group closer to our home, which made a huge difference for my kiddos. They finally started recognizing people when we went out around town and were able to feel more connected to the new city. But during the middle of the school year a family illness surfaced and a stress free year we did not have.
This was supposed to be the year we hit our stride. This year we were settled. There were no babies, no moves, and no new health surprises. My husband and I didn’t even really need to discuss the upcoming school year. The decision was painless instead of painstaking as it had been before. I could envision giving homeschooling more than one more year. My oldest two had been so responsible and diligent over the summer. I told myself this wasn’t going to be so bad after all. I was going to get better organized and we were going to rock this year.
We’ve been in school for seven weeks and oh, how wrong I was. This has been my hardest year yet! At the start of school I felt more unprepared than I ever have. I have felt more behind, more stressed, and more like I don’t have a clue. The house feels like it’s always a mess. I feel like I am always yelling at the kids, and we can’t ever seem to accomplish what I think we should in a day. For the first time I found myself screaming inside and saying out loud, “I simply don’t WANT to do this anymore!”
I asked a friend and fellow homeschooling mom, why do we submit ourselves to this kind of torture? It is pure insanity. She sent me a link to a post titled, The Truth About Homechooling. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I was thankful to know I was not alone. This is really hard. The author, Heather Bowen, gave a beautifully simple answer to the question “why?” Because we are called to.
It’s funny how when I started homeschooling I really believed I would be the teacher, but in reality I am truly the student. Everyday I am being taught how to listen and obey. How to love. How to be a willing vessel.
I hadn’t realized it, but maybe I had become arrogant. This year was going to be easy because I didn’t have X,Y, or Z on my plate. With a little bit more planning and organization I could do this. As I’m sitting here typing I realize just how crazy that sounds.
The truth is I have never been able to do this. Everyday I need HIS strength. I need HIS guidance. I need HIS patience. I need HIM. I haven’t given up yet because he has not released me.
I cannot count the times I have spoken to people who have looked at me like I either have 3 heads or I’m a saint when they find out I homeschool. They often remark that they could never homeschool because they’re not patient or organized or fill in the blank. My answer is usually, “Neither am I” to every adjective they list, “It is only by God’s grace that I do this.” Somehow I forgot. I stuck my head under a blanket and tried to pretend I had this all together. Shame on me, but I’m awake now! None of this is about what I can do. I simply needed to wake up and remember it’s all about what God will do.