Monday, August 2, 2010
Week 30 Already?/The Last Tadpole
Today is another milestone--Week 30 already! I can hardly believe she has made it this far, especially when I see all of the people around us who have come and gone. Many have delivered their babies far too early. The nurses especially appreciate the milestones that Sarah reaches. Some of the pregnant ones are so affected by the work they do that they won't let anyone give them baby showers until they pass week 28. They have seen too much heartbreak. They are so cheerful and encouraging. They help us forget how precarious a high-risk pregnancy can be.
The routine has a way of making me think that this time in my life will last forever. The drive to the hospital, fixing Callie's hair in pigtails, helping Sarah put on her socks, having conversations with the nurses, confiding my daily stresses to Tom--all of these things make up my life right now. Any way you look at it, it is almost over. I have the strangest feeling that I am going miss this time.
Tom was going through some papers and found something I wrote a few years ago to encourage fellow homeschoolers, which is another time in my life that I miss. He thought some of you might enjoy it:
The Last Tadpole
Just yesterday, it seems, I was kneeling by the pond catching slippery tadpoles for my daughter to raise for a science experiment. Today, I am frantically trying to find the right dress to wear to her wedding. I can't believe it's over, my homeschooling journey.
We started this experiment when Sarah turned six. Teaching my children soon became a way of life, my identity. The daily monotony of routine made me assume that lesson planning would last forever, yet the days were racing by. Now Sarah will soon complete her student teaching and her degree in Elementary Education. One week later, she is getting married and leaving home. My homeschooling ministry with her is finished.
Incredibly enough, I don't have any regrets. I tried to think of just one to make my story more credible, but I can't. There have been only rewards.
What have I learned?
1. The hardest part of homeschooling is discipline: not for the children, but for me. Teaching at home requires self-discipline to make the children mind, to teach them every day, to juggle other responsibilities, and to keep on track spiritually. My biggest battle has always been with me.
2. The best curriculum is the one that works for me right now. Anything will work as long as I do the work, every day. Cost, color, and popularity are not important factors. What works this year may not work next year. Everything changes, usually just when I get comfortable.
3. Giving God the first part of the day is the key to getting more accomplished. Reading what God has to say helps me get in the right frame of mind to face the day's challenges. Talking to God helps me to trust His plan. Prayer puts a protective cover on the day's events. When I put God first in my school subjects, He multiplies my efforts, producing amazing results. When I don't put Him first, I don't accomplish much--especially nothing that will matter for eternity.
4. Interruptions should be welcomed as divine appointments from God. My children have learned more from the unexpected events than they have from the planned activities. God is always working, so I need to be flexible. I need to expect the unexpected.
5. I am the best teacher for my children, even if I am not the only one. There are many others with gifts and talents that I don't have, but those people are not the best teachers for my family, regardless of their degrees. God knew what my children needed, and He also knew that I was the one to best prepare them for their future life and ministries.
6. Satan hates homeschooling. He hates the process. He hates the results. He hates the investment. He hates the relationships. He especially hates the spiritual benefits. Satan is always trying to distract and discourage me, so I have to remember the fact that discouragement is his greatest weapon. I pray daily for God to encourage me, then I look everywhere for the smallest encouraging things. I write them down. I share them. I remember why I am doing what I am doing, and that God is at work.
7. God honors my sacrifice. He knows that I gave up sewing, crafting, working, friends, shopping, skiing, reading, relaxing, manicures, mall walking, gardening, and "me" time to homeschool. He is rewarding my service to Him every day, in many ways. Some are small, like a parking space close to the door of the grocery. Some are bigger, like a good score on the SAT's in a subject we struggled with all year. Others are immeasurable, like the fact that my children serve the Lord and honor Him, and encourage others to do the same.
8. Homeschooling offers no guarantees. While it offers rewarding opportunities to make lasting impressions on my children, they are still free-will agents. They will make their own choices and their own mistakes. They will still experience teenage angst.
9. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Many people have made the wrong assumption that because I have been so active in the homeschooling movement, I insist that everyone should teach their children at home. That is not true. I have always believed that each one of us should find God's plan for her life and follow it. His way for me is always best but rarely the same as your journey. And yes, there were plenty of days that I enviously watched my neighbors put their kids on the school bus. I am a school teacher by profession, so I know that there are many advantages to traditional school that are hard, if not impossible, to replicate at home. Bottom line: Find out what God wants you do with your life and do it. No apologies necessary.
10. Homeschooling does not last forever. It just feels like it will. There will be a last struggle with vowel sounds, a last request for Math help, a last tadpole. Remember to cherish the monotony. You will treasure the memory someday.
The Bible is true. We reap what we sow. I have eternity ahead to do all those other "things" that I have given up. Right now I have a wedding to prepare. Regrets? None. Well, maybe just one. It would be nice to hold Sarah's little hand while we catch one more tadpole, and to teach her for just one more day.
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." Ephesians 6:7
Posted by Sondra at 7:30 AM