Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Musings of a Novice Homeschooler

I am a horrible blogger! Although, in my defense, I do this more to sort out and organize my thoughts than to keep an audience. So obvious right? I did think though that I would like to share some of the issues, revelations, and joys I've experienced in this last (our 1st) year of homeschooling.

 Note: I'm still a novice so if you're more experienced this blog may be of no importance/help to you ;)

*Homeschooling isn't just a 4 to 5 hour a day hobby, it's a lifestyle!

      For years I sent my kids to school and let them do whatever when they got home; watch TV, play video games, etc. However, since we started schooling my youngest at home, I am trying desperately to create a continual learning environment. It's hard to reprogram people, but I've noticed that they are actually HAPPIER when they apply themselves, are creative, and use their time wisely! I know, I know, that's probably a duh-huh to most, but the difference really is amazing!

*It really is a sacrifice for the whole family....but so worth it!

      We aren't able to go out to eat or buy all the fun things (junk) that we use to, but our family life is so much richer! I'm more available to my children now that I don't work 50+ hours a week as I had done for most of their lives. It's amazing how happy you can be without all the 'stuff' society in this country seems to think are necessities! A walk in the park on a beautiful day with the ones you love is way more fulfilling than watching any TV show! Remember, they're only ours for a little while...

*I have come face to face with my own shortcomings.

     That may not sound like a positive, but I feel God has really used this time to show me areas that I need to work on....a lot of areas. I've always approached life as a free spirited woodland fairy frolicking through fields of wildflowers. At least that's how I considered it. My friends my describe it more as 'flaky' but we'll stick with my assessment :)  In this area, homeschooling has definitely been a WAKE UP call! I didn't realize before how much I needed to be organized, structured, and diligent. Life is better when you're focused and have goals! Again, a duh-huh for most I'm sure.

*I'm growing in my walk with Christ

   This should be a given as well since I already stated that I use to work 50+ hours a week. However, it just astounds me how God has shown His provision for us. It may not look that way on the outside and we are still growing for sure, but He has put loving people in our lives to encourage us in hard times and even in some cases supply a need or two. This has been a truly humbling experience that I wouldn't wish away for all the money in the world. I have to admit though, last week I was having a slight pity party and decided to remind God that this homeschooling business was HIS idea and I needed Him to make a way and reassure me that it was STILL His will for us. -yes, I can be whiny too. still working on that shortcoming!- Within the hour He had multiple people ask me for photo sessions (I'm a photographer) and in the span of a day two people spoke to me individually about the type of mother they saw me as...this was especially sweet to me. My two main concerns were addressed and I am now even more certain that I am in His will and that He WILL supply ALL our needs. Praise God!

Provision isn't the only thing He has shown me. My own Bible studies are more revelatory than they have ever been! I'm sure I will post more about the things He has shown me in the future, but WOW! The freedom we have in Christ is like nothing that can even be explained fully! It really just has to be experienced. To know Him is to want to know Him more.

Oh gosh! I just realized most all of these things have been about ME and my growth! Ooops! Ok, refocusing!

*Learning more about the heart of my children.

    If we positively pour into the lives of our children it's awesome to see the changes in their moods and actions. When we take time to understand them and present ourselves as ever ready, fully attentive, loving, and encouraging sources of hope and truth they start to *gasp* open up their hearts to us. My sister once told me "If you have their hearts, they will listen to you". This changed my approach all together. My job IS to love them. They get enough criticisms from the world. Home should be a safe place where they can feel free to open up to those that love them most. When we have issues, we talk about them...talk...not yell. No family is perfect and there are days that they drive me nuts, but this is a HUGE deal to me! I hope to always put their needs and upbringing above my own feelings. I pray to be more like Jesus. To edify and encourage with my words, no matter who I'm speaking with.

Oh no! I made it about ME again! I promise they are seeing benefits too!

*Just about the boys!

    Hopefully since the heading here is just about the boys I will stay on that topic! I only homeschool one child, but me being at home has been positive in the life of my oldest as well. First though, I will talk about my 9yo homeschooler. When we started last year (2nd grade), one of the first things I noticed was his attitude towards learning. He would seriously freak out over Math and call himself stupid through angry, relentless, tears.-especially if a timer was involved.- He had NO confidence! It took a while, but today while we were birthday shopping, a salesman asked him his favorite subject. His reply? Math! Woohoo! Victory!! This is only one area of improvement. In my opinion though the most improvement I have seen is in his character. He truly has a heart for others and has realized a love of singing for the Lord. He told me once that he believed God blessed him with 'such a good voice' so that he would praise him. Music to my ears! We're working on the humility ;)

My 12yo has also grown in confidence. My once 'lock myself in my room and read' son has become much more extroverted and willing to hang with the fam! He's even taken up archery with some friends he met through our homeschool connections AND his grades have improved! I've also noticed that he truly wants to be honorable. I know the road ahead of him in public school may look bleak to some, but the knowledge and wisdom God had given him encourages me. He is stubborn and hard headed with a heart of gold. This is one case that may prove those attributes helpful! We talk a lot about walking in truth and I pray God strengthen his convictions even more as he gets older. He knows WHO he wants to be when he's grown, I just pray God helps him to get there and be a witness to others in the process.

Conclusion: Homeschooling is the hardest, most frustrating thing anyone can do....and I absolutely LOVE it. The benefits (for me anyway) far outweighs any negative. Praying for all those attempting to start. It can be overwhelming, but there is a plethora of HS moms ready and willing to help and advise. Most of all, if God has called you to do it, He will provide. He has to! It's His nature! Mathew chapter 6 has been a staple for me through the hard times. I pray you get encouragement from His word as well. Blessings <3

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