Homeschooling & the Mommy Wars: What I Wish We Were Saying

One great thing about having a blog is when you have thoughts running around in your head at 1 am, you can dump them out on a “page” and then leave them there until the morning (well, later in the morning anyway). Then, hopefully, go back to sleep. Here are my 1 am musings.

Two things happened recently that prompted this post.

The first involves a conversation I had with a dear Christian friend. Her five year old was starting kindergarten at our local public school in a few weeks. I asked her how she was feeling about this. What I meant was “how are you, as a mother, feeling about your baby bird leaving the nest?” It became apparent during the conversation that what she heard was “why aren’t you homeschooling?” She shared her reasons for choosing public school and how others had questioned this choice. I was saddened that she felt she needed to defend her choice to me instead of finding a friend with an ear sympathetic to the bittersweet moments that are ever present in parenting.

The second is I joined a very large very active homeschool group on Facebook. The support this group offers is invaluable, yet  I am disheartened by some of the things I see there. There are several post everyday along the lines of “I am so glad my children don’t go to public school because….”  some of which make me cringe and hope they don’t share those thought outside of the private group. But even more disheartening are the posts (or comments more often) judging other’s methods of homeschooling as if there is a wrong or right way to homeschool.

What I wish we were all saying to each other is:

If you homeschool for religious reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for religious reasons…I support you.

If you homeschool for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children sleep until 10 am and start “school” sometime between 11-12…I support you.

If you do the “get up before 6 am, get dressed, find your shoes, pack the lunch, pack the backpack, run for the bus” dance 5 mornings a week…I support you.

If you homeschool because it makes you a better parent….I support you.

If your children attend public school because it makes you a better parent…I support you.

If you spend $1,000 on curriculum for your homeschool…I support you.

If you homeschool using free resources and Pinterest…I support you.

If you homeschool in a designated classroom adorned in primary colors…I support you.

If you homeschool where ever is comfiest…I support you.

If you are an active, thoughtful partner in your child’s learning, however that looks for your family, I SUPPORT YOU.

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Jesus & Chocolate

jesus and chocolate

“I don’t know how you do it!”

With four kids under 7 including two year old twins, I have heard this more times in the last two years than I can count. Also “you’ve got your hands full!” (Really? Thanks for pointing that out.)

Honestly, I don’t know how I do it either. My house is a mess more often than not. Laundry lives in baskets, clean or dirty (not usually together). I am often too exhausted to think of anything new for dinner so we eat tacos, fajitas and pan fried chicken every week.  Once in a while I change things up and make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot.

This morning I was sorting piles of toys for the 1000th time switching out upstairs and downstairs toys. Eden was standing on the block table I had just brought down instead of being thoroughly engaged in the “new” toy like she was supposed to be. I guess 2 year olds don’t read parenting books and blogs. Suddenly, in my mind I was transported 30 years into the future. I saw myself sitting on the couch watching TV I was only mildly interested in, missing the noise and chaos I am now in the midst of. Then I was transported back 10 years ago when all I wanted was to be a mother. I was moderately obsessed by motherhood, though I wasn’t one. I read parenting magazines and blogs and joined online parenting forums.

I was reminded that I am, right at this moment, living the life I always dreamed about and prayed for.

Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. The first two years I was a mother, I also worked full time. For me that was easier. Motherhood is a 24/7 job, there is no doubt about that and staying at home means that often there is NO break from your job for days. I was very sick while pregnant with the twins and the first year of four children under 5 was extremely difficult. I felt as if I was simply surviving from the time I woke up until I went to bed (with the kids).

More days than not, I woke up with one thought, “I can’t do this.”

The truth is I couldn’t. I still can’t. None of us can get through one moment of any day without the grace and mercy of God.  Children are clearly a blessing. (Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3, ESV) Yet, the Lord used these blessings as disciplines to break me down and bring me to the point where I have no choice but to be wholly dependent on Him and leave myself behind.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11, ESV

He gave me everything I wanted and had prayed for (4 children, becoming a SAHM,homeschooling, even the community and Church where we live  and worship are answered prayers) but He gave it to me in a way that broke me. Within one year, we moved from Chicago to Southern California where we didn’t know anyone, I changed from working full time to staying at home full time, we purchased our first home, Cliff became a full time solo Pastor, and then I found out I was pregnant and with twins no less. All of my prayers answered in one year. Whew, what a whirlwind.

It broke me, in a good way, in the way He intended. Every morning I wake up knowing I cannot not make it though on my own, under my own power. I also know that I don’t have to. I have to place it in His all powerful hands and trust Him to pull me through. That doesn’t mean all my days are easy and I am the perfect mother, far far from it. But I rest in the knowledge that I am living the life He intended for me even when I am asking, why me?

So faced with the prospect of homeschooling with two year old twins, I ask “How can I do this?” The answer is I can’t. What I can do is rest in His plan for my life and my children’s lives. And eat chocolate, lots of chocolate.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV

Has the Lord used blessings as disciplines to form you into the person He wants you to be?

5 Solae Academy

Bible 5 Solae

 

Alternative Title: 5 What-ay? Academy

The 5 Solae (so-lay) are Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation. These were not new ideas, they are entirely Biblical, but they point to key issues of the Christian faith which were at risk during the Reformation. In summary the 5 Solae are:

We are saved from the eternal fire by means of faith alone (Sola Fide) in Christ alone (Solus Christus) as a gift of God’s grace alone (Sola Gratia) which was done for the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria) as authoritatively taught in Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura).

That’s great, but why the 5 Solae Academy?

My husband Cliff and I have decided that these five principles will not only define our faith but also our worship, our ministries and, most importantly, how we raise our children.

We are commanded in Deuteronomy “to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (11:13b) and to “lay up these words of mine [the Lord’s] in your heart and in your soul” (11:18a). But that’s not all, we are also commanded to “teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (11:19)

Keeping all of this in mind, I am embarking on a new journey this fall: I will begin homeschooling our two oldest sons. After much discussion, we have decided to homeschool independently. (Look for a future post about this.) In California this means we need to file as a private school.

We chose 5 Solae Academy as the name of our school to reflect how these principles center our lives.

This blog will have two primary functions:

~ to record our homeschooling days as a kind of online diary, recording our philosophy, activities, curriculum choices and lessons learned. I look forward to having a permanent record, if you will, of this journey for my children and myself. They say what goes on the internet, stays on the internet FOREVER, right?

~to share those things Cliff and I are teaching in our ministries. You can look forward to recordings of Cliff’s sermons, his Bible studies and other writings. From me, I plan to share Bible studies and resources I have written for the Ladies group at our church and random musings on a variety of subjects.

We are so glad you will be joining us on this new adventure and hope you find inspiration along the way.