Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year and 31 Days of Homeschooling Goodness

Happy New Year!
Day One
On this first wonderful, blank-slate day of January, I would like to dedicate it to the Lord and His purposes. As our Pastor Fraz mentioned last Sunday, we had everything we needed in 2013 to live our lives for God. It doesn't mean we received everything we desired, but we had all we required to live in the place He planted us at that time in our lives. Jesus is what we needed and as He lives in us through His Spirit, He enables us to accomplish what we must. All I lack is found complete in Him. And so, in 2014, I pray that as I homeschool, mother, work, and love those around me, I will do it all for His glory and by His power in me.
I will begin by stating that while we are in our eighth year of homeschooling, we are by no means perfect at this educational thing. I taught in private Christian schools before I became a mommy but as I journeyed through home education, I have felt extremely inadequate for this position many, many days and it has, at times, been more difficult to teach my own four than a classroom full of other people's children! I found that my girlfriends and sisters were doing a much better job in some areas than I was. I noticed they didn't have the same perfectionist hope to recreate a classroom environment and that made a world of difference. Snuggling with their kiddos on the couch or gathering around the kitchen table was all that was necessary for good teaching and togetherness. I hope this encourages anyone who is considering homeschooling and feeling like they are not "cut out for the job". It's simply not true. If you are a parent and you have a desire, or at least a nudging toward homeschooling, the Lord has equipped you with the love, patience, self-control and everything else you need to succeed in the adventure! Mostly, because He is the answer if we rely on Him throughout the year. Yes, there are mistakes that can be made but I can tell you honestly, as a certified teacher, I (and my colleagues) were making plenty of them at school as well. No one is perfect, but I'm convinced now more than ever that a mother who loves her children and desires to train and educate them well, will succeed. There are so many resources, groups, co-ops, field trips, conventions, seminars, websites, etc. for homeschoolers, so a great support system is available to you.
In the past seven to eight years, our family has experienced a closeness that I am so thankful for. My children call out, "I love you!" to each other from their bedrooms many nights, even if they encountered conflict that day. However, since we are together for all hours of the day, the sins that we struggled with while the oldest two were in traditional school are magnified at home. Some days, impatience and frustration, laziness and whining can be the biggest things we're dealing with. There have been several days in our schooling time span when I wondered why I ever decided to embark on this path. But, the benefits always outweigh the negatives and when all is calm and I look around the room at my (finally) diligent workers, I sigh relief and remember that I am blessed to teach my children and they truly are learning to love deeply, resolve arguments and study independently. Not to mention, some of that laziness and whining can be mine :)
I will do my best to post our everyday life this month, which will mostly be accountability for me, and I love to have somewhere to leave my thoughts at the end of the day. I hope that as my children look back on this blog (I print it in hardcover through Blog2Print), that they will smile at the memories, even the reminders of some honest and difficult moments that God walked us through. For those who are not homeschoolers, or planning to join this growing educational movement, I hope you'll enjoy the posts anyway :)
May you understand fully what God has called you to do in 2014 and may you feel encouraged that you have all you need to accomplish it in Him!
Here are some "old" photos from the beginning of our homeschooling journey. As I gaze at them, I'm taken back to some tough times and some beautiful triumphs. I'm grateful for both.
1486. biggers helping littles
1487. the beauty of having a newly-turned two-year old and a newborn
1488. how Great-Mama always joined us for our homeschooling adventures
1489. how observing mommy nursing had it's effects :)
1490. how my sister's farm gave them so much scope for the imagination and a joy for working
1491. so much painting happened in the school room--even though it was messy!
1492. how reading to siblings always melted my heart
1493. the way they made their "home" in snowbanks
1494. for Florida trips and how we weren't tied to a schedule to return

1495. and how they brought us all closer
1496. for dear friends who ended up homeschooling!
1497. how these four became my favourite students
1498. how little girls learned how to "mother" while at home longer hours
1499. special rides as a reward on Auntie Hilary's horse after working on a project together
1500. schooling at friends' homes in their schoolroom!
1501. being inspired by the differences between families
1502. learning about endangered animals up close and personal where they're being rescued
1503. these two and how they've always stayed close
1504. recess and how it can be as long as we want (with hot chocolate later)
1505. visiting our neighbour's horses each day
1506. for animal mommas who also love their babies
1507. listening to toddler talk when baby is down for a nap
1508. all day snuggles I don't have to miss
1509. how so much changed when he came along and how we couldn't imagine life without him
1510. for three little mommies (they still are)  
1511. for a boy and how he made me re-think my homeschooling as he grew
1512. how breast-feeding one and putting another in time-out while teaching was tricky (and I cried a lot)... but so worth it in the long run!
1513. how somehow we got the notion from God that this was the path we were to take and how He's blessed it even when I've messed it up many days! Grace!


Camille said...

PRECIOUS post my sweet friend! Loved it all!! I so enjoyed reading about some of your journey and struggles along the way and how they match up so well with mine. This is our eighth year of homeschool as well...and, we SO have not *arrived*! I am thankful that indeed...the Lord is the ONE Who is our Guide and will never leave nor forsake us. HE is eternally Good!! Love to you! Camille

Sarah Guevarra said...

I love looking back with you Heather! Your little ones are so precious! Miss you all a lot! Xoxox