Friday, September 23, 2011

Homeschool Mom Encouragement

This was in our cover school's newsletter. It's an article from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine,  thought I would share :-)

I think I've come to realize after all these years that first and foremost, I want to be a "heart and soul homeschool mama." That's all that really matters. My house is a mess (stop by unannounced and I probably won't answer the door - my living room is a disaster). Take a look at my kitchen; normally you will be hard pressed to find the counters. My couch (what couch? Where'd it go??) is overrun by clean laundry waiting (patiently and forever) to be folded and put away. Hey, at least it's clean! My bedroom door stays closed, because, well, never mind. I won't even go there because to describe the clothes behind closet doors, make-up spilled on the counters and a toilet that looks a little...well....not as white as it used to, would just be embarrassing. Seriously - my house is pretty messy. For the most part it's really sanitary – I have an obsession with "cleaner wipes" as we call them. My kids are constantly wiping down furniture and doorknobs, tables and chairs and the counters when we can find them. I love to cook and wash my hands too many times. We're clean. We're just . . . slobs.
Epic success!

So I am not a "house cleaning super mama." I gave up that dream long ago, like four minutes after I said, "I do." Nor am I a "brainiac homeschool mama". My kids have gaps, holes and stops in their education. They did alright; the two that have graduated went on to do a few semesters at college and got straight A's in everything they took, even all the math (yuck). Well, Lukey got ONE B (history). Other than that, they are 4.0 college boys. So something went OK in the homeschooling I guess. But yeah, there are holes. We didn't dissect a frog - ever. That is just sick and I am not going there. My house is gross enough as it is and knowing us, someone would lose a liver in the clean laundry and we'd never find that frog. One of my friends ordered a cow's eyeball and it was delivered via MAIL (oh my gross). She rolled that puppy right onto her kitchen table and sliced and diced away with her kids. Then they stored the thing in her fridge.
OK. Well, then.

I am not a "braniac homeschool mama" - sorry, just can't do it. First of all, I'm not a brain like my cow-eyeball wielding friend. I have another friend who is a homeschool mom who also happens to be our lawyer. Her  child probably could have graduated when he was 13. She's a constant stream of brain-power and she imparts it all to her lucky boy who is almost as smart as she is by now. Crazy. I can't do it. I am simply not equipped. But we did the basics and had loads of conversations and put the time into a bazillion documentaries and traveling around on business, plus read books aloud when we could. We also did loads of reading comprehension.
Epic success!

I am not a "fashion-ado homeschool mama." I'm chubby! My hair gets brushed (and I am serious) two to three times a week at best. It's frizzy - why would I want to comb it out? Then it would be an afro that would touch the ceiling and put people in danger of being static-shocked. My babies would get lost in it. So keep it tight, leave it alone, slather it with gel if someone is coming over - good enough. I'm like a female version of
Ronald McDonald and I am NOT the only person who's told myself that. So fashion is not really me. I'm not beautiful like some of my homeschool friends who look so well-put together. They have gorgeous manes that they probably comb out every day. Their shoes match. And their teeth are straight and white. Makeup? Can you believe some people wear it daily (more maniacal laughter - sorry). Fashion Gena is just not in existence. Never has been. This homeschool mama cannot even match her necklace to her shoes (although I did try once). My hair is kinda clean and I wear deodorant.
Epic success!

I am not a "field trip homeschool mama." OK these mamas are great but I cannot keep up with them! They have a field trip experience for every other day of the week. Their kids have been to the Grand Canyon (mine have not). Their kids have visited flight museums and experienced Jamestown and all the reenactment festivals for both sides of the Civil War (mine haven't). They can recite the Gettysburg Address and know all the historical/educational landmarks of Philadelphia (mine don't). Busy, busy learning by experiencing. They'd fly to every planet for a field trip if they could. And my hat is off to them!
Look at the investment they are pouring into their children! Hands on learning - can't beat it. Just wish I had time for such a thing (I think). Sounds exhausting and I'm tired even thinking about it. I am not a "field trip homeschool mama" like several of my better friends. But we have traveled when we can, visited faraway places in books and get out here and there.
Epic success!

What kind of mama am I? I don't have the corner on a clean and lovely home. I am not a brain who can pontificate over my children pouring set-to memory knowledge in their craniums (I don't have that much stuff memorized!). I am not that well put together - Mrs. Ronald, remember? (I stopped dying my hair red because the resemblance is then even more uncanny and it's disturbing). And I am not constantly whisking my kids away to the Alps for PE or to the Golden Gate Bridge or Crater Lake for geography. I am a "heart and soul mama." I'm here for them when they need me, relationships are first and foremost and I want them to know the Lord their God with all their heart and soul. I want to get to their hearts and have an impact on what happens with their souls. I want to bare my own heart, and I want us to build on that as our family continuously draws closer to each other and to the Lord.

It's the Lord who reaches the heart and soul, and He uses us Moms in many ways to do it. By REGULARLY speaking to their hearts and guarding their souls we are creating an atmosphere for flourishing growth. Is that a perfect picture? If comparing it to fine art, it may look very abstract or even Impressionistic in style (crazy swirls and wide brush strokes) and sometimes quiet messy, but keep walking (even if you're not as organized as you'd like to be) because it IS a form of fine art, divinely inspired and very much a part of His sovereign plan for our lives. He directs our steps if we follow Him. And He values your children even more than you do. He loves them. He loves you.
Keep walking.

(Reprinted from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine)

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