Kathy is a gentle homeschooling mom of eight (most of whom are now adults) that I count as a sweet friend from church. Recently she shared at our homeschool encouragement day about her struggles through the years-- high expectations she had put upon herself and her journey to trusting the Lord to lead their homeschooling endeavors and days.
Thank you for sharing and being so willing to open your heart and be transparent! I've been in that place SO many times over the years... and it's always a struggle wrestling with what I think I should do and what I want to do! Here's a few things we've done in years past. Hopefully, they'll encourage you!
1. I've set our usual stuff aside, kicked back in a comfy chair and read a good book to the children... or better yet, got it from the library on tape. The children can color or draw while I'm reading. After our reading time, we discuss the book together, especially about the character's good and bad qualities. Then later, I may have them write a short paragraph about something they have learned from it, stand up before the family and share something about the book they liked/learned, or fill out a book report form/draw pictures.
2. Sometimes I'm too tired to read to them, so I have them read a good book independently and do one of the above.
3. I've picked out a time period in history and gotten videos from the library (or other sources) and just spent a week or so watching them. We did this with Ken Burn's "The West" series and also his "Civil War" series. I would usually have library books on the subject handy too. Then hopefully, as the children's interest was pricked by the videos, they picked up the
library books and dug deeper on their own.
4. Some days, when I'm feeling very pressured, we do minimum school days. This usually seems to happen when my housework or yardwork has finally gotten so out of hand that I'm totally distracted by it. On these days, everyone does their math, then we all clean house until things are back in order... sometimes this takes a week or two!! The rest from the burden of school planning and a clean house do wonders for me!! :)
5. Suspend all academic work and memorize sections of scripture for awhile... the older ones can help the younger ones... with prizes for word-perfect memory work as incentive. The fear of the Lord is the beginning
6. In desperate situations... often pregnancy induced :), we've just stopped school for awhile. We may take two years to get through a one year textbook or subject, but the children do well... sometimes retaining things better! There are just times, for our own health and especially the health of our unborn children, that we need to take a break and not let guilt rob us of the rest our heavenly Father desires to provide. When Karis was born (mid-April 1997), I tried to continue schooling afterward, but had trouble nursing, struggled emotionally and finally gave up in exhaustion. I put everthing away, and didn't begin again until Sept. It was a wonderful much-needed break! The children loved it, our little baby thrived, and I was refreshed and ready to begin again after my long rest!
Kendra, I hope this encourages and helps you somehow!!! I'm sure though, that they're all things you've thought of. I guess if there's one thing I would say looking back from this point in life, it would be: Ask the Lord to make clear what He would have you to do. Talk with your husband and be open to his counsel. And if lead to stop for a season and begin again later, trust the Lord to work and instruct our little ones even when we are "resting".
Our God is faithful.
I'm still praying for you!
Those words are like a breath of fresh air, aren't they? Having gleaned from all of these ladies (and several others) that I needed to ask the Lord where to revamp, we have made a few changes:
1. Prayer. I am far more apt to drop my head into my hands and pray when I am feeling discouraged, tired or overwhelmed. And I know this is why God presses me-- I'm a can-do girl who tends to fall back on my own strength. It's never really worked well for me, but I'm just daft enough to need my gentle Shepherd to prod me back under His loving care.
2. I actually added two more things to Circle Time- history and science. Typically those subjects are done in the afternoon (history on Mondays and Tuesdays, science on Wednesdays and Thursdays), but taking them off the afternoon docket has been a good thing.
3. Caffeine. Lipton Blackberry Iced Tea sweetened with Xylitol. Yum.
4. Follow-through. I'm not certain this was mentioned by anyone, but it was definitely something that needed my attention. I'm working really, really hard at following-though on discipline, school work, and chores, even when it takes me 15 seconds to roll my big belly off the couch.