Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

By two or three o’clock each day, my house looks like a toy monster exploded in a library.  Schooling my elder two children while keeping the youngest three entertained, fed, happy and out of trouble takes its toll on the house.  By this point in the day I have started laundry, started doing dishes , and started (sometimes) supper.  But all the unfinished tasks seem to scream for my attention all at once.  In the laundry room I notice that my washer and dryer haven’t been wiped in ages and there’s a strange  green substance spilled over the dial panel on the dryer, but as I’m closing the door to the dryer and turning the dial to start another load, Punky, who was “helping” put in the laundry, falls and needs to be consoled.  Then  I notice that Bud’s math book is on the counter and I haven’t checked it, yet, like I’d promised.  Oh, and there’s that letter I’ve been meaning to find an address for so I can mail it.   But before I can do any of that,  I need to find out where Li’l Britches is because when he’s quiet, it usually isn’t a good sign.   And I can’t forget to call the doctor about that prescription that needs refilled….

The list of things that I never get to seems to be multiplying.   I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been feeling angry, and I had a good idea it had something to do with the condition of the house.  I honestly am tired of feeling embarrassed about and making excuses for it.  I clean.  I just don’t ever seem to get the house to look like it’s been cleaned.  I can’t clean as fast as the kids can “unclean”. 🙂   So the situation isn’t really going to get better until my little ones are older and my older ones are better helpers– or until they all move out– so I need to do something, instead, about my anger.  

Last night as I lay in bed it kind of hit me.  The real problem is not that the house needs more attention than I give it.   It isn’t that the kids don’t put their things away (though that would help!).  It’s not that we have too much stuff (although we do).  It isn’t that I am not organized enough (though that, too, would help!).  No the real problem is that I feel like a failure, all the time, because my house is not as clean and neat as I would like it to be.  Somehow, even though I’m teaching my kids each day, reading to them, loving on them, training them (some!), and even though I am fixing meals to meet the special diet needs of my oldest son, teaching Missy how to sew, recording firsts and funny moments with the camera, and keeping clean clothes available — if not always folded– for all…. somehow it all seems to mean nothing.  The stacks of clutter on the counters, the dried toothpaste in the sink and  and the crumbs under the couch seem to be whispering to me, ” If you were a really good parent, like ________, then I wouldn’t be here.  You aren’t good enough.”  And it makes me feel like I’m failing everything because I’m not great at everything.  It’s no wonder I get irritated when I see the tupperware scattered  over the floor or the school work scattered on the dining room table instead of filed neatly. 

I’m glad I recognized that I’ve been having such negative “self talk”, as they say in psychology circles, because now I can confront it with truth.  Just because I’ve had the same can of dusting spray for five years, that doesn’t make me less loved by God.  I never did anything to deserve His love in the first place, so there isn’t anything I can do to make Him love me less, not even sitting down for a cup of tea when I know good and well that there’s a sticky spot on the floor under the couch.  

So, again, I’m reminding myself of the goal, which is to seek Him first above all things.   I may never have a spotless floor and a counter free of clutter at the same time.  Some people can do that, and it amazes me.  I look on it as a gift that I obviously didn’t get.  So, I’ll keep the house livable as best I can and try to ignore the condemning taunts of the cobwebs and dust bunnies.  Really, when I’m 80 will I think back to these days and sigh, “If only I’d scrubbed the tile more….”    I doubt it!   I pray that God will help me prioritize the important above the urgent.


“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1


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Here are some things I wish I was doing:

  • Writing everyday
  • Singing more
  • Getting up before the kids
  • Spending time with God each morning and night
  • Teaching my kids logic
  • Sighing at my children less and laughing with them more
  • Eating healthy
  • Making DH feel like a super hero
  • Living simply
  • Taking more risks
  • Calmly training my kids
  • Remembering the important things
  • Letting life experiences teach my kids most of the time and using the textbooks to supplement, instead of vice versa
  • Managing our home well
  • Spending more time looking my kids in the eyes
  • Finding contentment in the now 😀

Ok, so that’s just some of the stuff I feel like I could improve or start doing.  Sometimes I get a little discouraged thinking of how imperfect I am and how I “should” be doing better — but that kind of thinking only leads to defeatism.  The real challenge is seeking after the One.   If I can do that, the rest takes care of itself.  Wait…. that reminds me of a verse I learned long ago.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Alleluia!

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Punky in her church dress at 3 weeks old

Well, Punky is 6 weeks old now, and we are getting adjusted.  We restarted our home school schedule when she was 2 weeks old and have been working out the glitches.  She usually sleeps in the morning, so our school schedule has been largely unaffected.  Unfortunately, I still have two toddlers to occupy during our school time, and that has not been so easy.  Li’l Britches learned how to climb, so he’s into more trouble than ever.  Overall, though, we’re getting it together.  My house may not be very clean, but it isn’t  horrible and everybody has clean clothes to wear and food to eat.  Can’t ask for much more. 🙂

I hope with time I will get back to writing more regularly.  This is an election year, so I may get into a few political discussions on here.  Or maybe not.  I’m a little disappointed with how things are shaping up so far. 

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Today was a Monday Monday.  The kind of Monday that makes Garfield throw his blanket  back over his head.  Unfortunately, as a mother of four, two of whom are under the age of two, I didn’t have the option of crawling back under my fluffy comforter this morning. 

The trouble began last night when L’il Britches decided that sleeping for more than two hours at a time was somehow out of fashion.  Also on his “out” list was going immediately back to sleep when I nursed him.  So for every two hours that I slept I was up for 30-40 minutes feeding the baby. 

Then our morning began at the usual time and we had school and chores to do.  Unfortunately, Sunshine was over-tired from a trip to the aquarium over the weekend and skipping too many naps.  So instead of playing quietly while the older kids and I did our school time, she cried.  Over everything.  Over nothing.   Typical toddler inconsolability.  It is very difficult to explain division to an ADHD child with that kind of noise going on in the background.  If you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to come over and try sometime.

 Amazingly, though, by about one o’clock everyone had been taught, fed, read to and put to bed (or seated on the couch for quiet time).   And I got a chance to type up this blog.  So, overall, although it is challenging, having two under two isn’t impossible.  This is good news for me, because we just found out that in a few more months we’ll have three under the age of three.  Another little blessing is on the way sometime around Valentine’s day.  Phew.  I think I’ll head over to Amy’s Humble Musings for some encouragement!

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I just have to report that my husband’s amazing musical gene-ious has been passed on to at least one of our children.  DH was giving Bud a drum lesson in the garage yesterday afternoon while we were all playing outside.  Soon, we all stopped what we were doing and started listening, because our little six year old who can’t even reach the pedal for the bass drum, was keeping a steady beat with both hands and was able switch from snare to tom while continuing with the cymbals.  Just in case you aren’t sufficiently impressed, let me tell you that I cannot do what he did.  My husband, who claims he “doesn’t know” how to play drums (i.e. taught himself what he does know), has given our son enough instruction (and genetic disposition) to be able to play surprisingly well.  We were all quite impressed and look forward to encouraging his skill.  Everybody needs to know they’re really good at something.

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A Bouquet of Thanks

Bouquet of Thanks

Each year at Thanksgiving, I try to make sure that the kids and I do a project of some kind that shows what we have to be thankful for.  It is appropriate that Thanksgiving comes on the cusp of Christmas, because we need a reminder of what we already have during the season of “And this year I want….”  This year, I was looking for ideas on-line and came across this one at Kaboose.  We had so much fun tracing and cutting out the leaves and gluing them on the little popsicle sticks.  This was a super easy craft for the craft-impaired (namely, me), but most of all, it got us thinking about all the wonderful things we have to enjoy and to remember to thank the Giver of All Good Things.

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As I have written before, pregnancy seems to be a time for increased worrying.  While I don’t worry constantly, I have noticed that I go through “worry phases”.  As the birth of our little one draws near, being now only two months away, I find that my worries have started plaguing me again.  This time, however, I am not so concerned about the pregnancy and the baby so much, but rather I have been worrying over my other three children.  Am I schooling them well?  Are they getting out enough to socialize well?  Am I fair and equal with them?  Are they happy?  Am I too critical?  Am I communicating unconditional love to them or do they feel they have to earn my approval?  Do they each receive enough time with me one on one?  When they look at me, do they see a smile in return or am I too often looking past them to something else?  Do they know their value, not only to me, but also to their Father God?  Do they have too little structure to really thrive?  In short, Am I doing a good job? 

Now I realize that these thoughts are all completely natural.  They occur (for the most part) to all of us.  And it is not lost on me that these increased worries about my “job performance” come at a time when my responsiblities are about to increase.  God has entrusted me with three small souls, His children given in my care, and I am about to receive another.  And I wonder, “Am I worthy of caring for another of His precious ones?  Have I been faithful with what He has already entrusted me?”  The answer is, of course, “No.”  I cannot be worthy of this high calling.  I cannot live up to it.  I have failed in many ways, and I have found myself lacking.  We, none of us, are truly worthy of God’s calling in our lives.  Yet He calls us.  And not because we will be good at it.  Not to show how great we are.  No, He calls us to bring glory to Himself.  And His glory shines through the best when we are weak, for then we can take no credit, but must give all credit to Him who gives us strength and wisdom.  If I have done anything well, if I have shown love, if I have ever been selfless, if I have been even a little bit wise, if I have taught my children any good thing, it is because God has done it through me.  He gets the glory.   There is no good thing in me that did not come directly from Him, through His Spirit who lives in me.

So my only real concern needs to be, “Am I allowing the Spirit to flow through me?”  If I take care of that, all those other worries that plague me will be taken care of.  Sometimes the biggest obstacle to God working in my life is me, trying to do God’s work for Him.  Oh what peace there is in focusing on that one thing!  So my prayer today is, “Let me keep in step with the Spirit, God.  I will trust you with all the rest.” 

 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

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