The Dark Waters of Homeschooling:

Water Ballet in Guardalavaca, Cuba

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Jay (my husband) and I snorkel when we go to the islands. Each time, before plunging into the water, I mentally will myself to jump off the boat. Not for fear of what’s in the water, for that’s the reward of my endeavor, but I am slightly claustrophobic. Mentally, I have to calm my breathing, so I can enjoy the beauty under the surface. Before long, I am swimming alongside the barracudas without any fear.

I mention this only because, I have begun to feel claustrophobic in homeschooling…already. This is a normal trend for me, whenever I give up freedom. I jump into water with both feet and decide to sink or swim.

I jumped into a job transfer in Tampa, moving me 800 miles from friends and family. I jumped in, as a new wife, moving to Orlando, giving up my singleness and career. One year to the day later, I became a mother, my baby had colic, and cried from 7pm to 4am for months.  I nursed him one night, and thought if I filled him up, I could sneak in a trip to Virginia…Yes, I started packing a suitcase before I realized, I was out of my mind, with exhaustion.

I vowed to be honest about this little experiment of mine, so here it goes. Homeschooling as you’ve probably guessed by now, has been a struggle for the first week. I find myself becoming a nag and I’m frustrated. One of my children (who will remain nameless) can find a speck on the wall and make it into a fish, and soon he’s fishing off his yacht, and has won the world prize for reeling in a whale….You see where this is going?

This is humbling to admit, but I understand this child completely. I was that girl in school. I hated being cooped up in a classroom all day. I daydreamed about riding my horse when I got home or playing in the woods. A piece of paper on the floor could snap my attention, faster than a gazelle. Throughout my youth, I thought I was a special needs child. It wasn’t until college, I learned my imagination could be a useful tool in political science and writing, if I disciplined it.

My other son, who’s accelerated in his courses, and focused on his work, is like his father, which is another problem. When I’m teaching his brother, he leans in over the table and interjects his vast knowledge on the subject, therefore, leaving his work undone, to micro manage his brother. I’m constantly telling him, “Back off, step out of my space,” as I do his Daddy at times.

So, yesterday, after we reached 3pm and class work was still unfinished, I dropped Christian off at football practice and puttered around Target. With Starbucks in hand, I mentally explained to God, this is not what I imagined it would be. I listed all the things I didn’t like about it, but God as He often does, kept bringing me back to one simple conversation.

My children had to answer the question, “What has God been teaching you lately?” They thought for a moment, and both agreed on an answer.

“You know what God’s been teaching me this week, Momma?” One of them said. “He’s been teaching me I don’t have to be cool anymore. I shouldn’t worry what my friends think about me. I should be who God made me to be.”

Once God uncovered this treasure buried under the piles of books, papers and frustrations, I knew I wouldn’t give up, because this is exactly what I wanted my children to learn.

Tomorrow, I will return to the dark waters, swim with the barracudas, and remember to breathe, so that I may discover the beauty of God’s two little creations, under the surface. Oh, and while in Target, I did find a tool to keep my boys on task, but I’ll save that for another post. Until next time…

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August 2010

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