It's been WHILE since I last blogged. I cannot tell you that life has been easy over the last few months, but I can tell you that all of it has served a purpose. I'm changing. I'm growing. But it hurts like the dickens (what the heck is the dickens, and why does it hurt??)
Yesterday I opened a new bank account, and while making idle chit chat with the banker, I got the usual slack jawed expression from her concerning her "lack" of ability to homeschool. I pulled my usual, oh-you-get-used-to-it routine, but then something came out of my mouth that I neither expected, nor realized was true until it was said. Homeschooling has changed me. I didn't expect it to happen, and I actually had not noticed it happening. It's sort of like weight loss, in the sometimes you can't see it until you put your new next to your old and compare them.
I vividly remember the work/school day mornings, I wish I could block them out somehow, but alas...
I'd hit the snooze button for as long as I possibly could, and drag myself from bed. I would get dressed, and then go to wake the kids. I'd instruct them to get dressed, and then go back downstairs to put on makeup. When I was completely done, I'd come check on them, and there would inevitably be one child still asleep, and two semi dressed. I'd shout and drag the sleeping child out of bed, and tell the others to get their shoes and jackets on. I'd rush through cold cereal for me and the kids, and watch the clock ticking while the third child was apparently sleepwalking through getting dressed still. Then we would rush through getting backpacks and snacks, someone always left their homework, forgot snack, or didn't get to eat breakfast, and inevitably, we were too late for drop off, and I would have to find a place to park, and sign them in late, walking each kid to their classroom, only then to notice someone left their backpack in the car. I was a wreck. By the time I got to work, I needed a candy bar and some heroine. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it felt like it.
Nights after school were very similar, rushing home after work, picking them up from after school programs, making dinner while trying to coordinate school clothes for the next day, homework for three, and bath times. By the time their bed time came around, I was grateful for them going to bed so I could finally relax. When I think back on this time, I realize why people think so strongly against their ability to homeschool. If I based my ability to have patience with my children on Monday through Friday work and school days back then, I'd be crazy! I'd have never done it at all. But homeschooling has changed me. Let me tell you how.
Patience. Everyone warns you not to pray for it, because God will not give it to you as much as He will give you a chance to build it. I think children are given to us partially for us to grow up, and move on from childish, self-centered ways. I know that my children have taught me patience. In fact, my children have taught me so much more about life than I would have learned on my own. It's amazing that as we grow older, we begin to lose the wisdom we knew as children, that life isn't built on time constraints, we put those on ourselves.
When I was working and my kids were in school, I lost a sense of who they were. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it was like they grew so fast I could not keep up with them. When your baby is born, you learn everything about them, their every little dimple is imprinted on your brain, their demeanor is so familiar that you recognize any slight change, each cry individual- telling you their needs without words. You communicate with them on a preternatural level unlike any other relationship you will ever have in this life. But as they grow, you can lose this deep intuition, or it lessens some. Once they started school, that daily knowing was lost. I was rushed and selfish with my time, greedy for those stolen moments of peace after a hard day. I am sure I left them feeling as though my love wasn't quite the same, and I don't know if it was. I have always loved them, but there was never any patience. Since homeschooling, I have slowly regained that depth of communication with them. In the very beginning, there were many behaviors that they had that simply drove me up a wall, but as time has gone by, I realized that those behaviors, like the infant's cries, had significance and meaning. As I've relearned my children and their ways, I have been able to see their spirits in a new and refreshing way, which enables me to love them through their faults, and understand their deep, unspoken needs. It may sound a little hippy or something, I don't know, but it's so true... I have a deeper understanding of them as individuals, and taking the time to know and understand them allows me more patience, and a deeper affection for them.
So homeschool has changed me, as a mother, as a teacher, as a person. I have gained patience, wisdom, depth of love, and selflessness. I have been struggling to afford this lifestyle lately, but I can say that as long as God provides, this will always be the choice I make... to be home with my children, both teaching and learning to be a better and more complete person in this life. The last three years have been the most rewarding in my life in regard to personal growth, and I would not have changed a thing.