As life has unfolded, I have grown increasingly stressed, to the point where my jaw aches on an almost daily basis because my muscles are so tight. I don't know when it started, but I know when it is going to end. Tonight!
I was slapped in the face tonight with my own stupidity. In the middle of small group/Bible study, as we were talking about idols in our lives, I realized that my children's education is one of mine. I obsess over them reaching certain goals that I have set in my own mind. I obsess over whether or not I am following the right path in my oldest son's schooling so that he will get into the college he chooses. I stress about scholarships and how we might be able to afford to send him.
I forget that this homeschooling journey started with God. It was God who showed me that this was the path He wanted for our children. Somewhere along the way I took the reins and decided what was best. I forgot to run to Him when things got tough.
When one child hates virtually every subject, it is tough. When one child needs reminded all day long to get school done, it is tough. When college is just around the corner and you don't have the foggiest idea how transcripts are supposed to be done, it is tough.
Granted, these things don't sound like much. I know people are going through situations that are worse than mine—a lot worse. It is perspective, though. These are my difficulties right now.
It really doesn't matter, though, because the solution is the same. When things get tough, go to the Source. Why did God start you on your homeschooling journey? Do you think He didn't know what you'd have to deal with along the way? Of course He did. He knew He'd be there to guide you and carry you during the most difficult situations. He didn't set you up for failure. He didn't set me and my children up for failure either.
When I don't know what to do when my daughter hates math and just doesn't understand it, I need to forget about myself and ask God what He wants for her. What curriculum is better? How can I teach so that she can understand? How much extra time do we need to take on a particular topic just so she can understand?
When I have nagged my son to get back to his school for the umpteenth time, I need to run to the Source before I get frustrated. How can I help him to focus? What will motivate him to do his school work? Is there a better curriculum for his learning style?
When I am afraid that I have set my firstborn up for failure because I didn't follow the preferred educational plan that would guarantee acceptance to the school of his choice because I simply didn't know what was needed, I must remember that God started this journey. He will equip us with what we need to get the job done. My son will not be living on the streets because I didn't grade every piece of chemistry homework or because he used curriculum A instead of curriculum B. God goes before us and directs our path.
I am reminded of the first homeschooling conference I attended almost 13 years ago. There were a few things that God pointed out as the reasons why homeschooling was the option for our family.
1. Most of the students were able to have conversations with adults.
2. They weren't going to be getting into trouble.
3. We would have the freedom to choose what curriculum to use and give our kids a Christian worldview.
The one thing that spoke volumes to me, however, was the story of a ninth grade girl who went back to a brick-and-mortar school. After a semester, she begged her mom to let her come back home because she wasn't learning anything. She actually cared about learning! I wanted that for my kids.
So, have we succeeded? I would say we are doing very well with the first three, but we are not doing so well with the biggest goal. There are times when a light will go off, and I can see excitement over something that they have learned. For the most part, however, it seems we have missed the mark on this one. I took it upon myself year after year to decide, on my own, what the kids would learn. I didn't ask the kids what they might like to learn. I didn't ask my husband what he thought about the curriculum I had chosen (although he trusted my decision and let me choose freely). Worst of all, I forgot to ask God.
Forgetting that this was all God's idea in the first place has been the biggest mistake in our homeschooling journey.
Learn from my mistake. If God began this journey in your life, He wants to be a part of it every day. Don't put Him on the sidelines. Don't tell Him that your ideas are better than His by forgetting to ask Him for wisdom in the choices you make.
I look forward to less stress and a clearer picture. I know there will be tough times, but I will, hopefully, remember to go to the Source.