And we are off.....another school year has begun today at the Davis household.
I am always in awe of God and how He meets us right in the midst of our own fragile mindsets and inadequacies. You see, I never thought I fit the homeschooling mold and I surely never thought I would be a homeschooling mom for 6 years. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, Ben, my best friend, at that time, was pregnant too. She always talked about how she couldn't wait to homeschool this unborn child she was carrying. I looked at her like she was some crazy, hormonal pregnant woman who really was out of her mind. I told her I would NEVER homeschool my children.
And all the typical stereotypes about homeschooling....the criticisms out there...the fears and inadequacies within....well, those were my thoughts.
God certainly has a sense of humor, as my children have never been in a "public or private" school setting. It took about 3 years of mothering this little babe God had loaned me...until He began gently speaking His will into my life regarding my children's education, His calling for me and the work that needed to be done in my heart.
I'll give you the cliff notes version.
Ben was two and Seth was due in January of 1999. All my mommy friends were enrolling their wee little ones in preschool for the following year. I didn't think much about it....but thought this is what I was suppose to do....so followed suit. I toured two local preschools that all my friends raved about....and then in early January had my husband wake up super early in the morning to get himself over to the preschool to stand in the registration lines....as spots filled up quickly. I was 9 months pregnant....and my dear, sweet husband always helps to lighten my load. Ben got the desired spot in the 3 year old spot for the following year.
A few days later, Seth joins our family. I am one overwhelmed mommy. Caring for a 2 year old boy, nursing the baby what seemed like around the clock, getting little sleep....and just trying to make my way down this path of parenting....was enough for this girl at that moment. At this point in my life....God was really along for the ride....or so I thought. This girl was driving, but doing a miserable job. Parenting didn't come naturally to me. It was hard!
Well, September quickly approached and the thought of having to get up and out the door each morning with two children in tow, the nursing disruption, the race against the clock......just the thought started to bring me to the edge of reason. I know so many mommies do this each and everyday ( I am in awe of you!)...and I am even a morning person....pretty organized....but it just wasn't in me. So, the highly desired preschool spot was released, deposit forfeited and I decided it was better for this mommy, 3 year old boy and 8 month old to stay put. As I look back...and hindsight is always 20/20....I see how God worked to make me "Be Still" as I had so much I needed to learn in the area of parenting these little gifts from God. I was entering my own teaching time.
Well, during the following year, I began doing little activities with Ben....nothing major....games with the letters of the alphabet.....counting.....etc...and it was pretty fun. Ben loved it and I loved the time spent one on one with him. During that time, God put a woman in my path who totally discipled me regarding training our children for God....and pointing me to Jesus as the author of order and His instructions and guidance on loving and disciplining His children. I dove headfirst into learning all that I could about God's plan and design for parents. Little by little, as I looked to Him, order came back to the home....(funny how that works!!!)
It was during this time that He started calling me to homeschool Ben. We had spent 2 years "playing" school at home and Kindergarten was quickly approaching. God had put such a desire in my heart to be with my children full time. And as I thought about all that Ben had been taught already.....I thought he would be bored in Kindergarten.....I can't explain how God did it....and those of you who have been called to homeschool know what I mean...but I just knew that this is what I was suppose to do. But, boy was I scared. The flesh screamed "fear and trembling" but the Spirit gently said...."You can do it through me."
And here I sit 6 years later, as Ben is entering 6th grade, Seth 4th and Luke 2nd. I don't have an education background. I don't have the gift to teach children. I wasn't given a high level of patience. I am prone to outbursts of wrath....and losing self control.....and it has only been by God's grace and me drawing closer to Him that I have gained patience, I have gained self control, I have gained gentleness. I give Him all the credit because it is no way, no how from me.
This morning in my quiet time, before the craziness of the day began, I sat with Jesus and asked Him to fill me this morning as we were beginning the new year.
I love the start of school and getting back to routine. I love the newness of the curriculum and the anticipation at what God is going to do in the hearts of me and my children the coming year.....but ohhhhhh, my days are crazy. I go from 6th grade math questions, to 4th grade science experiments, to 2nd grade grammar and listening to Luke read (on that note.....nothing like teaching your child to read....and see them get it!!....and then read independently.....ahh the sweet blessings along the way), I go from the washing machine, to diaper parties with Faith, to unloading the dishwasher and finding activities for Jed...to putting out sibling disputes and disciplining in the mix. You mommies know the multi-tasking we all do throughout the day. It is exhausting even listing it all.
But the joy. There is no greater joy. I love having my children with me all day. I love having the opportunity to teach them and instruct them not only in math, and science and language arts...but that which is eternal.....Godly wisdom and understanding. I love watching the boys all care for each other and the relationships that have been built over the years. The bond that God has tied within each of their hearts.
This morning, this is the verse God gave me.
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." 1 Timothy 1:12
It is only through Christ and His enabling that I can homeschool. It is really only through Him that I can do anything. My sufficiency comes from Him. My strength comes from Him. My patience, my gentleness, my self-control......it all comes from HIM. And as He calls me to travel different paths, roads that I swore I would never travel.....He enables and equips me for what lies ahead.....and then brings the joy through my submission to His plans.
I ended this morning on Psalm 25 as I try to read a Psalm each day for the date on the calendar.
"Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4-5
This morning as I gathered the boys together (Faith was watching Barney) to have them each pray over the day and the year before us.....I prayed that God would show each of His boys a glimpse of His desires for their lives....that they would be in tune to His voice and would stand against all the peer pressures pulling them away from God. As I watch my children grow and change.....I marvel at the work God is doing...constantly and I stand alongside them growing and changing with them.
I am excited about the year ahead. There is a lot of newness for us all.
A new Math Program for Ben....Teaching Textbooks
A new History Program for us all.....The Mystery of History
A new writing program....our first on DVD....The Institute for the Excellence in Writing
Starting our first language.....Christiana Latin
And whereas some days, it does seem overwhelming.....God works it all out and continues to confirm in my heart and my husband's that for now....this season....we are to homeschool the children. He has dispelled the fears and the myths in my eyes...no my children are not social misfits...quite the contrary they can actually have an intelligent, respectful conversation with an adult and then also hang with their friends. They are like most boys....wanting to get their schoolwork done as quickly as possible because sitting still is quite gruesome....and when the work is done...some days around 1:30ish and other days, God help me on these days! around 5:00....they are out the door to play.....and just be boys!
I know homeschooling isn't for everyone......and I really believe that God has to call you and tell you when and if you are to homeschool your children. He will equip as He calls for different ministries. I am so thankful that I can stay home with my children and be a part of their education. I don't take it lightly. It's another area where God told me years ago....to step out of the boat...don't look around....just keep your eyes fixed on Me and I'll guide each step. When I took that first step, I never dreamed He would take me this far or do the work in me that He has done.
Thank you, Lord Jesus...for counting this insufficient and selfish girl "faithful."
Here are our first day pictures.
Ben at his desk in his room
Seth at his desk
Luke at the kitchen island doing math
May God richly bless the school years for each of our children- Yours and mine- Love, Stacy