Thursday, December 29, 2005

What Have I Done?

The thought came to me the other day, “what on earth have I signed up for?” It was the first, but I’m quite certain won’t be the last time I ever think that with regards to homeschooling. I was having one of those days when the laundry, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking, and oh incidentally, the parenting was just ALL MINE—sitting there, staring me in the face, reminding me that I’d volunteered to take it on.

Just what exactly is this? Christian homeschoolers refer to this undertaking as something we’re called to do. Some would go so far as to say that all parents are called to home educate and if you don’t you’re derelict in your duty to your children (I would not group myself in that class!). I can definitely relate to the “calling” aspect of it, though. I know when I felt that “call.” There was this sense of intense clarity, a convergence of logic with regard to sound parenting, a voice from heaven—well, not quite, but it might as well have been. I very nearly heard harps, saw beams of light shining down upon us in a green valley...okay, again, I’m exagerating, but it really felt that clear to me. What perhaps I’m referring to here, is the extreme relief I felt for having made the decision, (which I firmly believe to be God’s will for our family), to educate my children in our home. What followed was a honeymoon period, a sense of accomplishment at having “joined the ranks” of what I consider to be a quality group of people, a feeling of having the upper hand on my household. But the feeling was to be quickly ravaged by the stark reality that “home educating” means actually being at home with kids quite a lot of the time. The management of healthy meals and snacks, naptimes, storytimes, reading lessons and scripture memory has to somehow flow with sweeping cheerios off of the floor and getting the wet laundry into the dryer before it’s moldy and smelly, changing diapers, giving baths, and cleaning the occasional toilet.
No wonder some women claim to “have to” work outside the home in order to maintain sanity.
The simple fact is that it’s impossible. An old Chinese proverb says, “A thousand mile journey begins with one step.” That is where I am—taking the first step, and the journey that stretches out before me seems endless. Even the end of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons seems years away. But this I know—there is no place I’d rather be. I have a tremendous peace knowing that I am committed to my children and their well-being. I will shelter and guard them in order to protect them from negative influences, and I will open doors and forge pathways in order to open their minds to what is right and good, just and holy in this life and in the life to come. This is what I have signed up for and by God’s grace, and this alone, will the task be accomplished.

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