Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When You Make an Idol {out of homeschooling}

*Warning:  This is a confession.  Maybe you have been here.  Maybe you haven't. *

When we first decided we were going to remove our girls from the private school they were enrolled in, our reasons were very simple.  Yes, we wanted to give our daughters the best education possible, with a love of learning that could not be quenched.  Yes, we loved the idea of being able to have the freedom homeschooling gives and the thought of getting out of the mad rush of life.  Yes, we definitely wanted our girls to have a Christ centered education.  But really, we began homeschooling because  the Lord God Almighty saw fit to impress it upon our hearts that the. days. are. short.  Our time was ticking, and honestly I just wanted them home with me.  Totally selfish, I know, but that is the honest truth. I just wanted to be able to spend every moment I could with them, savor every bite.

I know these are fuzzy but I found them on an old phone and just had to show you how fast time flies...this picture was taken about 5 years ago {Karsyn was 4 and Kamryn was 6} 

This is when Karsyn lost her first tooth!!  She was in Kindergarten!!!  
Now she is about to get a retainer!!!!  She has lost 8 teeth!!!

But somehow I lost track.  I forgot about the very reason I had embarked on this journey in the first place.  This homeschool world is a multi-million dollar business you see.  And just like any other line of products, you can get sucked in.

And I did.  

I read somewhere that 20 years ago you could hold a homeschool convention in an airplane bathroom.  This year I attended the Mid South Homeschool Convention in Memphis with over 400 vendors.  Suddenly, everything for me had become about the latest and greatest curriculum, SAT scores, and advanced know critical thinking, logic, Latin, and all of those other things we have never learned or even heard of.

I bought lots of curriculums with bells and whistles.

I moved our schoolroom from a small bedroom upstairs to our very large playroom so that our "atmosphere of learning" would be better.

I made a beautiful schedule that perfectly laid out our entire day and included all 29 of our subjects in 5 or 6 short hours.

I beefed up our Latin, threw in some Logic, got lots of critical thinking books, and bought a brand new curriculum that promised to teach American History and World History simultaneously and have my very young 2nd grader writing research papers and reading Johnny Tremain.

It all looked perfect.

But here is what was missing from our most perfect year {plan}thus far....

reading for pleasure
hours of playing outside
a love of learning that could not be quenched {one of the reasons we started homeschooling}
that character development that I so desired for my children
opportunities to grow spiritually {them and me}
that bonding time that I so craved and felt so deprived of while my girls were in school

Somehow, I had managed to do exactly what our school system does each and every day to my own children.  Forget about the fun, forget about the bonding, forget about the meaningful connections, no way are we going here, forget about doing that...We have Latin, and 2 histories in one day, and timelines, and research papers, and science, and music, and picture study, and we must learn the composers of each period....ALL THIS YEAR RIGHT NOW!!!  And, is your research paper done 2nd grader?????

Because your momma that loves you more than anything in the world has made an idol out of homeschooling and has somehow made it all about her!!

I had made this journey, this blessing, this calling all about how I wanted to do things, and what I wanted to teach, and how smart I wanted them to be.  And in the midst of all of it, I had made an idol out of homeschooling.  I had made an idol out of the very thing that I thought I was doing right.

So, while you may look at our colorful schedule with 47 subjects on it and think to yourself, man that chick has lost her assured, our day no longer looks anything like that pretty little schedule.  As a matter of fact, we have gone back to the way we schooled when we first started homeschooling.  Isn't it funny how things always work out that way, you always come full circle.  Our schedule looks more like this...


3 R's


American History {a very broad over view of American History}
Science {a different topic each term, just some exposure and fun}
Music Appreciation {my girls are very involved in music so they love this}

Picture Study
Nature Study

Our school room has been turned back into our play room with floors covered in Polly Pockets and baby dolls and Webkinz that have been "rescued" by their animal control agency and pretend food from their restaurant.  My girls play for hours on end just as kids their age should!!  We are back to doing school downstairs at the kitchen table where we first began and we do our reading on the couch!!!

I have completely ditched my security blanket called my planner.  Instead I am now using a one subject, spiral notebook.  I can hardly believe I am saying those words.  I actually got the idea here, and when I read it, it was almost like the light bulbs were going off everywhere!!!  My lesson plans look more like notes jotted down on a page rather than a spreadsheet {which I totally thought was my personality but wasn't at all} and I love it.  The feeling that comes with writing in pencil on a notebook page and just adding notes as needed is just bliss for me!!

And, that pretty little schedule....well, she is still around but now she looks like this....

This basically amounts to doing what matters first so that the rest of our day can be spent doing whatever we want.  We started this right after school started because it only took me a few weeks to realize that I cannot be and will never be {no matter how much I may try to be} the kind of person that can cram 458 things into a day.  I do love a schedule, and I do love to have my day planned.  I like knowing what I will be doing at 9:00 {Math} 12:00 {Lunch} and 4:00 {Paula Deen and coffee...ummmm did I say that out loud??}.

I am a creature of habit, but tight schedules make me feel behind, like I am always playing catch up, which I don't like!!!  This is the best of both worlds.

Before, I had subscribed to the idea that you should alternate the subjects between fun and technical so we may not have done grammar until 12:00 or we may have started our day with history.  While this is a great idea if you can be committed to being in a school room all day, we just couldn't do it.  So I tweaked to make this journey the best it can be for our family.  AND IT FINALLY IS!!! 

And for the cherry on top....if we have something we would like to do i.e. field trip, play date, gorgeous day outside, or just play with Polly Pockets we know that at 11:15 we have done all the MUST DO subjects.  We can stop here for the day and nobody is going to be hindered for life.  This has been the biggest blessing of them all for me.

I have repented of creating an idol out of homeschooling {thank you to my sweet friend Traci who helped me see the light, post on that soon} and am now spending waaaay more time in prayer asking the Lord to guide me on this journey.  I cannot do it alone and no support group can help.  Only He can show me what to do with His children.  I am so blessed to have them and cannot imagine doing anything else, I just needed a little refresher course!!

One last thing I will share with you is that the Lord does guide us, every day, sometimes we choose to see it, sometimes we don't.  I am so thankful that while it did take me a year to see His way, I now see it and He is faithful even when we are not.  His mercies are new every morning.  And He will never leave us or forsake us...even when we make an idol out of what He has called us to!!!  

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, we all have so much to be thankful for!!!  We are having our family and many of our friends to our house this year, so I am baking and table setting, and cleaning like a mad woman {haven't been out of my pjs in 2 days}!!  I leave you with my table!!!  Decorated completely for free by shopping the house!!!!!  I hope your Thanksgiving is full of family and love!!!

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