It has been a very different week to the first week for our new life as a school family. Tension has been at an all time high. Mornings are stressed, afternoons are full of tears and tantrums. Arguing between the boys has been constant. Night terrors have begun again for one boy and thumb sucking habits have returned. For the other, he constantly lashes out at all family members around him, unable to express fully the frustration that he feels.
The boys have complained that school is boring, and that there is too much writing, and not enough doing fun stuff. Days are shorter as a family as afternoons are filled with homework, unpacking lunchboxes and chores that they didn't have time to finish in the morning. It leaves very little time to just be a kid and have fun. It leaves very little time to spend time just as a family.
If the boys had started school with the rest of their peers in Prep, they wouldn't have know any different. But they have tasted homeschooling, and it is good.. They long for the carefree days we all had as a family together. As do I. In our homeschool, school work and chores were done by lunchtime and the rest of the afternoon was left to play, create, explore, socialise - and to just be kids.
I have spent most most of my time and energy speaking of the positive benefits of them going to school. I have listened to their complaints and encouraged them that, although this is very different to what we are used to, there are so many good things about school. I am teaching them to see the good in the situation. I have explained to them that with my health the way it is, it is not possible for me to homeschool them. Still they beg me not to send them to school.
All week I keep telling myself the words that He spoke to me days before we sent the boys to school . "I've got this". And I need to take Him at His Word. Even though my heart was breaking for the boys and how miserable they are at school. I reminded myself that He's got this.
Leader Boy Warrior was asked if he would like to go to the upper primary school youth group as a special one off treat with his friend. After checking with the Kid's pastor that this was OK. Off he went. When he returned he said, "Mum, I think God wanted me to go to youth group today because the message felt like it was just for me. I felt encouraged." And I immediately heard Him whisper again, "See! I've got this." And I smiled, knowing that He did.
Well meaning friends and family members tell me that it is a good thing that I have enrolled the boys at school. And I agree with them wholeheartedly. We needed to do this for our family. Our lifestyle wasn't sustainable as it was with my low energy. But it's what they also add next that cuts me deep inside to the core. They say, "This is your time now Jo. It's time to do something for Jo." I know what they mean. But I disagree. Homeschooling was doing something for Jo. Because if you cut me, you would find that I bleed my family. I loved homeschooling.
For a long time in my adult life, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. As soon as I became a mother I knew. I remember feeling, 'This is it! This is what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a mother.' Now I know that you can still be a mother without homeschooling. For me, becoming a mother became a calling. My answer to the question, "If you could do anything in the world and get paid for it, what would you do?" is - homeschool. I love it. That's my reality. I know not everyone might be able to understand that, but that's OK. I know that some women are called to be doctors, missionaries, pastors and all sorts of things. But in this day and age, to be called to be just a mother is just considered odd or out dated.
But you know, I am not just a mother.
I am a wife.
I am a lover.
I am a friend.
I am a sister.
I am a daughter.
I am a speaker.
I am an artist.
I am a volunteer at my local church.
I am so many more other things......I am Jo.
I have been 'doing something for Jo', all the time I was homeschooling. For me it wasn't a sacrifice to do this for my boys, because it's something that I am passionate about. In fact, I would have not discovered that I had a gift of writing if I hadn't homeschooled. I would not have discovered that I was artistic if I hadn't homeschooled. You see, it's not just the boys that are learning. I am constantly learning new things about myself and trying new things too. So homeschooling works just as much for me as it does for the boys.
So the plan is to get Fearless Boy Warrior in to a 5 day fortnight kindergarten program for the remainder of the year, so that I can fully rest, and ideally pick up homeschooling again in 2013. If my health is good enough to homeschool in 2013, it will look very different to what it looks like now. We are looking to rehome one of our cavoodles, to relieve some stress around the home. One dog is definitely easier than two! (email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in adopting Xena - 1 year old.) I will use a curriculum which makes the boys more independent in their learning. I will get the boys looked after one day a week. I will make sure my husband and I get time alone regularly. Because it would be insanity to return to homeschool as we were before.
And so we will persevere in sending the boys to school for the remainder of 2012. I will continue to rest and rethink the way were doing things. And I will continue to trust in Him - knowing that He holds my world in the palm of His hand.
Still taking lessons from the King,