Monday, 23 July 2012

Honeymoon is over - second week of school and reality sets in.

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 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,


  1. awww Jo feeling for ya!
    and just for the record, my kids have never known anything different other than attending school AND they still moan about it most mornings! haha
    it definitely takes focused energy to make the mornings and afternoons/evenings a non battle zone (I haven't mastered it that's for sure) but we get there. also culling 2 pets away from our lives has lessoned my stress levels too. hope you find an awesome home for your pup x

  2. Awww:( it's a new experience for them isn't it! I pray that you will continue to walk in His peace through this time.
    God will continue to lead you and direct you as a family, He's got you Jo:)

    1. Thanks Rosemary. You are always such a source of encouragement to me xo

  3. Jo, wow life can be tough hey. The pressure on us as parents is a hard cross to bear, juggling their needs and our needs can seem like such a balancing act. BUT we do have an amazing God who has 'got this'. Keep going my friend, im praying (and reading) for you.
    Man i so wish I could take Xena but Hubby in his wisdom has said NO. Actually he is right, this season for me is a healing one too and adding a doggy (as cute as she is) into the mix wouldn't work.
    PS I totally want to catch up. Will email you, lets do it!

    1. I love that our husbands protect us from ourselves when we want to take on things that aren't in our best interests.
      Thank you for your lovely words. Yes please!! Email me and we'll catch up xo

  4. It's such a relief when we know that God is leading, isn't it? Then we can see through the messy stuff and hold our heads up, trusting Him. He said "He's got it." Good enough. So for a time you let go a bit.

    It would be very hard for me too, as I also am strange in that 'I love homeschooling'. I would feel like an amputee without it. But...if my health was not good and I prayed and my husband and I were convinced..then I would rest in it.

    Lord, God we pray for you to completely heal my sister in Christ Jo-Anne. That you would touch her body and cleanse and rebuild it. That she would cooperate by resting and nourishing and relaxing her mind. We know that stress and worry can impair us, so I ask that you give her a complete inner peace that passes understanding, guarding her heart and mind through Christ. That her boys would be inspired to be courageous and strong for mom for this (hopefully) brief time. That they would trust you also God, and that they would begin to come home with more positive reports. And I pray that this will be a treasured sabbatical that accomplishes far more that Jo-Anne can imagine. That her walk with you will be revived and strengthened and rejuvenated. We love you Jesus. Amen.

  5. It is hard to give up doing something that you love. For me, it was speaking at women's groups. I love it. I feel like I was born to do it. And yet God wanted me to walk away from it, for various reasons. For a time. Because it was not His time.

    His ways are so much better / higher / wonderful than our ways!

    1. I'm not convinced that He wants me to give homeschooling up totally....just rest for a season. Yes! His ways are much better, higher and wonderful. xo

  6. I hear your heart Jo. I too saw being a mother as my calling. It was a calling I never took lightly (though my children have always attended school). I was a stay at home Mum until my ex-husband left (and ran away to the US to his internet lover and to avoid paying Child Support). At that stage, Bec was 5, about to start school and it was then that I had to start working two jobs during school hours to support my 4 children alone. It was tough as we were all going through so much grief but life had to go on. I placed my trust in God to see us through and He did... He was always there saying "I've got this!"

    Keep hanging on to His promise "I've got this!" His ways arent our ways and sometimes it's hard to understand... well it is for me, especially in my current health circumstances which seem to be permanent, short of a miracle!

    You are constantly in my prayers & thoughts. I'm looking forward to meeting up with you very soon. God bless you Jo.

    1. You are such a brave courageous woman with such strong faith Liz. I can't wait to meet you too xo

  7. Wow, Jo!!!I just am truly blessed by your being so open and honest about everything you write. You can do this! God will give you the strength everyday just when you need it.
    I totally agree with your love for being a mom. It is very rare in this day and age to be a stay at home mom. In todays society everyone has an "important" occupation that labels them as "someone important". I came from thinking I was going to be career minded until I found out I was pregnant and all my plans changed. I spend many months realizing that my journey was to not do what I was going to do, but to be a "Mom" and eventually a homeschool mom. I couldn't even imagine changing any of that now. I am proud to be a stay at home/homeschool mom.
    I so share your compassion to homeschool. God calls us to be different, to be the "light" in a dark world, to NOT conform to the things of this world. I think that if you have been blessed by God to be a mother and a homeschool teacher then I am feeling pretty "special".
    Take this time to rest and reflect. It is important for this to occur in order for our homeschool worlds to thrive at their best. I know for myself, I have always homeschooled my daughter, and have found that over the years it does take it's toll on you. I had 2, no probally 3 very difficult years in a row and found myself questioning if what I was doing was right. I found though the inner strength from God to change up what our schooling looked like and it did amazing things to the dynamics of our home and relationships. Hang in there, Girl and know we are on the sidelines praying for you and cheering you on. YOU CAN DO THIS, I know you you CAN!!! Big Hugs, Friend!

    1. Yes. I am taking this time to make changes in the way our family was doing life to make homeschooling sustainable long term. You are always an encouragement. xo

  8. Hi Jo
    My heart breaks for you and I loved reading this post. Its not that you are giving up homeschooling to pursue your own pleasure or fulfilment, its because your illness has become too much of a burden, and THATS hard to deal with!!! Its beyond your control! You are so positive through it all and so trusting but Im sure you ask WHY often enough esp when your heart is to teach your boys and you know that homeschooling is best for them. You are so brave!! I pray that your plan works for you all with God at the helm! Great to finally check in again :0) xx

  9. I've "gave up" homeschooling when the kids were younger and like you it took me about a week before I wanted them back home.

    First time I didn't change anything, second time back home I reworked the curriculum and schedule.

    Teaching independance is a big key--so is getting your emotional strength back.

    Keep listening for God's guidance and thanks for sharing.

    1. I am reworking the curriculum and schedule. I think that will make a huge difference. Thanks Michelle.

  10. I know I will grieve if/when my kids go to public school again. My eldest wants to attend high school in another year and that is a huge issue that I am trying to release and just let go of...

    I hope your health improves this year. Remember that homeschooling doesn't have to fall all upon your shoulders. A co-op or tutor could help relieve some of the burden and not require you having to send them to school but also not having them in the house all the time, too. I have been considering a tutor for my middle son on a subject to give us both a break....


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo