When I finally decided to homeschool, I was confident that this was the plan that God had for me and that I had the ability to accomplish the task He set before me. I just had no idea how hard it would be!
Our homeschooling journey began much like the trip we took to Mineral Wells State Park. I thought I'd tell you the story of that adventure and share how the experiences mirrored those in our quest to learn to live peacefully with one another.
As a new to homeschooling mom, I decided one day to pack up our school work and take a road trip to a nearby state park - because we could!
- I had no idea how hard it would be to sit still every day and do the same thing. I had gone from a public school mom who had free time to shop, read, rest - do whatever, to a full time on the job school teacher with all of the other responsibilities of motherhood to continue to carry out!
- Advice to self: Don't try to make it look like the public school! Play, move around, have fun, enjoy each other. At the end of the day, the laundry might not be done, but it's better to have dirty laundry than all out war in the home.
When we pulled into the park (which was empty on a week day in September), we marveled at all the deer that comfortably roamed around the grounds. I think the momma deer had the same idea as me - it was a beautiful day to be out with their kids!
We parked by a scenic hiking trail, got our water bottles and back packs, then started off down an isolated trail into the unknown.
- I had no idea how hard it would be to blaze an educational trail for my kids. How do I know what curriculum to pick, which direction to go, or what was important for us to spend our time learning?
- Advice to self: Find a mentor mom...someone who's traveled the road your on, and pick her brain. Be patient in your learning, but continue to read good books and attend conferences.
About two feet down the path, littlest girlie needed a bathroom stop, and thankfully the park offered a restroom at the head of the trail. As I waited for everyone to take care of business, I looked at the park map, and the signage up on the wall of the building that detailed the park's wildlife. While reading about the various forms of snakes, bobcats, and coyotes, I started wondering if it was wise to be out by myself with three defenseless children unarmed except for my camera. What if I stumbled across a bobcat momma and her kittens? My camera was heavy, but could I really defend us?
- I had no idea how quickly my confidence could fade into immense inadequacy at the realization of the task of protecting the young charges in my care. What was I thinking pulling them out of school?
- Advice to self: Jeremiah 7:7-8
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (NIV)
After the bird of prey started circling low above our heads, I decided my littlest must appear bunny-like from his vantage point, and I decided I better go back to the path that I was familiar with, and stick close to the lake.
- I had no idea how important community was. I thought I could be Mrs. Independent, but I quickly realized how difficult this journey would be without other adults!
- Advice to self: Join a Classical Conversations Community. Life changing. As long as you enter willing to be a servant, you'll find lifelong friendships.
Once we made it back to the lake, we enjoyed hiking around and playing on the rocks that distinguish Mineral Wells State park as a fantastic rock climbing destination.
- I had no idea how valuable time could be for fostering friendships among my kids. My love language is time...how did I miss this?
- Advice to self: Don't lose heart on this one. Be willing to give of your time generously without expecting anything in return. Practice being kind to them with your words. Be patient with them. If they see you treating their siblings in an honoring way, they'll have a clear model for loving one another.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.