Becoming A Family of God

Summer's over? Seriously? It seemed only yesterday that we were ending the school year with much anticipation for the summer and our trip to the Philippines... and all that is done? How?

There was one little girl who was all excited to start school though. Yep. My little Kindergartener. As soon as she saw the books arriving on our doorsteps, she would ask which ones were hers. When she I showed her the books she was going to use, she squealed, "Can we start school now?"

I did not share the same enthusiasm. In fact, I kinda dreaded it. How was I going to do this? Homeschooling 4 kids, K, 2nd, 3rd and 6th with a very active 1-yo toddler in tow? I must be crazy indeed! I made some changes in our curriculum choices that I hoped would make it easier for us. I've scaled back on our activities outside the home. I think that by this time, our 3rd year, I am more realistic in my expectations of what we can accomplish as a family.

I used to enjoy crafting and thought that this was something I would enjoy doing with the kids. I would choose to make things on my own instead of buying premade materials. Why buy expensive puzzles when I could make the best jig saw by creating my own with photos I take? Right? But plans never get done. I realize that my perfectionism prevented me from enjoying crafting with my kids. And there was really no time to do any crafting without kids so my projects never get done.

So this year, I'm not DIYing anything. I've bought the premade stuff. I bought the DVDs that will teach the lesson to me and the kids. I bought the premade & preprinted lapbooks that I've been wanting to create with the kids. Yes, I spent more than I have in the past. But if the past 2 days are any indication of the year ahead, I think it will be worth it. The kids are happy. I am happy. DS remarked yesterday, "I think I'm going to enjoy this because of that," pointing to the DVD set of lessons I bought. That's a big thumbs up, coming from my now-brooding, all-too-serious tweenager.

I am more realistic and accepting of how we work as a family. I am more realistic and accepting of what works for me. During the first 2 years of home schooling, I was pulled in all sorts of different directions. I was reading about different philosophies, different families sharing their successes. I wanted to copy them. I wanted to be successful too. I wanted to be like them, except that we weren't them! We were getting stressed because I was trying to mold our family into something that wasn't us. I understand that now. It's still a work in progress, trying to figure out what works for us but I'm more at peace with it.

I am a little more relaxed now. Our daily schedule used to be packed tight. I felt that I needed to pack in as many hours of learning as we can in our routine. That only stressed me out because we almost never really finished all our work. It then made me feel like we were always behind. So this year, I'm relaxing a little bit more. I can't cram 7 subjects into 1 school day. It just doesn't work.

A few days ago, I dreaded the start of the year. Now that we've started, I feel more optimistic. This might be the year that I won't be burnt out by June. Maybe we'll laugh more. Maybe more kind words will be uttered. Maybe conversations will be more pleasant. Maybe a sense of peace and joy will permeate the atmosphere. Maybe we'll be more consistent. Maybe there'll be more time for prayer. Maybe we will move towards becoming the family that God wants us to be. Maybe. Hopefully. Joyfully.